Whelan Family History
The family history of the ancient name Whelan
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives.
Many different spelling variations of the same name can be traced back to a single original root. Also, when a bearer of a name emigrated from Ireland it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books upon arrival at their new location. Some names have dozens of spelling variations. Some Surnames were also altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically, by their sound, and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another. This was especially so in Ireland where most Gaelic names were 'anglicized' at some stage.
Variants of the name Whelan
include Phelan, O'Phelan and Whelahan. Meaning 'Little Wolf', these names are variants of the same Gaelic surname, 'O'Faolain'. This Irish Sept had their territory in the south-west part of County Kilkenny. Their chiefs were Princes of the Decies before the Norman Invasion, and they soon spread to County Waterford and adjacent areas. The gentleman who styles himself O'Phelan, Prince of Decies, was born a Whelan. In the United States James Phelan, 1824-1892, was a pioneer and his son James Duval Phelan, 1861-1920, was a Senator and Mayor of San Francisco. The majority of present day Phelans and Whelans are still to be found in Dublin, Kilkenny and Waterford.The Whelan
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Whelan