It is reported by Maclysaght that this surname in Ireland is an anglicised form of O'Goillin, except when not the name of a prominent Cork family. As however the name as Golding andGoulding was introduced by the Anglo Normans after the 1170 invasion, and as it was again introduced as Golden in the planatation period (1560 - 1660) there is clearly lenty of scope for confusion. To add to the above, there seems little doubt that whilst O'Goillin was generally changed to Gallen, some name holders particularly in Connacht did become 'Golden' and 'Golding,' although in Co Sligo the obvious happened, the name being changed to O'Geallan.Like the origin, there is plenty of disagreement over the meaning, however it is probably a nickname, the son of the descendant of the vexed or angry one, being a reasonable explanation. The English Golden translates as 'the fair haired one.'again a nickname not dissimilar to O'Cronin which has the same meaning. Perhaps the most famous of the Irish 'Goldens' was John Golden, a Captain in the short lived navy of James 11 when he was King of Ireland (1690-91). Captain Golden fought a one man war until captured by the Royal Navy in 1692, when on the orders of the Parliament he was executed as a traitor. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Le Guldene which was dated 1212, in the Curia Regis rolls of Hampshire, England, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland' (1199-1216). 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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