O'Failin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Many variations of the name O'Failin have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as O Faoilain, which is derived from the word faol, which means wolf. 
Early Origins of the O'Failin family
The surname O'Failin was first found in County Waterford (Irish: Port Láirge), anciently the Deise region, on the South coast of Ireland in the Province of Munster.
Saint Fillan, Foilan or Felan (d. 777?), was an Irish missionary in Scotland in the middle of the eighth century. "His commemoration day in the Scottish calendar is 9 Jan. He was the son of Feredach, a prince in Munster, and Kentigerna, daughter of Kellach Cualann, king of Leinster, and sister to St. Congan. Being thrown into a river on his birth on account of deformity, he was rescued by St. Ibar. He became a monk at first in one of the monasteries of St. Munnu Fintan, and subsequently went from Ireland to the part of Argyll afterwards called Ross, where two churches, Kilkoan and Killellan, derive their names respectively from his uncle Congan and himself. A cave and a church were also named from him in Fife." 
Early History of the O'Failin family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Failin research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1658 and 1680 are included under the topic Early O'Failin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Failin Spelling Variations
The Middle Ages saw a great number of spelling variations for surnames common to the Irish landscape. One reason for these variations is the fact that surnames were not rigidly fixed by this period. The following variations for the name O'Failin were encountered in the archives: Phelan, O'Phelan, Whelan, O'Failin, Phalen, Phalon, Phaelan and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Failin family (pre 1700)
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Failin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Failin family
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the O'Failin family came to North America quite early: James Phalen settled in South Carolina in 1822; Phillip Phalen settled in Barstable in 1822; Daniel, George, James, John, Michael, Patrick, Thomas, Timothy and William Phelan all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860..
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- ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print