A very large percentage of people named Cullen all over the world go back to Cullens from Ireland. But we know there are native English and Scottish families as well. The situation is confused because many Irish Cullens emigrated to England and Scotland over the last 200 years, and some Cullen descendants may not know where their family was originally from.
To investigate this, I searched the 1841 and 1881 Scotland censuses trying to identify established Cullen families. I defined these as households where the male head of the family was born in the same county and parish where he resided at the time of the census. I chose the 1881 census because the National Trust Names website provides a map of the surname for that year, click here
Here are some of my findings:
--because the industrial revolution was strong in Scotland, many people had moved away from their birthplaces even in 1841
--In 1841 there were some Irish Cullen families mainly in the Glasgow area, but by 1881 the number of Irish-background Cullens in Scotland was roughly equal to the number of Scottish-background Cullens
--There is only one name occurring in any quantity that is similar to Cullen and which could possibly be confused with Cullen--Collin and Collins. All other variants and spellings (Collen, Cullin, Cullins, McCullen, Collinge, Cullane and many others) were very rare in Scotland in 1881.
--there are only 3 general areas where I found long established Cullen families:
1. The first area is up the Clyde valley from Glasgow (Lanarkshire). By far the largest number was in the area called the Monklands, including the towns of Airdrie and Coatbridge. Although this area was industrialized, Cullens had a variety of occupations including farming, many trades, merchanting, indicating a long presence.
There also were a small number of farming Cullen families in south Lanarkshire, near the towns of Carstairs and Carluke
Glasgow itself had several established Cullen families, although not as many established families as the Monklands.
2. The second area has just a few Cullen families. This is Aberdeenshire in the northeast. There were a couple Cullen farmers in Strathdon which is is in the highlands west of Aberdeen, and also in Keig about halfway to Strathdon. Then there were 5 Cullen families living in the Buchan region a few miles inland from Peterhead, in the towns/parishes of Longside, New Deer, Old Deer.
3. In 1841 there were a very few established Cullen families in the Central Belt in what was then called Stirlingshire and Perthshire, roughly around Falkirk and Sterling (specifically Falkirk, Deanston, Drip Moss and Doune). By 1881 the native Cullen presence was much reduced and less connected to the land.
That's it! In 1881 in all of Scotland I could only identify 75ish families where the Cullen male head of household was still living in the same civil parish where he was born. For comparison, there were 79 heads of household (male and female) named Cullen who were born in Ireland.
Of course there were many more Scottish origin Cullen families in addition to these75. You can tell by their birthplace that they were born in Scotland, and they often had Scottish given names (Alexander, Adam, Archibald Gavin etc.) But they were not living in their home parish.
Maybe I have omitted some important families? Please reply with any additions or corrections.
Here's a summary of the 75 families in 1881 and their location:
Aberdeenshire (7)--5 in Buchan (Longside, New Deer, Old Deer), 2 in Strathdon
Dumbartonshire (2)--from Cardross--one physician, one farmer
Lanarkshire (53)--Monklands--Coatbridge and Airdrie(20+), Glasgow(16+), Bothwell(4+), Motherwell(Dalziel) 5+, Carluke (4), Carstairs(2), and possibly some long-term families from Hamilton, Partick, Rutherglen and Stonehouse
Perthshire (3)--Dunblaine, Kilmadock, Kincardine--1 farmer, 1 grocer, 1 laborer
Renfrewshire (4)--Greenock West, Paisley(2), Pollockshows: all tradesmen
Stirlingshire (4)--Labert, Bannockburn(2), Falkirk: 3 laborers or servants, 1 tradesman