There is considerable dissension over the origins of this surname, which may be Irish or more probably English. What is certain is that as Mil(l)moe it was found originally only in a part of Co. Sligo near the town of Boyle. If we assume that the origin is Irish, then Milmo, Milmoe or Melroe, the three variant spellings, are developed forms of the ancient Gaelic O'Maolmuaidh. However the Milmo(e) spellings are intermixed in the Boyle area with the surname Mattimoe, one family being recorded as using both forms (!), and Mattimoe is without doubt of English origin, and deriving from the Anglo-Norse-Norman 'Matheumogh', meaning 'the relative (mogr) of Matthew'. In the 1749 diocese register of Elphin, the Mattimoes and Mil(l)imoe's are recorded in equal numbers and alongside each other. The recordings in either case were never large. This suggests that both names were originally the same and probably of 'planter' origin, but as documentary evidence is almost totally lacking from the pre 17th century, it has to be conjecture. Our view is that Milmoe in its various forms, is a dialectal spelling of Mattimoe. Apparently the National Library of Ireland contains an unpublished manuscript by Col. Cyril Mattimoe on the families, and their inter-relations. The 19th century registers includes the following recordings, Maria Malimoe, who married Ricardus Barret at Calry, Co. Sligo, on October 22nd 1858, James Melmoe who married Catharine Linot at Ballymote, Co. Sligo, on March 3rd 1864, and Martin and Mary Milmo, recorded at Lowpark, Co. Mayo, on July 22nd 1865. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Matheumogh, which was dated 1327, in the subsidy rolls of Derbyshire, England, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377. 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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