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Origins Available: Dutch, Irish


The Irish surname Killian originally appeared in Gaelic as O Cillin.

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The surname Killian was first found in County Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo) located on the West coast of the Republic of Ireland in the province of Connacht, where they held territories was at Ballykilleen since early times. This lofty family were the ancient Chiefs of Fingal, Earls of Fingal and Lords Killeen. Saint Kilian, (also spelled Killian) from the Irish: Cillian, was an Irish missionary bishop and the apostle of Franconia. He was born in Mullagh, County Cavan, and is the patron saint of the parish of Tuosist, in County Kerry. Saint Kilian's feast day is July 8th and St. Kilian's Abbey, at Würzburg is named after him. Today there are two Killeen Castles in Ireland: one located at Dunsany, in County Meath, that dates back to about 1180, but today's structure is a restoration of the 19th century after a fire in 1981. It will include a luxury golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. The second Killeen Castle is a 17th century castle at Killeen, in Castlegar, County Galway.

During the Middle Ages, exact spellings for people's name did not exist. It was up to the literate scribe that was recording a person's name to decide how to spell his name. Names, therefore, often had many spelling variations. The variations of the name Killian include: Killeen, Killen, Killion, Killian, Killin, Gilin, Killan, Killoon, O'Killen, McKillen and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Killian research. Another 243 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1180, 1981, 1180 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Killian History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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A great wave of Irish migration occurred during the 19th century as a direct result of English colonial rule and tight-fisted absentee landlords. Many of these Irish immigrants boarded passenger ships bound for North America. Those who migrated early enough were given land in either British North America or the United States; those who came in the late 19th century were typically employed in industrial centers as laborers. At whatever age they undertook the dangerous passage to North America, those Irish immigrants were essential to the speedy development of the two infant nations to which they arrived, whether they broke and settled land, helped build canals, bridges, and railroads, or produced products for consumer consumption. An examination of immigration and passenger lists has uncovered a large number of immigrants bearing the name Killian or one of its variants:

Killian Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Johann Heinrich Killian, aged 31, arrived in New York, NY in 1849
  • Patrick Killian, aged 27, landed in DeWitt County, Illinois in 1854
  • Enoch Killian, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1869

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  • Sue Killian, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1984
  • Robert K. Killian (1919-2005), American politician, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, 1975-79
  • Robert Benjamin Killian (b. 1856), American Democrat politician, Physician; Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Lincoln County, 1913-14
  • Richard D. Killian, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 2008
  • P. B. Killian, American Democrat politician, Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Clay County, 1915-16
  • Martin P. Killian, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 15th District, 1876
  • John Killian, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Lincoln County, 1838-41
  • John D. Killian, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Pennsylvania State Senate 15th District, 1964
  • J. Yates Killian, American Republican politician, Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Catawba County, 1915-16; alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 1916
  • Frederick Killian, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County 15th District, 1872

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  1. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  2. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  3. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  4. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Killian Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Killian 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 10:56.

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