Recorded in the spellings of O'Milligan, Miligan, Milliken, Milikin, Mulligan, Mullikin, Millican and possibly other forms, this interesting surname of Irish origin is an anglicized form of the pre 10th century Gaelic O Maolagain, although also widely recorded in Scotland. The name translates as the "descendant of Maolagan", a personal name from a double diminutive of "mael" and meaning "bald". As such it is probably an affectionate nickname for a monk or disciple, somebody who shaved their head as a sign of devotion.In the 20th century the surname is found mainly in Ulster, and to some extent in County Sligo. It is one of the most ancient of Irish surnames with recordings dating back to the mid 13th Century, (see below). Other examples of the recordings include Thomas Ameligane in 1477, and Thomas Amuligane in 1485, both recorded in the book known as Black's "Surnames of Scotland". Other examples include Andrew Milligan, who married Sarah Planere on May 25th 1697, at St. Paul's church, Covent Garden, Westminster, and Richard Alfred Milliken (1767-1815), a Cork attorney, who is also remembered as the author of "The Groves of Blarney". Alice Milligan who ied in 1953, who was born at Omagh, was a poetess of distinction and a well known figure in the Irish literary movement. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Molior Omolegane, which was dated 1264, in Dublin. This was during the reign of King Henry 111of England, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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