This interesting surname is of English origin, and is locational from the French Channel port of Boulogne, recorded in Latin sources both as "Gessoriacum" and as "Bononia". The latter name is clearly the source of the modern placename, it is apparently a derivative of the Latin "bonus", good, but may come from a Gaulish element "bona", foundation. Boulogne has long been a major trading port between England and France. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The name development since 1121 (see below) includes the following: William Bulein (1204, Lincolnshire); Richard de Boloygne (1255, Essex); Thomas de Bolenne (1289, Cheshire); and Thomas Bollyng (1524, Suffolk). The modern surname can be found as Bullen, Bulleyn, Bullon, Bullin, Boleyn, Bollen, Boullin, Boullen, Bullan, Bullant, Bullene and Bullent. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Thomas Bullen and Hanna Prince on February 2nd 1626, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and the marriage of Robert Bullen and Mary Hale on May 16th 1693, at St. Dionis, Backchurch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Helias de Bolonia, which was dated 1121 - 1148, in "Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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