Last name: Carlin

This interesting surname, widespread in the Ulster County of Tyrone, is an Anglicized form of two distinct Gaelic Irish septs names, O' Caireallain and O' Cearbhallain. The former sept was located in Clondermot, County Derry, where its leader was chief of Clan Diarmada, whence the name of the parish of Clondermot. The sept of O' Cearbhallain was also of Ulster, being located chiefly in Cavan and Monaghan, prior to their migration into the north Leinster county of Meath. Traditionally, Irish family names are take either from the heads of tribes or from illustrious warriors, and are usually prefixed by "mac" meaning "son of", or "o", male descendant of. In this case, the personal bynames "Cearbhallan" and "Caireallan" share the same root i.e., "cearb" meaning hacking, and implying a fierce warrior. Further Anglicized forms of the above two ancient Ulster surnames include Carolan, Carlan, Carland, and Kirlin, On June 18th 1865 the birth of Patrick, son of James Carlin and Sarah McBride, was recorded in Omagh, County Tyrone. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh O' Carolan, Bishop of Clogher, which was dated 1535-1563, in "Medieval Ecclesiastical Records of Co. Donegal", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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William carlin

Liverpool, england

Boris Morris

Surely Carlin in Italy would be italinized - "Carlini" or "Carlione" or something - wouldn't it?

Boris Morris

More than a thousand people named "Carlin" live in Russia.

My inlaws came to NZ from Dunbarton, Scotland. I have been trying to trace this family for some years now. From what I know, all CARLIN's in Scotland did come from Ireland and before that from the continent, there are many of this surname around Italy area.
Only two came to New Zealand.

Heather Carlin
Utah, US

The Carlin surname has been present in Northern Italy, Venice area, since 1400 A.D. People named Carlin are living in 168 Italian cities.

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John Carling
Hi, I'm John Carling from Sweden. I'm a bit curious about my name. Could it be that Carling, with a g in the end, is a variant of Carlin? Kind regards /John

M. Carlin

I'm a carlin from USA and my great grandparents were from Sweden not ireland or italy.


Ged Carlin
Yep, and also would be great to have an idea why they came to Australia? Anyone?

Gerard (Ged) Carlin
Work! I was informed that two Carlin brothers got on a ship that docked in SA (late 1800's), they split up and one of the brothers (Patrick Carlin) started on farms making his way to country Victoria.

Hi. See "The Great Migration" in I,m Karlin and i,m Russian. My ancestors lived since 1800 in the Russian land and are Russian. I think that the earlier ancestors also Russian. Although the presence of namesakes in Ireland and Sweden makes you wonder. We in Russia have the option value of names, it is alleged by the word of Karl - King. Ie it is either some relatives of some king or people who served the king. I do not know. All this is very interesting. If you want to talk about it - write =) rtlj*@*

Good analysis, thanks. Any ideas on the origin of the end part of the name (..hallan or ..eallan)?


The ending of Cearbhallan is "an", which is a diminuative suffix meaning small. The root is Cearbh, not Cearb (in old Irish the b, pronounced like a v or w, would not have had the h added, you were just supposed to know that letters were pronounced at the beginning of words differently from at the end or the middle of a word. Cearbhall is the Irish surnname Carroll. As for the all, it's hard to tell with my limited knowledge of Irish. Maybe it means "-like" ir "-ish", as in dear-like or dovish. Sometimes this name was transcribed into English or French as Kerevallan or Keruallan (the Irish can't put r or l together with p, b, r, v, w, or m, so it becomes rbh is "rev" or "rew", just like when they pronounce film as fillim, or farm as ferrum),