The Clan/Sept History
Irish surnames are all based on the Gaelic language native to Ireland. The
original Gaelic form of the name O Quinlan is O Caoinleain or O Caoindealbhain.
Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because
the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name
was spelt and in what language. Research into the name O Quinlan revealed many
variations, including Quinlan, O'Quinlan, O'Quinlevan, O'Quinlivan and many
First found in county Meath, where they held a family seat from very ancient
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 O Quinlan: John Quinlan
who arrived in Quebec in 1825 with Margaret his wife and five children; Mary
Quinland and her husband settled in Charleston in 1803; James, John, Mary,
Michael, Patrick, Thomas and William Quinlan all arrived in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania between 1800 and 1840.
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