The Surname 'Anglin'

Chapter 16

Links between the countries of the Iberian Peninsula and the Anglin Story

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The Aim of this Chapter is:

  1. Simply to begin to examine the relationship of Iberia and the Anglins

Introductory comments

In view of the quite massive inter-country movement of individuals in the second half of the 20th Century and now into the 21st Century and a movement in which Anglins, whatever the spellings of their surname are involved, it behoves me to add something further on the much earlier historical movement of the surname Anglin to the European mainland in the 16th to 18th Centuries and to their colonies in South and North America. To grasp the Anglin Story correctly these two movements must not be confused.

Some Historic European Connections and Background

The links of Gaelic Irish to the Celtic/Gaelic area of Northern Spain goes back beyond a thousand years; historically some suggest they may be of the same race. In the period of 1500 to 1800 these links which formerly had been traditional and trade related grew into something much more serious due to political, military and religious factors involving Spain, France, Flanders, England and Ireland. The political and military relationships between Spain and England in the 16th and the 17th Centuries were fraught and Ireland was at the centre of those difficult times. In this period thousands of Irish went to Spain, some as military personnel, some as merchants, some for educational reasons, some temporarily some to become permanent residents and among these were Anglins.

This migration of the 16th-18th Centuries has been discussed in the main body of the report. The article ‘Irish émigré group strategies of survival, adaptation and integration in 17th and 18th Century Spain’ by a Spanish author, Oscar Recio Morales, is available on the Internet. While only dealing with some issues it is very helpful (cf. below for Web site.)

At the same time as this movement of Irish people to the Iberian Peninsula was taking place the Iberian Countries of Spain and Portugal were establishing colonies particularly in Central and the South Americas, indeed there was a period when Texas and Florida in the USA were Spanish. It is possible the O’hAngluinn / Anglin surname could have entered those colonies in those days.


In the Telephone directories of Barcelona in Spain and of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and also in information available in the USA, I argue that there is evidence of the presence of O’hAngluinn / Anglin surname. The spelling in those telephone directories is Hanglin. This is one of the spellings of the Gaeilge O’hAngluinn found in the Elizabethan Fiants of the 16th Century. (This data is presented in Chapter 2 of this Report.) From the Spanish ambience of the first names of these individuals, they must have been there for generations.

Incidentally the surname is also present in Lisbon Directories, but in this case the spelling is Anglin.

In the Web site of familysearch.org there is a group of Anglins associated with Portuguese Colonies of Madeira and the Azores. I refer to these as ‘Hickling Anglins’. This line traces their origin to County Cork in the late 18th Century. Their links seem to be though England rather than through the Iberian migrations.

The Surname Angli in Modern Spain

This is quite a specific issue and needs extensive research.

Firstly the known facts:

  1. There are today in Barcelona many Spanish people with the surname Angli as their first or second Surname.
  2. In Gaelic Ireland there were two surnames O’hAngluinn and h’Angli that may be relevant to the Spanish/ Portuguese Anglin story. In the main body of the study I made clear the Anglicised surname Anglin came from O’hAngluinn and also, based on the work of scholars, I rejected the possibility of the surname Anglin evolving from h’Angli. cf. Chapter 2.
  3. This ancient Gaelic Surname O’hAngli is present in MacFirbis Genealogies and seems to be related to County Cork.
  4. The current research work of scholars on the migration of Irish people to Spain in the 16th and 17th Centuries identifies an Irishman named William Angli, that is the spelling in the official Spanish documents of the time. He was a soldier present in Flanders and Spain and pensioned in 1657. Yet this person’s surname is spelt Anglin in the work of Irish Scholars today cf. the spelling given in the National Library Exhibition in Dublin in 2008. In other words these historians interpret Angli as the Spanish spelling of the Irish surname Anglin.

Research required

It is now necessary to trace the historical origin of these Angli’s of Barcelona. This is research work for another person. Such research should be possible through official church documents of birth marriage and death, and also through examination of Spanish official documents of that period. Unlike Ireland there are Church and civil records of the people at that time.

Why is this Angli surname in Barcelona an issue?

It is my view these Barcelona Angli’s have originally an Irish origin and if my view is correct then these Spanish Angli’s are part of the Anglin story. The dropping of the ‘n’ being due merely to a quirk of Spanish linguistics. Besides historical research, DNA studies may be of benefit here too.

Argentina plus Old Spanish colonies

Now moving to Argentina, a one-time colony of Spain, there are a number of persons with the surname Hanglin in Argentina. Judging from first names of some of these Hanglins of Spanish origin now in the USA they must have entered the English speaking new world via Spain. These too merit further examination.


It can be expected that two forms of the surname Anglin will be present in Spain’s old colonies, one derived from the Gaelic form O’hAngluinn giving us Hanglin and the other derived from the Anglicised/ Spanish form of the surname Anglin giving us Angli.

Migration of either of these spellings can have brought the surname via this Spanish journey to the USA. This is quite a different journey than that that through the Irish English story.

It seems DNA profiling of these two groups would be valuable.

Caveat: There are recently arrived Anglins in Modern Spain whose origin lies more recently in Ireland and are not descended from earlier migrant Irish Angli(n)’s to Spain, these new arrivals to Spain spell their surname Anglin.

I wish to express thanks to my nephew Brendan Anglin for his assistance with this supplement.

Some Introductory References


  • ‘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
  • Barcelona Telephone Directories


Further developments on Chapter 16

An examination of the Web site www.familysearch.org indicates the presence of the Anglin surname in Hanglin form in England and the US, but also in Gibraltar, Chile and Spain in the 1800’s.

The same Web site shows the surname in the Angli form present in the 1700’s and 1800’s in Spain, Argentina and Mexico. Again, countries related to Spain.