Explore the Family Name Whelan

The meaning of Whelan

Irish (southern counties): shortened and altered Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Faoláin ‘descendant of Faolán’, a personal name based on a diminutive of faol ‘wolf’. This name is also Anglicized as Phelan and Folan or ‘translated’ as Woulfe. The Irish name also occurs in a form without initial f, namely Ó hAoláin and Ó hAoileáin, Anglicized as Heelan, and, with excrescent final -d as Hyland and Holland 6. Some characteristic forenames: Irish Brendan, Dermot, Declan, James Patrick, Niall, Cahal, Ronan, Sean Patrick.

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

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

Based on the data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Whelan saw a slight decrease between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Whelan ranked as the 2976th most popular surname in the U.S., but by 2010 it had fallen to 3181st place, marking a decline of 6.89%. Despite this drop in rank, the actual count of individuals with the Whelan surname increased by 2.12% during the same period, rising from 11,127 to 11,363. However, when measured as a proportion per 100,000 people, the prevalence of the surname Whelan fell by 6.55%, from 4.12 to 3.85.

20002010Change
Rank#2,976#3,181-6.89%
Count11,12711,3632.12%
Proportion per 100k4.123.85-6.55%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Whelan

In terms of ethnic identity, the Whelan surname has predominantly been associated with the White demographic, according to the Decennial U.S. Census data. In 2000, about 96.42% of those bearing the surname identified as White, but by 2010 this proportion had decreased slightly to 95.07%. Other ethnic identities associated with the Whelan surname have seen some increases over the decade. For example, the percentage of individuals identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander grew by 41.67%, while those identifying as Hispanic and Black saw increases of 60.53% and 21.87% respectively. The proportion of individuals with the Whelan surname who identified as belonging to two or more races also increased, moving from 1.06% to 1.22%. Meanwhile, the percentage of American Indian and Alaskan Natives remained constant at 0.20%.

20002010Change
White96.42%95.07%-1.4%
Hispanic1.52%2.44%60.53%
Two or More Races1.06%1.22%15.09%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.48%0.68%41.67%
Black0.32%0.39%21.87%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.2%0.2%0%

Whelan 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 Whelan is British & Irish, which comprises 64.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (14.0%) and Italian (5.8%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Spanish & Portuguese, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Indigenous American.

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ANCESTRY BREAKDOWNCOMPOSITION
British & Irish64.1%
French & German14.0%
Italian5.8%
Other16.1%
Whelan

Possible origins of the surname Whelan

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 Whelan have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom89.10%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom89.10%
Merseyside, United Kingdom88.80%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom88.80%
West Midlands, United Kingdom88.80%

What Whelan 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 Whelan 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-Z255, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Whalen, Mccarthy, Phelan, Fitzpatrick, Mcgowan, Maxwell, Devine, Mcnulty, Conley, Keenan.

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

whelanPaternal 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 Whelan 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.

Preferences

Whelan

Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Whelan" Surname 44.4%

23andMe Users 41.3%

Traits

Whelan

Misophonia

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

"Whelan" Surname 28.7%

23andMe Users 27.9%

Habits

Whelan

Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Whelan" Surname 17.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%

Wellness

Whelan

Migraine

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

"Whelan" Surname 14.7%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Whelan?

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 Whelan 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%