Olen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Olen is a proud example of one of the more noteworthy Scottish surnames. In Scotland, hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules and during the late Middle Ages, names that were derived from localities became increasingly widespread. Local names originally denoted the proprietorship of the village or estate.The Olen family originally lived in the Norman settlement of Lyons-la-Foret, before migrating to England and Scotland.

Early Origins of the Olen family

The surname Olen was first found in Perthshire where Sir Roger de Lyon settled in Scotland in 1098 and called the lands there Glen Lyon. "According to the family tradition the Lyons came to Scotland from France, by way of England, in the course of the twelfth century." [1] "John de Lyon obtained from David II a grant of the baronies of Forteviot and Fergundeny in Perthshire and Drumgawan in Aberdeenshire; his son, Sir John Lyon, was Secretary to Robert II, whose youngest daughter, Lady Jane Stewart, he married, and was created Lord Glamis, made Great Chamberlain, and Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and received grants of the Thanedom of Glamis in Forfarshire, and of the Barony of Kinghorn in Fifeshire. " [2] Another source claims that the family arrived via England later. "The name was not uncommon in England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and landowners of the name were in occupation in several of the English shires in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II. The first of the name recorded in Scotland, probably an English soldier, was Thomas Lyon, crossbowman, who formed one of the garrison of Linlithgow peel in the pay of Edward II. " [1] Mention should now be made of the numerous listings of the family in England at about the same time. Here it is generally thought that the first record of the name was Roger de Leonibus filius Jeffrey de Lions who was listed in the Feet of Fines of Norfolk during the reign of Henry III of England (reign 1216-1272.) The same source lists John de Leonibus in Southamptonshire and Peter de Leonibus in Northamptonshire. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Judaeus Leo and Jacob filius Leonis in Lincolnshire; John Leon in Oxfordshire; and Roger de Lyons, Wiltshire. [3]

Early History of the Olen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Olen research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1105, 1203, 1643, 1695, 1663, 1712, 1696, 1715, 1715, 1715, 1702, 1707 and are included under the topic Early Olen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Olen Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Lyon, Lions, Lyons and others.

Early Notables of the Olen family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was John Lyon, 2nd Earl of Kinghorne; and his son, Patrick Lyon, 3rd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne (1643-1695), a Scottish peer; John Lyon, 4th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne (1663-1712), a Scottish peer; John Lyon, 5th...
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Olen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Olen family to Ireland

Some of the Olen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Olen family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: John Lyon, who came to Barbados in 1634; William Lyon, who arrived at Boston in 1635; Thomas Lyon, who was on record in Connecticut in 1647; Walter Lyon, who was banished to America in 1662.

Contemporary Notables of the name Olen (post 1700)

  • Halvor Olen, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 35th District, 1909-10 [4]
  • Richard Olen Sommer II (b. 1978), American actor best known for his portrayal of Harry Crane on the AMC series Mad Men
  • Bobby Olen Pinson (b. 1970), American country music artist
  • Robert Olen Butler Jr. (b. 1945), American author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1993
  • Olen Montgomery (b. 1914), African American teenage hobo, one of the Scottsboro Boys, accused of rape aboard a train, convicted and finally receiving a full posthumous pardon on November 21, 2013
  • Olen Steinhauer (b. 1970), American novelist, author of the New York Times Best Seller The Tourist (2009)
  • Olen K. Underwood, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1935
  • Olen Gunnett (1876-1956), American politician, Mayor of Frostburg, Maryland, 1939-42 [5]
  • Olen Deckard, American Republican politician, Elected Missouri State House of Representatives from Douglas County 1950 [6]
  • Olen Hendrix, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1960 [4]


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 1) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
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