Gillen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The original Gaelic form of Gillen was O Giollain, from the word "giolla," which means "lad."

Early Origins of the Gillen family

The surname Gillen 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 Gillen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillen research. Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gillen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gillen Spelling Variations

The search for the origins of the name Gillen family name revealed numerous spelling variations. These variants can be somewhat accounted for when it is realized that before widespread literacy people only recognized their name by pronunciation; it was up to scribes to decide how it was to be formally recorded. Variations found include Gillan, Gillinan, Gillen, Gillon, Gillfinan, Gillion and many more.

Early Notables of the Gillen family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Gillen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gillen migration to the United States +

Thousands of Irish left in their homeland in the 18th and 19th centuries to escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, and in the search of a plot of land to call their own. These immigrants arrived at the eastern shores of North America, early on settling and breaking the land, and, later, building the bridges, canals, and railroads essential to the emerging nations of United States and Canada. Many others would toil for low wages in the dangerous factories of the day. Although there had been a steady migration of Irish to North America over these years, the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Gillen or a variant listed above:

Gillen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Bridget Gillen, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [1]
  • Grace Gillen, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [1]
  • Thomas Gillen, aged 47, who landed in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Henry Gillen, who landed in New York, NY in 1815 [1]
  • John Gillen, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gillen migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gillen Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mich Gillen, who landed in Canada in 1812
  • Mich Gillen, aged 18, who arrived in Canada in 1812

Australia Gillen migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gillen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Gillen, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"
  • Michael Gillen, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"
  • James Gillen, aged 16, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Henry Moore"
  • Philip Gillen, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Henry Moore"

Contemporary Notables of the name Gillen (post 1700) +

  • Pete Gillen (b. 1947), American basketball coach
  • Charles P. Gillen (1876-1956), American politician, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
  • Ray Gillen (1959-1993), American singer with various bands, among them Black Sabbath
  • Pete Gillen (b. 1947), American college basketball coach and television commentator
  • George H. Gillen, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 25th District, 1926 [2]
  • Francis H. Gillen, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1960 [2]
  • Drew Gillen, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1964 [2]
  • Courtland Craig Gillen (1880-1954), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Indiana 5th District, 1931-33; Circuit Judge in Indiana, 1934-40 [2]
  • Charles P. Gillen (1876-1956), American Democrat politician, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, 1917-21; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1932 [2]
  • Blake Gillen, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1964 [2]
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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