This name is of Gaelic, Scottish origin and is one of the Anglicized forms of the Gaelic patronymic "Mac Gille Bheathain", meaning "son (mac) of the servant of (St.) Beathan", which is a personal name representing a diminutive of "beathe", life. A number of variant surnames have been generated by this Gaelic name, among them "M(a)cGilvane", "M(a)cIlvain", "M(a)cIlwaine" and "M(a)cIlvean", while the name is sometimes further anglicized as "Melvin". One Alan McYlveine of Grumett in Carrick is recorded as bailie of the Abbey of Crossragnel in 1523, and Alane Makilvane, follower of the Earl of Cassih's was charged with murder in 1526 and later acquitted. Alexander McIlwaine married Margaret McDowall in December 1774 in Stoneykirk, Wigtown. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Makgilvane, which was dated 1376, Ancient Charters of the Earldom of Morton, during the reign of King Robert II of Scotland, 1371 - 1390. 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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