Select Fallon Surname Genealogy

The Irish surname Fallon or O‘Fallon derived from the Gaelic clan name O’Fallanhain, meaning “governor” or “supremacy.”  Some have maintained that Fallon was originally pronounced with a long “a” as in “fall."

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Select Fallon Ancestry

Ireland.  Early O’Fallon clan history dates back to the 12th century and their affiliation with the larger O’Connor clan in Connacht.  They were initially to be found in county Westmeath before being driven across the Shannon river into Roscommon.  John O’Dugan, the 14th century bardic poet, recorded them as the chiefs of clan Uadach.

Roscommon.  Their family seat was at Milltown in Dysart parish where the ruins of the ancestral castle can still be seen.  The castle was in place in 1425 and remained a functioning castle until the early 1600’s.  The last known clan chief there was Redmond O’Fallon, although Edmond O’Fallon was also mentioned at that time as a burgess or prosperous merchant of Milltown.

The O’Fallons did remain substantial landowners in the area until well into the 19th century.  A branch of the family lived at Ballina and Cloonagh in nearby Taghboy parish.  Their numbers in the 18th century included the Rev. James O’Fallon, the Bishop of Elphin, and Malachy Fallon who had a reputation for dueling.

Galway.  Fallons were also in Galway.  Anthony Fallon was a Catholic in Galway Town who had his property confiscated in 1657.  Later a line of Roscommon Fallons moved into eastern Galway.  Edmund Fallon was granted land in the neighborhood of Ballinasloe in the 1670’s.  His family made their home at Runnamoat.  They came into possession of Netterville Lodge through marriage in 1865. 

.  Two Irish-born Fallons made their mark on 19th century America as it expanded from its original eastern borders:
  • the first was Dr. James O’Fallon, a surgeon during the Revolutionary War, together with his sons John and Benjamin.  
  • and the second was Thomas Fallon who had immigrated with his parents to Canada in the 1830’s.
James O’Fallon made his home in Louisville, Kentucky after the war.  His elder son John moved to St. Louis where he was an army contractor and became, it was said, the wealthiest man in St. Louis.  The younger son Benjamin made his name as an Indian agent, working with tribes along the Upper Missouri river.  Fallon county in Montana was named after him.

Thomas Fallon was one of the early adventurers of the American West, first in Texas and then in California.  Raising a small group of volunteers, he crossed the Santa Cruz mountains in 1846 and captured the town of San Jose.  The Fallon House, built there in 1855, stands as a museum today.  The Fallon Building in San Francisco, completed in 1894 and surviving the earthquake, had been commissioned by his wife Carmel Fallon.

The peak years for Fallon immigration came around the 1850’s.  Celia Fallon came to New York with her seven children in 1847 from Roscommon after her husband had died.  They eventually settled in Minnesota.  Their story was recounted in Cecil Fallon’s 1968 book The Fallon Family Tree.

Others who came about that time were:
  • James Fallon from Roscommon who came to Boston in 1849 and, four years later, made the voyage via Panama to San Francisco.  He settled at a ranch in Marin county.
  • John James Fallon, also from Roscommon, who came in 1852 and made his home in Hoboken, New Jersey.  He fought in the Civil War with the Irish Rifles.
  • and Thomas Fallon from Galway who came in the early 1870’s and eventually made his home in Brooklyn.  A descendant here is the talk show host Jimmy Fallon.
England.  Many Fallons made their way to England in the 19th century, with Liverpool being often the entry point. One family from Sligo lived a gypsy life in horse-drawn caravans in the north of England.

“The gypsy community still talk of Elizabeth Fallon, known as “Lady Pink,” who decked her caravan in pink silks and was renowned as a fortune-teller and wise woman.”

Martin Fallon
, a surgeon, moved from Dublin to Scotland after World War Two.  His son is the UK Cabinet minister Michael Fallon.

  Dominic Fallon had immigrated to Kingston, Ontario from county Leitrim in the 1850’s.  His oldest son Michael was the Catholic Bishop of London, Ontario from 1909 until his death in 1931.  He was known for his passionate support for the British Empire.

Another Irish arrival was Luke Fallon from Westmeath who served in the British army and then came to Newfoundland in 1849.  He was appointed the Head Constable at Harbour Grace in 1861.  Later Fallons of this family were to be found in New Brunswick and in New England.

Select Fallon Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Fallon Names

Padraic Fallon was a 20th century Irish poet and playwright from Athenry in county Galway.
Kieren Fallon
from county Clare has been British champion jockey six times.  He is widely considered the greatest flat jockey of his generation and perhaps one of the greatest ever.
Jimmy Fallon
is an American late-night talk show host who heads up NBC’s Tonight show.

Select Fallons Today
  • 5,000 in the UK (most numerous in West Midlands)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in New York) 
  • 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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