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Cullen Family History
Cullen is a multiple origin name, as many Irish surnames are (see list on Conway Page).
Ó Cuilinn, derivation as above, numerous in South East Leinster.
Ó Cuileamhain, root uncertain, anglicised formerly as Culhoon, Culoon and even Colquhoun (a Scottish name). The same territory as Ó Cuilinn in S.E. Leinster.
Mac Cuilinn, root 'cuileann'- holly, a largely Co Monaghan name.
Ó Cuileannáin, with possible root 'holly', a branch of the Corca Laoidhe in Co Cork. The Donegal Cullinanes are mostly Cullen.
Mac Coileáin, from root 'coileán'- 'whelp', an Ulster surname.
Mac Uighilín, Quillan etc., the Gaelic name adopted by the Cambro-Norman de Mandeville family, found as Cullen in Cavan.
In fact the Registrar General, R. Matheson, lists 12 variants or synonyms of Cullen across Ireland, including the ubiquitous Collins (usually Ó Coileáin) from the 1890 births registrations.
Griffith's 'Valuation' (1847-1863) finds most Cullen household in counties Wexford (290), Wicklow (209), Dublin- including city (148), Leitrim (123) and Kilkenny (90).
The 1890 birth registration figures in Matheson's 'Special Report on Irish Surnames' (1909) found Leinster with the most Cullen births by far (132), and principally in Dublin and Wexford.
The English surname Cullen is taken from the Old French Cologne, from the German city, which itself is from Latin 'colonia' or 'colony'. The English surname Cooling has also been rendered as Cullen. Guppy (1890) lists the name Cullen as a Nottinghamshire and Somerset surname.
The Scottish surname Cullen is taken from a place in Bannfshire of that name, from Gaelic root 'cuilan'- 'little corner/nook'. Prefixed by 'de' - 'of', the surname was well established in North East Scotland from the 14th century. Many of the Glasgow Cullens, however, would have an Irish immigrant origin: and thus the demographics are similar to those of the surname Kelly, which is also of dual origin in Scotland.