Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Distribution of Cullens in Scotland

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 Great Britain Family 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 only a few Irish-origin 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 these 75. 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

(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


Anonymous said...

After reading this post, I was interested in investigating the Cullen distribution in the US. Using trajectory.com, I found that most of the American Cullens are in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York...strange (almost random?) distribution. Here's what I found:



Bernie said...

Thanks for the hint about trajectory,com I didn't know about that site and it looks very useful.

About the "random" distribution of Cullens--most Cullens probably came to this country before 1900 so they've had a lot of time to spread out. Many of the Irish immigrants came to cities and so weren't tied to the land as more rural surnames might be.

Still your results were interesting. Here's a couple obervations:
--Cullen is used as a first name, especially in the south
--there were a couple famous Cullen people in Texas: Ezekiel Cullen and his grandson I believe, the oilman Hugh Roy Cullen. There are many streets and schools named after the two of them, especially in Houston, and I think the search is picking up many of these.

I just did a quick search in the 1930 census and heres what I found (only looked at these 5 states):
Cullen US total 12,127
NY 2,575
MA 1,256
IL 912
TX 202
FL 53

What is your connection to the Cullen family Sandy? You can email me directly if you like.

neil said...

my name's cullen. i live in glasgow, shawlands to be exact. it seems the name is much more common in america than it is in scotland strangely.

Bernie said...

Hi Neil,

Just got a email saying you had posted...
Do you know if your Cullens were Scottish or English or Irish?
I think probably more than half of the Cullens in Scotland could trace their Cullen line back to Ireland.

Anonymous said...

I am searching to see if my grandmother, Annie Cullen, formerly of Motherwell, Scotland, can be traced back to Irish roots.

She came to Canada around 1912(?), married a Robertson and had three children, Jack (John?), Bette and Margaret and lived in Toronto.

Annie came from a big family. Among them, I remember siblings William, Robert, Archibald, Gertrude, Cissie, Margaret and Jennifer.

I am sorry to know so little. The possibility of an Irish connection has implications for me in that I might be eligible to immigrate or at least work in Ireland if I can prove a direct ancestor. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Bernie said...

Hello limcintyre,

From what you write I would guess that Annie Cullen had long-term roots in Scotland. She was from Motherwell, which is one of the places I list with established Scottish Cullen families in the 1881 census. Archibald certainly sounds like a Scottish name to me. Do you know the religious affiliation of this family? In Ireland, Protestant Cullens were quite uncommon, and I would expect emigrants from Ireland to Scotland would not change their affiliation quickly.

It's certainly possible that Annie had an Irish father and a Scottish mother or vice versa. You should be able to find this family in the 1901 census, which is available online for a fee at ancestry.com and probably other places.

Do you know how old Annie was in 1912? Do you know where she was born?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bernie,

So good of you to respond. I have just plugged mother for details (I was wrong about 1912).

Annie was born Mar.15, 1890 (possibly in Motherwell) and died Aug.4, 1978. Her father, we believe, was Archibald Cullen.

I think Annie told me was 12 yrs. old when she came to Canada (1902, it seems). She then married Anthony Latimer Robertson (born Jan. 14, 1889, died Sept.27, 1954), possibly in Halifax, Canada.

Not church-goers, my family, but not Catholic... United Church? I take your point that they were likely Scottish in origin, then, as Catholicism tends to stick.

That's all I've got back from family so far. Anything more you might offer is doubly appreciated. I will do some more searching this evening.

All the best,

SAM (Steve Anthony McIntyre)

mags said...

Archibald cullen was the son of daniel cullen he was born carshoogle dalziel they then lived in craignook, which is near motherwell.
regards margaret I am decended from them as well.

James Cullen said...

If anyone is still monitoring this thread...my dad James Kelso Cullen was born in Renton, Scotland in 1923 (?). His mother was Margaret and his father was Martin Newberry Cullen...He was a steamship engineer and moved his family to Brooklyn, NY and then to New Jersey. I am visiting Scotland this week and curious to learn more about my family's history. Any info would be most appreciated. Much thanks, James Cullen jkc96@aol.com

Bernie Cullen said...

Hi James, unfortunately I don't know much about Cullens in Scotland but if you find anything out please let us know, we can post some of your discoveries here if you want. Have you seen this query page: http://members.bex.net/jtcullen515/PostScot.htm

Have a great visit, and if you would consider doing a DNA test for genealogy please let me know, it sounds like your Cullens may have been Scottish originally (instead of 19th century immigrants from Ireland).

And Mags please send me an email if you like, and if in the future people would like to contact you, I will pass their information on to you.


Anonymous said...

We have family history back to before 1000AD and our family, Cullings, is a derivative of the Cullens of Dunblane, Scotland and earlier, Ireland. There is an old family bible with several children from one family in the 1700's who all had different last names, all derivatives of and also including Cullen from Cullin to Culling, to Cullings. Makes tracking all that much harder.

Bernie Cullen said...

Hello everybody,

This blog is still active and if anyone has stories or questions to share please post them and/or contact me at berniecullen@gmail.com If there are any Cullen men reading this, I strongly suggest that you take a Y-DNA marker test as a first step--you can order a 12 marker test for $40 approximately which is a good start.

Steve Cullen, please send me an email if you like. And Steve McIntyre, I heard from Margaret a few days ago, she is also descended from Archibald Cullen of Motherwell, please contact me and I will put the two of you in touch.

I realize that many people don't want to create an account or post their email address here, so please contact me and I can keep your email address private and share it according to your wishes--Bernie

Anonymous said...

I was interested to read that the Monklands held a great concentration of Cullen families. Does anyone know of the Cullen who owned a tailor's business? He lived in the Coatdyke area and was wealthy enough to have his own horse and trap. The horse (I think its name was Dickie) was well known in the area and when it died, one of its hooves was (bizarrely) donated to a local museum.

Kriswcullen@yahoo.com said...

Hello my name is Kris cullen of the Pennsylvania cullens my grandfathers name was Milton cullen (great name ain't it) my grandmother all ways told me if you meet cullens if thay are protestant you're likely related although thare are many cullens in the area i have never met any protestants it is rare in the states. Where did the name first appear?

Bernie Cullen said...

Hello Kris thank you for the note, I think your grandmother was on to something. In general, English and Scotch-Irish families came to America in the 1600s and 1700s, at first there were very few Cullens in America but they quickly had big families and settled the frontier. And these early families were almost all Protestant. So it might be true that any two Protestant Cullens in Pennsylvania or the surrounding areas have a good chance of being related. Lots of unrelated Irish Cullens came to America in the 1820-1920 period, these were almost all Catholic, and even though some of them had big families they haven't had as many generations in this country. There are several of these early American Cullen families in the DNA project and it would be very interesting for a male Cullen from your family to do a 12 marker test (or more markers) and see if you match anyone.

Bernie Cullen said...

And thanks also anonymous from the great story about the tailor's horse!

kohukiwi said...

Just found this site, my cullens are from glasgow, can take them back to peter cullen c1816 and wife jane hunter c1816. Their son robert bn 1857 my 2x gt grandfather. However, I can not find out anything about Peter and Jane, any help would be appreciated/

Anonymous said...

Just trying to find any information on the Cullen's from Glasgow.
My great grandmother was Elizabeth Wylie Cullen and was born in 1893 to Robert Cullen and we believe Jane (jeanie) Woods. She passed early 1900's and my great grandmother moved to Canada and then the US. Any information would be helpful! We believe her siblings to be Robert, Caroline(a) and William.

Thank you.