This famous Irish surname is found in many forms including MacAlinden, MacAlinion and MacLyndon, whilst both Linden and Glendon are also recorded. However spelt the clan originated from County Fermanagh, the derivation being from the Gaelic Mac Giolla Fhinnein, which translates literally as 'The son of the follower of St Fintan (or possibly) St Finian'. The anglicised spellings are first found in the Fermanagh Inquisitions into Land Ownership undertaken between 1620 and 1630, the spellings being given at that time as MacElenan or MacElynan, dependant on the clerk taking the recordings. What is certain is that in the earliest times before the 13th century, the clan were very important, and like the O'Gallaghers and the O'Doherty's claimed descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages in the 6th century. The chief of the clan was styled 'Lord of Lough Erne'. The clan was also renowned for its poets, Padraig Mac Giolla Fhionndain (see below) and his sister Maire Nic Alindon, being represented in Hydes 'Love songs of Connacht'. Examples of the surname recordings include Sarah McAlindon christened at Downpatrick, Co. Down, on August 8th 1771, William McAlindon, christened at the same place on March 19th 1781, and James McLinden, whose daughter Mary was christened at Tarataraghan, Armagh, on July 28th 1867. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Padraig Mac Giolla Fhionndain, which was dated 1647 - 1732, Gaelic Poet and patriot, during the reign of King George 11, known as 'The soldier King', 1727 - 1760. 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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