There are two origins for this surname. The first and applying to most English name holders is a derivative patronymic of the Greek-Roman "Nicholas". It is comprised of the elements "Col" plus "in", the latter being a shortened form of the Saxon "kin" to imply "Son of Col". Introduced into England by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, some eighty derivative spellings are recorded, showing the great popularity of the name Nicholas (translating as - the victory people). The second possibility is as an anglicized form of "Coileain" prefixed by "Mac or O", and found principally in the West of Ireland.In this case the name translates as "the young hound", the clan being hords of Connello, one of the earliest Irish name holders being Fr. Dominic Collins (1553 - 1602), other recordings include Roger Colynes (1329, Somerset), Agnice Collyns (1561, London), Agnete Collens (1586, Westminster) and Alce Collins (1549, London). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Collin, which was dated 1221, in the "Kings Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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