The Surname 'Anglin'

Chapter 10

An overview of the Anglin Diaspora

button-previous button-next

The Aims of this Chapter are:

  1. To get an overview of the extent of the scatter of the Anglins
  2. To be aware of the available information of the early Anglin Diaspora
  3. To review Sources and Absence of Sources for Genealogical Research
  4. To seek out the hidden story of the migration?

The primary focus

The focus in this study is primarily on the pre 1800 era, the early emigration of Anglins from Ireland. Sources recording this Anglin migration are scant in contrast with the numerous source records of Anglin emigrants of the 19th and 20th centuries. Examples of the latter sources include Ellis Island records, the Ireland/Australia records, birth, marriage and death registers etc. While not ignoring the emigration and immigration in the years after the great Irish famine of the 1840’s and through to the 20th century, it is not a major focus of this study.


A general comment on the pre-1800 scattering of the Irish

The Irish Diaspora occurred in three broad tranches:

  1. The earliest scattering of the Irish from Ireland was probably to Britain and continues still today
  2. There was also a migration of the Irish to continental Europe with a particular movement to France and Spain in the 1500’s to 1700’s
  3. Then there was the migration to the Americas, to South America (Argentina) but particularly to the US, Canada and the Caribbean, in the latter case sometimes forced

There was also a lesser emigration to Australia and New Zealand, again occasionally forced.

The Anglins as Irish people were part of those migrations.

Historical background

History is outside the objectives so such information is omitted from the body of the study. But awareness of:

  1. 1550-1800 corresponds to major interconnected and complicating national and international factors
  2. Ireland’s troubled history and her relationship with Europe particularly her devastating relationship with England
  3. the myriad relevant historical issues of Reformation, Counter Reformation, Catholic, Protestant, land ownership, planters, who ruled, Anglicisation of the people and language, evictions, who suffered and the role of women; and
  4. the whole issue of Colonisation including slavery and ‘ the ‘transportation to colonies of undesirables’

is valuable, and sometimes necessary, as all these impinge on who would leave Ireland and their possible place of settlement.

The whereabouts of these Anglin émigrés today

A simple examination of national telephone directories gives some evidence of the spread of the Anglin name today. This added to other sources of information indicates the presence of the Anglin surname in Britain, United States of America, the Islands of the Caribbean, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Argentina the Scandinavian countries, New Zealand, Australia and I am sure with the modern movement of individuals for employment reasons, it is possible they are in other countries also.

The destinations of the early Anglin Diaspora


The movement of peoples between Ireland and England has been going on for generations and without records. I am unaware of any written investigation into the Anglin story pre 1800.

European mainland

For historical reasons research into the movement of the Irish to and from Europe has only been attempted in recent years. ‘The Irish in Europe project’ is an example of recent work. As with England no written investigation of Anglin émigrés to France or Spain has been done. This is now becoming possible on the back of current general work in the European project. (NUI Maynooth).

The USA and the Caribbean

The Centre for Migration Studies based at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh Co, Tyrone Ireland is researching Irish migration to the USA, but to date no lead on early, I emphasise early, Anglin movement to the US has been found.

Recent and current research

In the mid 1990’s Evelyn Williams in the USA researched and put into writing information on her own line of Anglins. She also led a group of like-minded people to establish an annual convention of Anglins. She had been in contact with Walter Anglin, who had researched and in an unpublished book entitled, “Anglins of Colonial America”, recorded the story of Anglins particularly the ones who came in the early years of colonisation, to Maryland, Virginia and neighbouring states. This decision to call a convention was a blessing as it gave an opportunity to other interested Anglins to come together. This grew and grew, even drawing in Canadian and Irish Anglins.

With this blossomed the Anglin DNA project. Thanks to substantial efforts of Karen Parker, Joan Bulach and Robert Anglin a deeper insight is growing of the family linkages unearthed through earlier documentary searches. This development requires both money and a lot of genealogical and historical searching. In this the support of individual supporters of the Convention has been remarkable.

Over the years the efforts of individuals, all of whom living outside Ireland, to gain insight into their own family histories seems not only to have grown but also has been put into the public domain. The breadth of this effort is indicated in the earlier chapter on ‘Anglin Genealogy: Our Identity’ in section 1 and Appendix 8G.The amount of work done is quite massive.

Strangely the Anglins who live in Ireland were really oblivious to what was going on abroad. Aware of my own attitude and now having spoken to other Anglins in Ireland, I realise we had simply accepted we were Irish in our origins and left the whole matter rest there. I admit I was aware of Anglins who were Country singers and the escape of John and Clarence from Alcatraz caused a smile! Hopefully section 1 of this booklet prepared by an Irish Anglin makes amends.

In researching times past the oldest solid historical evidence unearthed of O’hAngluinn / Anglin /Hanglin as a family name is in Ireland. Thereafter it is present in England and Europe, then with the discoveries of the new world we find it initially entering the colonies of America in the 1600’s and then in the 1700’s into the Caribbean Islands and in 1800’s into Canada and Australasia. I am unaware of any details of successful research carried out on Anglins in the European mainland or in the South American Countries, other than that in Chapter 9, though some ‘Family Tree’ work was attempted.

To review the sources and absence of sources of genealogical research

This study cannot avoid genealogical issues, the basis of which lies in consulting Registers, Censuses, Passenger lists and their substitutes. This study of the migration has produced an even greater awareness of the massive gaps in available sources; particularly the absence of passenger lists pre 1800. Accepting this as fact allows a change in mindset so the search now becomes an historical search rather than simply a genealogical one.

The story of the Anglin’s entry and presence is different for each country, so countries will be treated separately. Section 2 can be considered as just one more contribution in the study of the Anglin Diaspora.

Since the study is more than names and dates. Other issues will be raised e.g. appropriate sources of evidence, the previous country of residence of the new arrivals, the historical background to their story etc.

What is the hidden story of the migration?

Why the emigrations of individuals and families?

In the Ellis Island Website there is a family of Anglins who emigrated from Northern Ireland to the USA and then seemed to emigrate again a few years later. I find this fascinating, why did they come back after their first voyage.

This thought leads one to reflect on the human story of the many Anglins who left Ireland? Why did they leave, where did they go? How and why did they arrive at a specific destination? What became of them and of the generations that descended from them? The Family trees give the names of the generations, but there is a fuller story that needs to be told. The following chapters opens up this aspect by proposing we should now seek to unearth what is known of the story of these emigrants in their new homelands.

A comment on the inter-country linkage

A further development of this Diaspora of the Anglins is becoming evident. There are definite Family links of Anglins living in Canada, to Anglins living in Ireland to Anglins living in Australasia. There are also definite family links between Anglins in Ireland and England. There are other scattered Anglins for whom linkage has not been sought or has not yet been proven. This too requires attention.

Other material worthy of research

  • The Irish in Europe 1580-1815 edited by Thomas O’Connor
  • Irish Migrants in Europe after Kinsale edited by Thomas O’Connor and Mary Anne Lyons
  • Irish Communities in Early modern Europe edited by Thomas O’Connor and Mary Anne Lyons
  • Archivium Hibernicum published annually at Maynooth
  • Journal of the American Historical Society vol 31…Irish Colonists in British West Indies by Purcell

Further developments on Chapter 10

Aim: To seek a method for researching the Anglin migration journey pre-1800


In the research report a general understanding developed that the O’hAnglainn surname, in one of its anglicised forms, had over spilled from county Cork into surrounding Munster counties and then over the years a Diaspora occurred into England and into the English new World and to a lesser extent into continental Europe and into the French / Iberian colonies.

Little success was achieved in unearthing the actual journey of these early emigrants due to the absence of passenger lists; so the approach had to be refined. A new approach could be to firstly become aware of the ‘shipping corridors’ migrants used in those days and then search for Anglins along appropriate corridors.

Secondary Aim: To identify the shipping corridors of Anglin migration pre-1800

Essential background Information for such a search

  1. Pre-1800 trade in all its forms was carried out in small ships and these small ships were capable of sailing from small ports.
  2. People living in port areas of the south coast of Ireland could be the migrants.
  3. Anglins were residing in the hinterland of these ports namely Cork/Cobh, Waterford, Dungarvan, Youghel, Wexford, Kinsale, Leap/Glandore/Skibereen, and Clonakilty/ Bandon pre-1800.
  4. The migrants could have been economic migrants, merchants, mariners, soldiers, ‘conscripted people / forced labour’, plantation owners, students, religious people.
  5. Migrants went to English ports, particularly those in the West country e.g. Bristol.
  6. Migrants went to continental ports like Ostend, La Coruna, Gibralter, Cadiz etc.
  7. There is evidence of Anglins in Bristol, Gibraltar, Madeira in the early years.
  8. Direct migration to the New world is historically later than migration to England and Europe.

The Migrants journey to the New World

Ships from ports in the English West Country e.g. Bristol called to Irish South coast ports on the their way to Newfoundland. On this route “The recruitment of male servants went hand in hand with the collecting of supplies each spring. Passengers were considered another commodity similar to salt meat and butter, adding to the profits of the transatlantic voyage”. This shipping corridor via Ireland was also used in the English colonisation of the Americas and West Indies. So there is real possibility that individual Anglins who previously emigrated and were now living in the English West country e.g Bristol or Bridgewater area or in Ireland in places like Waterford, Wexford, Cork city, Kinsale Leap area etc could have migrated along these corridors.

Such a thought pattern is reasonable as we know:

  • Bristol Anglin was from Cork City
  • An early Anglin from the Waterford area went to Newfoundland
  • There is a Cork Anglin in Gibraltar and at a later date a Wexford Anglin died on a ship travelling from Bristol to Alexandria and again a Belfast Anglin (Belfast is a northern Irish port) who went to America.

The movement of Anglins to the Spanish New World, however, would have been a two stage process i.e. they would have settled on the continent for a time and then their movement to the new world could have occurred.

The Anglin Diaspora pre-1800

In the New World they are present in Virginia, Maryland Carolinas and probably Newfoundland, Jamaica and England pre-1800.

In Continental Europe, Anglins are present at least in Spain, Gibraltar, Belgium and Madeira.

A local study is necessary for Anglins in each port area along each of the shipping corridors. To commence this an effort is currently ongoing on the Bristol, Waterford St. John’s Newfoundland corridor by seeking out firstly the presence of individual Anglins and secondly by seeking for signs of their migration. But that is just one shipping corridor.