Recorded in the spellings of Gillian, Gillan, Gillen, Gillon, Gillion, Gellion, Jillions, Gillions, Jellings, Jillings, and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname of Norman and French origins. It is a dialectal variant of the given name Julian, itself from the Latin Julianus, and Juliana, its feminine form. They were both names of saints and both names were popular in ancient times. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic surviving rolls and charters of the Middle Ages include: John Juliane in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1275, and Henry Julian in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk for 1327. Other early examples this time of church recordings from the registers after the Reformation include: Anys Gyllian, who married George Foulkes on November 5th 1597, at St. Mary Somerset in the city of London and those of Jacques and Anthonnette Gillon, Huguenot refugees, whose son Jacques, was christened on July 3rd 1604, at Threadneedle Street French church, and Mounger Gillan, who married Mary Talbot on May 11th 1686, at St. Katherine by the Tower, also city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Julian, which was dated 1200, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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