Pelan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many variations of the name Pelan 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. [1]

Early Origins of the Pelan family

The surname Pelan 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." [2]

Early History of the Pelan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pelan research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1658 and 1680 are included under the topic Early Pelan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pelan 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 Pelan were encountered in the archives: Phelan, O'Phelan, Whelan, O'Failin, Phalen, Phalon, Phaelan and many more.

Early Notables of the Pelan family (pre 1700)

Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pelan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Pelan migration to the United States +

A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Pelan name:

Pelan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Antonio Pelan, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1898 [3]

New Zealand Pelan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Pelan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Albert Pelan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Isle of Bute" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Pelan (post 1700) +

  • John C. Pelan (b. 1957), American author, editor and publisher


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ 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)


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