O'Collen 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 O'Collen 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. 
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. " 
Early Origins of the O'Collen family
The surname O'Collen 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 O'Collen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Collen 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 O'Collen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Collen Spelling Variations
Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname O'Collen are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were 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 O'Collen 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...
Migration of the O'Collen family
Many Irish families boarded ships bound for North America in the middle of 19th century to escape the conditions of poverty and racial discrimination at that time. Although these immigrants often arrived in a destitute state, they went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. An inquiry into many immigration and passenger lists has revealed many early immigrants to North America bearing the O'Collen family name: 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.