Recorded in many forms including Collin and Colin, the patronymics Collins, Collison and Collinson, this is a famous Anglo-Gaelic surname. It has at least two quite distinct origins. The first is as a diminutive nickname from the highly popular Greek-Roman personal name "Nikolaos". This translates as The conquering people, and is a fair description of the Ancient Greeks themselves. The name however spelt, is generally regarded in Europe as being a "Crusader" name. That is one introduced by the Knight Templars and other pilgrims returning from the various Greek based expeditions to free the Holy Land from the Muslim, in the 12th century. The second possible origin for some (Irish) nameholders is as a form of the Gaelic name "Coileain". Originally prefixed by Mac or O' and recorded principally in the West of Ireland, it is confused and overlaps with English and Scots settlers called Collins, and with the Scottish surname Cullen. The translation of the Gaelic name is "The young hound", and it is claimed that the nameholders were the Lords of Connello. One of the earliest Irish name holders was Father Dominic Collins (1553 - 1602), whilst Michael Collins, (1890 - 1922) was a famed leader of the Irish freedom movement, before being assasinated in the Civil War of 1922 - 1926. Early examples of the surname recording include John Collin, in the Kings Roll of Devonshire in 121, and John Colnson in the pipe rolls of Yorkshire in 1349. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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