Recorded in many forms including O'Hanlon, Hanlon, Hanlin, Handlin, Handling, Handlon, Henlon, and possibly others, this is an Irish surname of great antiquity. It derives from the Gaelic surname O' Lanluain, meaning 'The male descendant of Anman,' the latter being a personal name translating as 'man warrior'. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by O', or Mac, denoting son of. This surname is much associated with County Armagh in Ulster, the sept being located in the baronies of Oneilland and Orior, where for centuries their chiefs were known as the lords of Orior. By a poilicy of concilation the O'Hanlons were saved from complete ruin at the time of the plantation of Ulster by the English, but later in the 17th century they suffered the fate of the rest of the Catholic aristocracy, and were totally dispossessed. Probably the best known bearer of the surname was Rev. John O'Hanlon (1821 - 1905), the author of "Lives of the Irish Saints". Recordings from surviving registers include Robert Hanlin at St Catherines Dublin, on May 21st 1705, and the marriage of Margaret Hanlon and James Garner in London on May 1st 1789. The clan coat of arms has the blazon of a green shield, charged with a boar passant ermine on a mound proper, the crest being a lizard displayed, green. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Teag O'Hanlon, given as being the chief of East Ulster. This was taken from the records of the English Expeditionary Forces in Ireland in 1493. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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