history and origin
The Allen and Allan surname derives from aluinn, meaning fair or handsome. It also derives from the Gaelic and Breton personal name of the pre-Christian era Ailin which loosely translates as Little rock, although it may also mean harmony.
The Allan surname spelled with an "a" is generally considered to be associated with Scottish clans, including Clan Donald, Clan Grant, Clan MacFarlane and Clan MacKay. Spelled with an "e," however, the Allen surname is generally considered to be English in origin. However, a variety of names from a variety of regions might be anglicised as either Allen or Allan, so the name spelling may not point to your family's origin.
English and Scottish: from a Celtic personal name of great antiquity and obscurity. In England the personal name is now usually spelled Alan, the surname Allen; in Scotland the surname is more often Allan. Various suggestions have been put forward regarding its origin; the most plausible is that it originally meant ‘little rock'. Compare Gaelic ailín, diminutive of ail ‘rock'. The present-day frequency of the surname Allen in England and Ireland is partly accounted for by the popularity of the personal name among Breton followers of William the Conqueror, by whom it was imported first to Britain and then to Ireland. St. Alan(us) was a 5th-century bishop of Quimper, who was a cult figure in medieval Brittany. Another St. Al(l)an was a Cornish or Breton saint of the 6th century, to whom a church in Cornwall is dedicated.
other versions of this surname
other possible versions of this surname
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/aa/allen01.php (Stirnet: Allen01; membership required to view without interruption)
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/aa/allen02.php (Stirnet: Allen02; membership required to view without interruption)
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/aa/allen03.php (Stirnet: Allen03; membership required to view without interruption)
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/aa/allen04.php (Stirnet: Allen04; membership required to view without interruption)
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/aa/allen05.php (Stirnet: Allen05; membership required to view without interruption)