The Surname 'Anglin'

Chapter 5

Could there be other sources for the Anglin surname?

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The Aims of this Chapter are:

  1. To explore other possible sources for the Anglin Surname by examining various hypotheses
  2. To explore possibilities both in Ireland and abroad


The possibility of a separate source for the Anglin name other than the one presented so far in this study has been raised. This possibility has been given some legitimacy by the Anglin DNA project findings that there are at least three separate (unrelated?) groups of Anglins. It is incumbent upon this study to answer the question ‘Could there be other sources for the Anglin surname’.

This research project to date has been directed to the identification of the source for the O’hAngluinn / Anglin surname. I am quite satisfied the evidence clearly points to an origin in Cork probably West Cork, the name having descended from an individual who had been ‘named’ ‘anglonn’ by his peers and whose descendants had become known as O’hAngluinns. That aspect of the research is true, how then explain the different Anglin DNA profiles as the DNA results demand the possibility of more than a single source for the surname be explored. The hypotheses are now examined.

Other Irish sources for the surname Anglin? Some hypotheses


It is conceivable some ancestors of present day Anglin lines adopted the surname or were adopted into Anglin families. While accepting that as a possibility, and it may be true in some lines, I prefer to seek other solutions to the current dilemma.

More than one anglonn

Focusing on the information currently available on the geographic spread of the surname Anglin in County of Cork, one can raise the possibility of other ‘anglonns’ ‘champions’ from different clans/septs in county Cork, resulting in different DNA profiles being passed on.

Such an hypothesis is argued thus. The O'hAngluinn surname is not a clan/sept/race name, but is derived from an individual declared to be an anglonn. County Cork had more than one sept/race, which in the early days were territorial. All were Gaeilige speaking. If an individual in the West area of County Cork because of some special achievement had been ‘named’ anglonn (hero) in the sept, then the possibility of his progeny being called O'hAngluinns, sons of the Anglonn exists. However if this is conceded for one Cork sept, then it could also have occurred in another county Cork sept. In such circumstance the two ‘anglonns’ would have different DNA profiles and so would their respective descendants. So the possibility of more than one source of O’hAngluinns in County Cork is more than possible. Of course this would have to have occurred pre the Anglicisation of the name, even pre the introduction of surnames c.950 a.d.

This hypothesis therefore can be a genuine solution. To test it’s validity, DNA testing of Anglins from the different geographic areas is necessary.

The surname h’Angli was transformed into Anglin on Anglicisation

The name O’ h Angli is in manuscripts of earlier centuries with variations in spelling. Mac Firbis’s in his ‘Book of Genealogies’ states (reference 1360.4) one of the hereditary vassals was O’hAingle; and repeats the name in another Genealogy number 677.1. The name occurs in a different form ‘Ua Angli’ at 1057.3 and 204.10 ‘Doire Ui Aingle’. The two surnames O’hAngluinn and O’hAngli, are in old Irish documents. The question is:

Could the two have evolved into one name Gaelic name O’hAngluinn?

Having consulted O’Donovan’s ‘Miscellany of Celtic Society’, and others, it is clear this name Aingle did not transform into O’hAngluinn, but is later seen as a different name possibly even Mac Aingle. So this is not a solution.

A similar name occurs as Bishop of Dublin in the Annals of Ulster for the year 1121, Samuel h’Angli. In the Annals of Inisfallen there is a reference to a Donngus ua h’Aingliu bishop of Ath Cliath reference 1095.13. Though such a link to O’hAngluinn could be considered it is a remote possibility, indeed even the date may suggest this person could be Danish or Norman.

It seems sensible to reject ‘Aingle’ as a second Irish source. I reject this hypothesis.

A second source, external To Ireland, for the Anglin surname

Having looked at the possibility of a second source for the surname Anglin within Ireland, it is legitimate to ask, could there be another source outside of Ireland. Dr. Smith whose work has been referred to earlier makes clear surnames can have more than one source. He gives the name ‘Smith’ as an example. There is the name Smith that has entered Ireland from England, but there are other Smiths whose origin is Celtic. What are the possibilities?

Could there be a French Connection to the name Anglin?

There is a suggestion of a French origin flowing from the ‘story’ within the Adrian Anglin line.

The evidence presented to date in support of a possible French origin is:

  • The presence of a river called Anglin in the south west of France. To move from that fact to say the family name Anglin originates in France is quite a jump, too large in my view.
  • There is a Saint Anglin who lived in France over twelve hundred years ago, again such evidence on its own is too flimsy, plus surnames did not exist in those days.
  • Another possibility raised: the French name Angelin and Anglin may be the same. I have seen a plaque to the dead of WW1 in Tournas Cathedral in France listing a Francois Angelin, and I have heard of a General Angelin in the first war in Verdun. I have seen isolated examples of the surname Angelin in old English records and this name Angelin is present in other European countries. But there is no evidence that links the two names.
  • Then there is the suggestion ‘The Anglins were Huguenots who came to Ireland in their time of trouble and they are the source of the Protestant Anglins of Ireland and abroad’. This statement is presented without any shred of evidence to support it. For those interested; there were Huguenots who did come to the Cork area of Ireland in those days, their story and the story of the English Huguenots and their surnames is available in many places, including the internet. I have searched Huguenots history regarding their entry into Ireland and England and failed to unearth any names remotely similar to Anglin. But to suggest by implication the Protestant line of Irish Anglins could not have an Irish origin is not acceptable. Quite a number of Irish people changed their religious lanes in the 17th and 18th centuries in Ireland. In fact in the book ‘The Convert Rolls’ edited by O’Brien there is the example of Margaret Anglin who changed lanes.

A simple argument against Adrian being of French origin is apparent from an examination of his children’s names, Ann, Mary and Elizabeth. These names do not seem appropriate for a French family of that period. It is of note these three names were among the most common women’s names of the 1659 census in South West Cork. This seems to indicate a link to Cork rather than France.

Much more substantial evidence would be required to put forward France as a possible second source for the name Anglin, The evidence recorded above is insufficient to support a French source for the ‘Anglin’ surname.

However, the family tradition of the DNA Group 3 is a different matter altogether.

There is the evidence from a family tradition of a French connection passed down through the Group 3 family story and present in Evelyn William’s book ‘In search of the Anglins’, and recently supported by the discovery in the Patriarch Adrian’s will of his possession of many French Books. To me the information passed down must be taken seriously and an effort made to identify the nature of this French link if any.

Carrying out groundwork to find such a French link to the Anglins is seriously attempted in chapter 10.

Could England be a second source for the Anglin name?

Historically, for better or worse, people have been passing between Ireland and England since the time of Patrick and Columcille, 5th and 6th centuries and before. In the Irish/English context, trade and shipping routes existed for generations between the Bristol area ports and those on the south coast of Ireland particularly the County Cork coastline. This ancient trade increased with the colonisation of the Americas, as these Irish ports were the last point for supplies prior an Atlantic crossing.

From National Archives, military records in Kew London, censi etc it is clear there have been Anglins in England for generations. But where did they originate? Valerie Anglin did quite a bit of research some years ago on Anglins in the Bristol area and even into old London records and her evidence points to an origin in Ireland, in one case to an origin in Cork in 1786. This same Irish origin is also evident in the records of the earliest Anglins I could trace in the English military/naval records.

On brief research into the Anglins who went to Jamaica in charge of Plantations, the evidence would suggest they were Protestant and had come from England, but there is no evidence of their pre history in England, if any. Also this period is the 18th century, and by that time there were Irish Anglins in England.

The Surname England or English as a Source for the name Anglin?

The surname ‘England or English’ as a source for the surname Anglin was considered by the Irish Scholars in their books on Irish names and surnames and rejected. The surname England or English is a name in its own right and has been in Ireland for some time. Its source is England. And it can be translated into Gaeilige.

From current evidence the conclusion has to be, there is no adequate evidence of an English origin for the name Anglin.

A concluding note to the Chapter

No solid evidence exists for a secondary source for the Anglin surname either in or out of Ireland. But the possibility of more than one anglonn resulting in more than one line of O'hAngluinns does seem totally reasonable and requires further research. This aspect of the study again highlights the need to find and then investigate records of the Anglin Story in the period 1100 to 1490 and again in the period 1580-1740.

However DNA work based on the geographic mapping of the surname may give insight. Also research into old state or court records held in Ireland, England or France may yield further information.

Some further material examined in the research for this chapter:

  • http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline
    (This is a British Government site and is excellent)
  • ‘Irish names and surnames, by Patrick Woulfe… Introduction
  • McLysaght’s various books on Irish surnames including his Supplement
  • Anglin Family Trees / Story
  • ‘In Search of Anglins’ by Evelyn Williams (seen in part)

Further developments on Chapter 5


I referred to a Book ‘In search of Anglins’ as written by Evelyn Anglin of course it was written by Evelyn Williams R.I.P.

New Material

Reference the links of DNA group 3 to a French tradition. Karen Parker has brought to light new information indicating that Adrian Anglin had reached America using the method of ‘debentured servant’. Also there is DNA evidence now of a link of this group to Anglins whose origin has been identified as Irish.