Explore the Family Name Phelan

The meaning of Phelan

Irish: 1. Anglicized form of Ó Faoláin ‘descendant of Faolán’, see Whelan. 2. Anglicized form of Ó Fialáin ‘descendant of Fialán’, a personal name representing a diminutive of fial, meaning ‘generous’ or ‘modest, honourable’. This is the surname of a bardic family in northern Ireland. Some characteristic forenames: Irish Kieran, Aine, Declan, Finbarr.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Phelan in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Phelan has slightly decreased over a decade from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, it ranked 3181, while in 2010 it fell to 3382, marking a drop by 6.32%. However, the number of instances of this surname increased modestly during the same period, with a count of 10,343 in 2000 and 10,562 in 2010, representing a growth of 2.12%. The proportion per 100,000 people also declined from 3.83 to 3.58, indicating a decrease of 6.53%.

Proportion per 100k3.833.58-6.53%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Phelan

The Decennial U.S. Census data reveals changes in the ethnic identity associated with the surname Phelan between 2000 and 2010. Those identifying as White made up the majority, albeit decreasing slightly from 94.75% to 92.98%. The Hispanic representation saw the most significant increase, rising from 1.78% to 2.87%, a change of 61.24%. Individuals identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander grew from 0.52% to 0.64%, and Black representation went from 1.12% to 1.30%, showing increases of 23.08% and 16.07% respectively. Lastly, American Indian and Alaskan Native representation witnessed a growth of 35.09%, going from 0.57% to 0.77%.

Two or More Races1.26%1.44%14.29%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.57%0.77%35.09%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.52%0.64%23.08%

Phelan ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Phelan is British & Irish, which comprises 62.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (15.7%) and Eastern European (5.4%). Additional ancestries include Italian, Scandinavian, Spanish & Portuguese, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Greek & Balkan.

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British & Irish62.0%
French & German15.7%
Eastern European5.4%

Possible origins of the surname Phelan

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Phelan have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom90.70%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom90.70%
West Midlands, United Kingdom90.30%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom90.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom90.30%

What Phelan haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Phelan is R-CTS241, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS241 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-L21 and R-L1335, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Mahon, Mccabe, Trimble, Maxwell, Mckenna, Whitney, Stebbins, Fitzpatrick, Mcnulty, Whalen.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Phelan surname are: H1, T2b, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

phelanPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Phelan have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Phelan" Surname 46.5%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Phelan" Surname 30.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Phelan" Surname 22.2%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Phelan" Surname 17.5%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Phelan?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Phelan are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%