Recorded in several spellings including Meale, Millea, Miley and Mulee, this is an Irish surname. It is an anglicization of the ancient pre 10th century Gaelic name O' maoil Aoigh, which translates as the servant or follower of St. Aedh, also known as Hugh. The surname is first recorded in surviving registers in the 16th century and is generally associated with County Kilkenny and the adjacent south eastern counties. However it must be appreciated that many early records in Ireland were destroyed by the IRA in 1922 when they wantonly set fire to the Public Records Office in Dublin. As a result much of the ancient history of the country has been destroyed. The existing church registers have as their earliest record, the birth of Michael Millae, the infant son of John Millea and Ellen Dullard, on October 16th 1865, in Kilkenny. Interestingly, the earliest in London, at Old Church, St. Pancras, is the marriage of John Millea and Jane Hand on December 4th 1842, although London records being more extensive, this is likely to be an accurate date as to when the name entered England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Albin O' Molloy, (bishop of Ferns), which was dated 1189, County Offaly, Ireland, during the reign of King Richard 1, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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