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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The Irish name Karlen claims descent from the O'Connors in Donegal where "Carlan" (from the Irish "carla" meaning a "wool-comb" and "an" meaning "one who" which roughly translates as "one who combs wool") was in Irish O'Carlain or O'Caireallain.

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People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Karlen that are preserved in archival documents are Carlin, Carling, O'Carolan, Carline, Karlin, Kerling, Kerline, Carlind, Carlynde, Carlyne, Carlyn, Carrlin, Carrling, Kerlynd, Kerlynde, Karlynd, Karline, Kearlin, Kearline, Kearlynd, Carolan, Carrolan, Carolyn, Carolyne, Caroline, Carolynde, Caraline, Carroline, Carlan, Carland, Carlon, Carlone, Karolin, Karolan, Karrolin and many more.

First found in County Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where the name is descended from the O'Connor stem, Kings of Connaught and the family became early associated with the county of Tyrone, and in neighboring counties.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Karlen research. Another 259 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1738, 1799, 1535 and 1568 are included under the topic Early Karlen History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Karlen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Karlen name:

Karlen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Jacob Karlen, who landed in New York in 1869

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  • David C. Karlen, American politician, Representative from New Jersey 11th District, 1992


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Felis demulcta mitis
Motto Translation: A stroked cat is gentle.

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  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  5. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  11. ...

The Karlen Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Karlen Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 6 October 2015 at 13:26.

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