This is what I found out today about half of my family, the Fallons. Turns out we're little wolves...I think I like that
The family surname Felan is an anglicised variety of an ancient Irish name, ” FaolŠin, which is the name of an important Irish sept which was prominent in a southeast area of Ireland known historically as "The Decies", which today is part of the modern county of Waterford.
The word FaolŠin is derived from the gaelic word "faol" meaning a wolf, "faolŠin" being of the diminutive form, meaning little wolf.
It is recorded that about 300 A.D., a tribe called the Deise settled on the site where Dungarvan, County Waterford now stands. In the 12th century, during the domination by the Norman's, the Deise tribe appears to have been lost, as there is no clan Deisi today, or clan ” FaolŠin, O'Phelan or Felan. It is thought that the remnants of the lost Deisi tribe are those people who identified themselves during the Norman process of assimilation in the identity of their leaders - Felan, ” FaolŠin, Phelan or Whelan. There are still very respectable families of the O'Felans (some of whom have changed the name to Felan and Phelan) in the counties of Waterford, Tipperary, Kilkenny, and Queen's County.
Legend has it that the original FaolŠin from whom the surname is derived, was nineteenth in descent from a younger brother of Conn of the Hundred Battles, who reigned as High King of Ireland for thirty five years until his death in 157 A.D. Numerous members of the ” FaolŠin sept have been rulers of the Decies throughout history, and as such O'FaolŠin sept is one of the original ancient septs of Ireland. In fact, ” FaolŠin was the first chief to fall resisting the Norman Invasion in 1169, as is documented in the historical text the Annals of the Four Masters:
"The Age of Christ, 1170.
Robert Fitz Stephen and Richard, son of Gilbert, i.e. Earl Strongbow, came from England into Ireland with a numerous force, and many knights and archers, in the army of Mac Murchadha, to contest Leinster for him, and to disturb the Irish of Ireland in general; and Mac Murchadha gave his daughter to the Earl Strongbow for coming into his army. They took Loch Garman, and entered Port-Lairge by force; and they took Gillemaire, the officer of the fortress, and Ua Faelain, lord of the Deisi, and his son, and they killed seven hundred persons there."
By the beginning of the thirteenth century, most of the traditional ” FaolŠin lands and titles were lost in the wake of the invasion. However, branchs of the sept survived the Norman invasions and were settled in Waterford and in the southwest part of Kilkenny County, mainly in the barony of Iverk.
The earliest anglicised forms of the ” FaolŠin name were Felan, Phelan, Filan, with many other similar variants, including Whelan and Fallon in Ireland's Waterford and Kilkenny Counties. Felan is the most prevalent form in modern times, and it is one of the most popular names in Irish people as a whole.
There is also a strong Hispanic population in the Southwest with this last name. This is due to the fact of the large amount of Irish soldiers who enlisted in the Mexican Army during the U.S.-Mexican war. See St. Patrick's Battalion. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
hmm...I've never heard of that batalion - but I'm going to find out more right now! toodles!