This interesting name was an Irish patronymic assumed by the Stauntons (early settlers in Connacht after the Anglo-Norman invasion). The ancestor of the M(a)cEvillys (in Irish Mac an Mhilidh - son of a knight) was Sir Bernard Staunton, or de Sdondon as it was formerly spelt, whose son, Philip Mor de Sdondon was among the first invaders. At the beginning of the 14th century the Stauntons were granted lands in the baronies of Claremorris and Carra (Co. Mayo). MacEvely and MacAvealy are further forms of the name. Later Staunton families settled in Ireland at the time of Cromwell and retained their original family name. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwine aet Stantune. which was dated C 1055 - Old English Bynames - G. Tengvik. during the reign of Edward the Confessor 1042 - 1066. 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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