Show ContentsKnowland History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, Knowland appeared as Ó Nualláin, which is derived from the Irish Gaelic word "nuall," meaning "nobler, famous." [1] [2]

"Ó Nualláin, this name is numerous in all the provinces, especially in its homeland, south-east Leinster. " [3]

Early Origins of the Knowland family

The surname Knowland was first found in County Carlow (Irish: Cheatharlach) a small landlocked area located in the province of Leinster in the South East of Ireland "where they were chiefs of Fotharta Feadha, now the barony of 'Forth.' From Eochaidh Fionn-Fohart descended O'Nowlan or Nolan or Fowerty (or Foharta), in Lease (or Leix.) " [4]

Early History of the Knowland family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knowland research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1793, 1837, 1793, 1804, 1811, 1784, 1864, 1784, 1796, 1803 and 1832 are included under the topic Early Knowland History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Knowland Spelling Variations

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Knowland family name include Nolan, O'Nolan, Nowlan, O'Nowlan, O'Nowland, Knowlan, Noland and many more.

Early Notables of the Knowland family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Rev. Edward Nolan (1793-1837) , Bishop of Kildare. He was born in Tullow, Co. Carlow in 1793. He was educated at Carlow College from 1804 until 1811 when he went to Maynooth College. Frederick Nolan (1784-1864), the Irish divine was born at Old Rathmines Castle, co. Dublin, the seat of his grandfather, on 9 Feb. 1784 and was third son of Edward Nolan of St. Peter's, Dublin, by his...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knowland Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Knowland migration to the United States +

Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Knowland:

Knowland Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Perce Knowland, who landed in Virginia in 1724 [5]

Australia Knowland migration to Australia +

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

Knowland Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Knowland, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. John Knowland who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" on 3rd October 1831, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Mr. Dennis Knowland who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Knowland (post 1700) +

  • Joseph William Knowland (1930-2019), American actor from Oakland, California, known for Escape from Alcatraz and Little Miss Marker, son of William F. Knowland
  • William Fife Knowland (1908-1974), American Republican politician, Member of California State Assembly, 1933-35; Member of California State Senate, 1935-39 [9]
  • Joseph Russell Knowland (1873-1966), American Republican politician, Member of California State Assembly, 1899-1903; Member of California State Senate, 1903-04 [9]
  • Mrs. Joseph R. Knowland, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1932 [9]
  • John Knowland, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Allegheny County, 1881-82 [9]
  • Lieutenant George Arthur Knowland (1922-1945), British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII [10]

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  4. O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th March 2022). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from
  10. World War 2 - KNOWLAND, George. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) George Knowland. Retrieved from on Facebook