The primary source of this surname is the Old Gaelic Irish "O'Maolmhuidh", descendant of Maolmhuadh, a personal name composed of the elements "maol", chieftain, and "muadh", noble, great. This chieftain was of distinguished lineage, being descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, 4th Century High King of Ireland, and the sept which took its name from him ruled over Fercal, a district covering several baronies of County Offaly. Many of this notable family had friendly relations with the English crown, and the name is recorded as "O'Mulmoy" in early English records.The first recorded namebearer (below) was one of the officiating prelates at the coronation of Richard 1, and the chief of the sept was appointed hereditary bearer of the English standard in Ireland, an office largely exercised within the Pale. The name "O'Maolmuidh" was initially Anglicized as "Molloy", but is now widely found as Malloy and Mulloy. Arthur Molloy married Rebecca Heiter at St Georges, Mayfair on September 3rd 1742, whilst Brian Mulloy married Mary Bennett at St Martins in the Fields, Westminster on June 4th, 1792. On October 1st 1790, Elinor Malloy was christened at Downpatrick, County Down. The christening of Claude Francois, son of Guillaume and Claude Malloy, at Ludres, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, on April 13th 1656, suggests that, in some instances, Malloy may be of French origin, and a variant of "Mal(l)o", itself coming from the medieval Breton name "Malo", chief, leader. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Albin O'Molloy, Bishop of Ferns, County Wexford, which was dated 1189, in the "Early Medieval Records of England", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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