Show ContentsNolen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Throughout history, very few Irish surnames have exclusively maintained their original forms. Before being translated into English, Nolen 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 Nolen family

The surname Nolen 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 Nolen family

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

Nolen Spelling Variations

Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname Nolen were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. Nolan, O'Nolan, Nowlan, O'Nowlan, O'Nowland, Knowlan, Noland and many more.

Early Notables of the Nolen family

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 Nolen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nolen Ranking

In the United States, the name Nolen is the 2,746th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [5]

United States Nolen migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Nolen family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Nolen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Georg Nolen, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1744 [6]
  • James Nolen, who arrived in America in 1785 [6]
Nolen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Nolen, who arrived in America in 1807 [6]
  • J Nolen, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]
  • Ellen Nolen, aged 19, who settled in America, in 1892
  • Karl W. Nolen, aged 39, who landed in America, in 1894
  • Hanna Nolen, aged 11, who immigrated to the United States, in 1895
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Nolen Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Jesh Nolen, aged 18, who landed in America from Listowel, Ireland, in 1900
  • Anna Nolen, aged 29, who immigrated to America, in 1903
  • Annie F. Nolen, aged 40, who landed in America from Dublin, in 1903
  • Leona Otrich Nolen, aged 29, who settled in America, in 1904
  • Will P. Nolen, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1904
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Nolen (post 1700) +

  • Gabbie Nolen (b. 1982), American country music singer/songwriter
  • William A. Nolen M.D. (1928-1986), American surgeon and author, best known for his syndicated medical advice column that appeared in McCall's
  • Terrence "Terry" Nolen, American theater director
  • Truly Wheatfield Nolen, American founder of Truly Nolen, a family-owned pest control company
  • Timothy Nolen (b. 1941), American actor and baritone
  • Jimmy Nolen (1934-1983), American guitarist
  • John Nolen (1869-1937), American landscape architect
  • Luke Nolen, Australian jockey, best known for riding mare Black Caviar to 22 of her 25 consecutive wins
  • Stephanie Nolen (b. 1971), Canadian Governor General's Literary Award nominated journalist and writer, South Asia bureau chief for The Globe and Mail
  • Brigadier-General Edward Nolen Backus (1906-1973), American Commander of the 32nd Air Defense Division (1958-1959) [7]

Suggested Readings for the name Nolen +

  • The Nolen Story by Jewell Nolen.

  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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) Edward Backus. Retrieved from on Facebook