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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


Many variations of the name Phelan 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.

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Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name Phelan family name. Variations found include Phelan, O'Phelan, Whelan, O'Failin, Phalen, Phalon, Phaelan and many more.

First found in County Waterford (Irish: Port Láirge), anciently the Deise region, on the South coast of Ireland in the Province of Munster.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Phelan research. Another 204 words (15 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Phelan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Phelan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of Irish families left for North American shores in the 19th century. These people were searching for a life unencumbered with poverty, hunger, and racial discrimination. Many arrived to eventually find such conditions, but many others simply did not arrive: victims of the diseased, overcrowded ships in which they traveled to the New World. Those who lived to see North American shores were instrumental in the development of the growing nations of Canada and the United States. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name Phelan:

Phelan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Phelan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Patrick Phelan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Thomas Phelan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Edward Phelan, aged 44, landed in Maryland in 1813
  • William Phelan, aged 29, arrived in Louisiana in 1813


Phelan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • John Phelan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1805
  • Robert Phelan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1818
  • Bridget Phelan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1820
  • Denis Phelan, aged 14, landed in Canada in 1823
  • Ellen Phelan, aged 7, arrived in Canada in 1823


Phelan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James Phelan, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar"
  • Mary Phelan, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Epaminondas"
  • Anthony Phelan, aged 36, a ploughman, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad"
  • Bridget Phelan, aged 19, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Confiance"
  • Bessy Phelan, aged 25, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Velocity"


Phelan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • F. Mary Phelan arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1858
  • James P. Phelan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864
  • Julia Phelan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864
  • Mary Phelan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864
  • Catherine Phelan arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864


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  • Tony Phelan, American two-time Emmy Award nominated television screenwriter, producer and director, best known for his work on Grey's Anatomy
  • Pat Phelan (b. 1985), American soccer player
  • George R. Phelan, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Puerto Cabello, 1919-32; Maracaibo, 1934; Caracas, 1938-43
  • Ellen Skae Phelan (1905-1985), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1960,Candidate in primary for Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 7th District, 1964
  • Dennis A. Phelan, American politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1941
  • Daniel A. Phelan, American Democrat politician, Chair of Elk County Democratic Party, 1937
  • Anna M. Phelan, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Alhambra, California, 1892-96
  • Andrew F. Phelan, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, 1968-69
  • J. Francis Phelan, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Iowa, 1948
  • James Phelan (1821-1873), American politician, Member of Mississippi State Senate, 1860; Senator from Mississippi in the Confederate Congress, 1862-64

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  • Phelan,Malone, Kevill, Stutz & Klaes Families by John T. Phelan.
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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  5. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Phelan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Phelan Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 March 2016 at 14:08.

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