This is a personal research project conducted on my own time and using my own limited resources. It started out as a one-name study of the Irish surname Pelan - including research into its origins and the family histories of those with this surname. However, as the research progressed, theories were developed and discoveries were made about connections to other surnames such as Palen, Paling and Pelling. As as a result, this project now encompasses many surnames from the British Isles and the respectively named diaspora around the world. It is difficult to group these under a common moniker so I have labelled these peoples as the P-L-N tribe as a reflection of a common but not exclusive phonetic pattern.

As it happens there is a similar Eastern European surname Pelán (sometimes written as Pelan) and a Breton surname Pelan (sometimes written as Pélan). There is no reason to suspect that these families are connected in any way and their orthographic similarity is just a coincidence.

This is a complementary two-part study. The first part uses conventional genealogy based on documentary evidence. The second part uses genetic genealogy and by necessity includes all surname varieties to ensure a complete and indepth picture of potentially connected lineages.

Research Summary :- Origin of the Pelan Surname.pdf


December 2017

Karen Pelan - an early supporter of this project - passed away in Belfast as a result of cancer on the 27th Dec.

August 2017

My father Leonard Pelan sadly passed away in Ireland at the age of 85.  He always wanted to know the origin and meaning of the Pelan surname and despite his fanciful notions of links to Irish royalty, I like to think that I persuaded him of the facts, at least as was known at the time. He will be sadly missed.

January 2017

I am extremely sad to report the death of Keith Pelan in November 2016.  I am honoured to have known him, if only briefly through this project and he will be greatly missed. In his retirement he took to woodworking and was highly accomplished producing some exquisite rocking-horses amongst other beautiful things.

Also in early 2016, we lost sister and brother, Renée Pelan (89) and Derek Pelan (86). The latter died not long after learning of the death of his sister.

March 2015 - Test results from a Mr Pallan have come in and, as predicted from the documentary evidence, he matched the "Hancock-like" Pelan line.

I am on the lookout for anyone from a Pelan family living in Washington State, USA. It would be great to get some of their yDNA to see how they fit into the existing family structure. I can trace them as far back as the American Civil War but before that they claim to be from England. We have seen in other circumstances where an historical claim to be from "England" really refers to the broader British Isles, the UK as was, and is in fact obscuring an Irish origin.