The definition of sept is roughly - a clan having a common ancestor.
How did the Boylans get where they are? Let us go way back to celtic times in the heart of Europe:
The Celts that invaded and settled Ireland originated near what is modern day Austria. Various branches arose and set off to conquer the known world. The area of the Czech Republic that was formerly known as Bohemia was named after its master, the Celtic Chieftain Bohemus. The Galatians of biblical fame that settled in Turkey were also a Celtic tribe. The Pritani Celts that settled in France and Belgium would eventually spread to the British Isles. These people were known by the Romans as Pritans, which would eventually evolve into Britains. Thus we get the names Great Britain and the Brittany province of France.
After a Celtic invasion in approximately 600 B.C. the Romans referred to the northwest part of the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain) as Celtiberia. This tribe were the Gaels. In approximatley 500 B.C. the Gaels split their tribe, with the sons of the Spanisch King Mileses (along with their mother, Scota) being chosen as the force that would settle the island known to the Romans as Hibernia, and to the locals known as Eriu. The local tribes they encountered were probably also of Celtic descent, most likely Pritani. They were known as the Fomorians, Firbolg and Tuatha de Danaan. The Gaels met little resistance, and the sons of Mil split the Island into four sections, one for Heremon, one for Heber, and one each for the families of their brothers that died in the invasion, Ith and Ir.
Eriu would eventually evolve into the Gaelic Eire, and the unlucky Ir had his name forever linked to the island he never set foot on, Ireland. The Romans referred to the Gaels of Ireland as the Scotus (after their matriarch Scota), and when the Gael tribe known as the Dalriada invaded and took control of Alba, they gave their name to the new country, Scotland.
Click here for a link to more than 700 years of Boylan history. Now - like in the movie 2001 - we skip a couple of centuries:
The Dublin National Library has a good genealogy section. There is a very knowledgeable and helpful "consultant Genealogist" who offered an unbiased opinion about the following points.
Christopher Thomas Boyland points out that the oldest known reference to the name is in the Topographical Poem published in Irish Families by Edward MacLysaght, Crown Publishing, page 57, praising Boylans on their horsemanship, commenting on their blue eyes and calling them The bold kings of Dartrey. The Webmaster is very interested to learn more of this reference or of info from the sources OHart, OBrien, the four masters or Woulfe. Please use the feedback button if you have more on these records. Some of them supposedly state that we are descended from the King Colla da Crioch (357 AD, exiled to Scotland) of the Heremon Line (King Milesius of Spain, 500 BC). Penders Census of Ireland lists six Boylans (surnames only) in the Barony of Carberry in 1659.
Historically, the name Boylan is a name from the medieval kingdom of Oriel in the North Midlands of Ireland, roughly including the current counties Fermanagh (oldest reference to the name Boylan), Monaghan and Louth to the north and Cavan and Meath slightly to the south. Most of this land (except Louth and Meath) is now part of Ulster. The region of Ulster was one of the last celtic strongholds until about 1600, so we may assume the celtic bloodline described above. There is a theory that not all Boylans descended from a common ancestor. See the Boylan DNA project.
Dartraighe Kingdom (later Dartrey Barony) according to Wikipedia:
The location was once part of the wider region of Dartrey (Dartraighe, Dartraige Coininnsi, Dairtre, Dartree, Dartry) Kingdom which stretched north to Clones, belonging to the McMahons and O'Boylans. The name is derived from the Dartraige, the calf people who were an early Irish tribe that dwelt in and around the area of north Roscommon, east Sligo, west Leitrim and southern Monaghan. It was a sub-kingdom of the larger federated Kingdom of Airghialla, which at one stage stretched from Lough Neagh to Lough Erne, but mainly covered what is now County Monaghan and County Louth. The status of the king (and queen) of Airghialla was such that they sat beside the High King at Tara at great gatherings, and his sword was allowed to touch the High Kings hand - a sign of trust.
The first record of the name Ó Baoighealláin is in Co. Fermanagh. The first person of the name OBaoigheallian who was mentioned in the Annals lived 1000 years ago. (If you know the source of this statement, please send it here.) Boylans are said to have been related to the OFlanagans and constituted a sept in what is now Dartrey Barony, Monaghan. The 1998 HarperCollins Map (London) of Irish family names locates our traditional family stronghold in the Parish of Currin, (the town of Drum and the village of Scotshouse) on the southwest border of Monaghan.
Lewis's Topographical Directory of Ireland, 1837 states: The land is chiefly arable; there are about 200 acres of woodland, but little bog, and fuel is very scarce. There are several lakes in the parish, of which those contiguous to Drum, and to the Hilton demesne, are the most extensive. In addition to agricultural labour, the chief occupation of the inhabitants is the linen manufacture.
Boylans were influential from County Fermanagh to County Louth, before being subdued (= whacked!) during a disasterous feud with the MacMahon clan.
Here is the family legend according to Jim Boylan (ex Scotshouse):
The Boylans were rulers of Oriel until beaten by the McMahons but remained kings of Dartree for several centuries until our lands were taken by Cromwell in the 1600s because we refused to convert to Protestantism & swear allegiance to the English monarch.
The protestant influence only came to Ulster after Cromwells invasion in 1640, so the Oriel Boylans must have been originally catholic. Some moved south to remain so. Others remained in Ulster or moved to Suffolk, England about 1300+ AD and have been protestant for centuries. In Suffolk the Boylans were known as Bold Kings of Dartrey. Some moved to Scotland for work. A large protestant branch of the family lives in the northern midwest USA. See James and Aaron. See Religion
Emigration to the USA. Pittsburg, PA, New Brunswick, NJ, Raleigh, NC seem to have been preferred by the Boylan settlers and a midwest bunch went out to Iowa and Idaho. Are there more Boylans in the US now then are left in Ireland?