Origins Available: Irish
The original Gaelic form of Gilen was O Giollain, from the word "giolla," which means "lad."
Early Origins of the Gilen family
The surname Gilen was first found in County Donegal
(Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland
in the province of Ulster
, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel, where they held a family seat
from ancient times.
Early History of the Gilen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gilen research.Another 171 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gilen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gilen Spelling Variations
Scribes and church officials, lacking today's standardized spelling rules, recorded names by how they were pronounced. This imprecise guide often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations
of the surname Gilen are preserved in documents of the family history. The various spellings of the name that were found include Gillan, Gillinan, Gillen, Gillon, Gillfinan, Gillion and many more.
Early Notables of the Gilen family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Gilen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gilen family to the New World and Oceana
saw an enormous decrease in its population in the 19th century due to immigration and death. This pattern of immigration began slowly in the late 18th century and gradually grew throughout the early portion of the 19th century. However, a dramatic increase in the country's immigration numbers occurred when the Great Potato Famine
struck in the 1840s. The early immigrants to North America were primarily destined to be farmers tending to their own plot of land, those that came later initially settled within pre-established urban centers. These urban immigrants provided the cheap labor that the fast developing United States and soon to be Canada required. Regardless of their new lifestyle in North America, the Irish immigrants to the United States and Canada made invaluable contributions to their newly adopted societies. An investigation of immigrant and passenger lists revealed many Gilens: Hugh and Jane Gillan who settled in New York State in 1823; James Gillan settled in New York in 1803; John, Patrick, Thomas and William Gillan settled in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.