Recorded in many forms including McMullan, McMullen, Mullan, Mullen, Mullens, O'Mullan, and even MacMillan, this is a Gaelic surname. It derives from the ancient name Maolan, meaning 'The tonsured one', a reference to a holyman who shaved his head as a sign of his religious zeal. The surname in its slightly different spellings, is one of the most popular in both Ireland and Scotland. In Ireland in Counties Antrim and Down, it is of Scottish descent, and was borne by many of the 17th century settlers in Ulster. The sept O'Mullan originated from County Galway, and arguably although the origin is the same, is not directly related, being descended from a 6th century king of Connacht called Maollan. Early examples of recordings in Scotland include John MacMulan, the bailie of Glasgow, 1454 - 1487, and Sir Duncan MacMolane, said to have a been a pope's knight or seneschal in 1452. The name is widespread in Scotland as MacMillan. In Ireland Shane Crosagh O'Mullan of Derry, evicted from his property in 1729, took to the mountains and led a Robin Hood type of existence until his capture, whilst Ann, the daughter of Alexander McMullen, was christened on April 5th 1734, at Saintfield, in County Down. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillemor MacMolan. He was a juror on an inquest in Lanarkshire, Scotland, dated 1263, in the "Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 1124 - 1707." Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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