Show ContentsPhalen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many variations of the name Phalen 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 Phalen family

The surname Phalen 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 Phalen family

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

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

Early Notables of the Phalen family (pre 1700)

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

United States Phalen 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 Phalen name:

Phalen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peter Phalen, who landed in America in 1803 [3]
  • Daniel Phalen, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [3]
  • Philip Phalen, aged 20, who arrived in America in 1822 [3]
  • James Phalen, who settled in South Carolina in 1822
  • Phillip Phalen, who settled in Barstable in 1822

Contemporary Notables of the name Phalen (post 1700) +

  • George S. Phalen (1911-1998), American hand surgeon, best known for his work on carpal tunnel syndrome, eponym of Phalen's maneuver
  • Robert Phalen (b. 1937), American film and television actor
  • Patrick R. Phalen, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, 1940 [4]
  • Mary Catherine Phalen, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1980, 1996 [4]
  • Martin Phalen, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for Secretary of State of Ohio, 1924 [4]
  • Lawrence Phalen, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Ohio 4th District, 1904 [4]
  • Gerard A. "Jigger" Phalen (b. 1934), former Canadian Senator, educator, and union leader from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Maria  Phalen (1857-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [5]

  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)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, March 16) . Retrieved from
  5. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook