This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a patronymic form of "Coll(in)", itself a pet form of Nicholas. The derivation of the name is from the Greek "Nikolaos", composed of the elements "nike", victory, and "laos", people. The popularity of the name is largely due to St. Nicholas, who was Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor, during the 4th Century. After his body had been removed to Bari, in Italy, he became one of the most popular saints, having, among other reputed miracles, restored three dead boys to life, calmed a storm at sea, and saved three girls from slavery by secretly bestowing three bags of gold to their father; he is regarded as the patron saint of schoolboys, sailors and pawn-brokers, whose sign is three golden balls. The given name "Colinus" is noted in the 1191 Pipe Rolls of Berkshire, and Roger Colynes is listed in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Somerset. In the modern idiom the name can be found as Collin, Collins, Collis, Collen, Collens, Collyns and Colin. On August 6th 1598, Thomas Collis married Joane Story, at the Church of St. Benet's, London. The name is also found in Ireland from the 17th Century; John Collis took part in a land transaction in County Tyrone in 1638. John Day Collis (1816 - 1879), a noted educationist in England, was born in Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Collin, which was dated 1221, in the "Curia Regis 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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