MacCullyn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name MacCullyn is "Mac Cuilinn" or "O Cuilinn," which are from the word "cuileann," which means "holly." They descend from Heber, who with his brother Heremon ruled Ireland. [1]

Culen or Colin, son of Indulph, was King of Scotland or Alba (967-71?) "His father, Indulph, was the first king who occupied Edinburgh, up to that time within Anglian Northumbria. " [2]

Early Origins of the MacCullyn family

The surname MacCullyn was first found in the southeast of Ireland, in the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford. Although all but one of the many distinct septs have become extinct, this remaining sept currently provides Ireland with nearly 8000 members, enough to make Cullen the 84th most common name in Ireland.

Descended from Olioll Flann Beag, king of Munster, the Cullens made their original homeland at Glencullen, in Wicklow, and they have remained there to the present day, despite the threat of their more powerful neighbors, the O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes. They were an influential family, as indicated by the inclusion of Cullen of Cullenstown among the leading gentry of Wexford in the Clongowes manuscript of 1598.

Due to the prominence of this sept, a number of similarly-named minor septs also adopted the name Cullen, including O Cuileamhain of south Leinster, which is also rendered Culloon or Culhoun, and Mac Cuilin of Leitrim, which is also Anglicized MacCullen.

Early History of the MacCullyn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacCullyn research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1659, 1300, 1534, 1517, 1542, 1516, 1528, 1531, 1534, 1803, 1878 and 1803 are included under the topic Early MacCullyn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacCullyn Spelling Variations

One must realize that attempting to record a Gaelic name in English was a daunting task. Even today the translation is a difficult one. Accordingly, spelling variations were the norm. Variations found include Cullen, Cullan, Cullane, O'Cullen, Cullain, Cullin, Cullon, McCullen, MacCullen, O'Cullane, Culen, Culan, Culain, Cullaine, Culaine, MacCulen, MacCollin, MacColin, O'Colen, O'Collen, O'Cuilin, O'Cuillin, O'Culane, O'Culen, O'Culhoon, O'Culloon, MacCullen, Cullain, Culon, Cullon, Culling and many more.

Early Notables of the MacCullyn family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Patrick O'Cullen, (d. 1534), Bishop of Clogher (1517-1542.) He "was an Augustinian hermit and prior of St. John without Newgate in Dublin. He was appointed to the see of Clogher by Leo X on 11 Feb. 1516. In 1528 the Pope granted him a dispensation from residence on account of the poverty of his see, which had been so wasted in the wars that it was not...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacCullyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacCullyn family

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 MacCullyn or one of its variants: Henry Cullen who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1820; L. Cullen settled in Baltimore in 1820; Patrick Cullen settled in West New Jersey in 1772; the family also settled in New York and California in the 19th century. Popular Christian names of the settlers was Andrew, Bernerd, Charles, Daniel, Dennis, Edward, George, James, John, Michael, Owen, Patrick, Peter, Robert, Thomas, Walter, and William, and they settled mostly in Philadelphia between 1830 and 1870. William Cullen was a property owner in St. John's Newfoundland in 1794 and had been settled there for 17 years.



  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


Houseofnames.com on Facebook