This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and was a nickname for a fellow, companion or for a wandering man, from the Olde English "gaedeling", Old High German "gateling", a cousin, companion. This term has also given rise to the term "to gad about" or "gadding", given to one who is a wanderer, which was first used in the late 16th Century. The surname, which is first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below) is also found in the modern idiom as Gatl(l)ing. Another source gives the origin of the name from a pet form of the personal name "Gertude", Gatty, plus the diminutive ending "-lin".The Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire record one Johanna Gatelyn in 1273. Other early examples of the surname include the marriage of Elizabeth Gatlyn and James Baylie on July 25th 1614 at St. Giles', Cripplegate, London, and the christening of Robert, son of Alexandri and Anne Gatling, on March 21st 1640 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The Gatling gun, invented by Dr. R. J. Gatling, was first used in the American Civil War. This was a machine gun with a cluster of barrels into which cartridges were automatically loaded at the breech. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Gatelin, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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