This interesting and unusual surname, with variant spellings, Forkin, Forkins, Forikin, Forken etc., is an Anglicized form of the old Gaelic O' Gabhlain. The Gaelic prefix "o" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal byname Gabhlan, meaning "Swallow" or "Swift", originally given to one thought to bear a fancied resemblance to the bird. On May 26th 1799 Mary Forikin and George Ellis were married in London. The forms Forkan and Forkin are particularly widespread in the Connacht county of Mayo. On June 5th 1864 Michael, a son was born to Thomas Forkin and Bridget O' Grady in Kilkelly, County Mayo and on July 5th 1865 Mary, a daughter was born to Michael Forkan and Mary Carny in Lowpark (Mayo). The birth of Catherine Forkan, (parents Michael Forkan and Bridget Hynds), was recorded in Claremorris, County May on July 14th 1866. Goulding is occasionally found as a rare Anglicization of the name. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ellen Forkyn, (christening), which was dated December 7th 1645, St. Olave, Southwark, London, during the reign of King Charles 1, "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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