Recorded in many forms including the Irish McGibbon and the Norman-Irish Fitzgibbon, as well as the English and sometimes Scottish, Gibben, Gibbin, Giblin, Gibling, Gibbon, and Gubbin, this surname has several possible origins. Firstly if Irish and McGibbon, it originates from the personal name "Fhibin," a diminutive of the Greek name Philip, and almost certainly a Norman introduction after the year 1170 when Strongbow, earl of Pembroke, first invaded Ireland. Secondly for all the other spellings it may have originated from the pre 6th century Germanic personal name Gebwine, from "geba," a gift, and "-wine," a friend, and hence "good friend".A third possible option is as a double diminutive of the medieval nickname Gib, a short form of the given name Gilbert. This name was a derivation of Gisilbert, meaning bright-pledge. Gilbert became a very popular given name in England during the Middle Ages, partly through the fame of St. Gilbert of Sempringham (1085 - 1189), the founder of the only native English monastic order, the Gilbertines. The Irish Fitzgibbons, although originally of Norman stock gradually took over leadership in the 18th century, of rebellion against British rule. The head of the family was known as The White Knight of Desmond, and they were based in County Limerick with another branch (McGibbon) in County Cork. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Gibiun, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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