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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Dutch, Irish

Where did the Irish Killian family come from? What is the Irish Killian family crest and coat of arms? When did the Killian family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Killian family history?

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


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.

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.


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.


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


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


  • Albert H. "Al" Killian (1916-1950), American jazz trumpet player and bandleader during the big band era
  • Kevin Killian (b. 1952), American poet, author, and playwright, winner of the American Book Award for poetry in 2009
  • Dan Arnold Killian (1880-1953), American head football coach at Louisiana State University from 1904 to 1906
  • Robert K. Killian (1919-2005), American politician from the state of Connecticut
  • George E. Killian (b. 1924), American sports administrator, president of the International University Sports Federation (FISU)
  • Edwin Henry "Ed" Killian (1876-1928), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1903 to 1910
  • George Killian Lett, Irish brewer who created George Killian's Irish Red, an amber lager now brewed by Pelforth (Heineken) Coors
  • Michael Killian (b. 1983), South African rugby union player
  • Dr. James Rhyne Killian Jr. (1904-1988), American academic, 10th President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1948 to 1959
  • Gustav Killian (1860-1921), German laryngologist, eponym of Killian's dehiscence


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  1. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  4. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  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. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  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 29 July 2015 at 21:43.

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