This interesting and unusual name, with variant spellings Merrilees, Merriles, Merrylees, Mireylees and Mirylees, is of Scottish locational origin from "Merrilees" the name of an estate and hamlet now merged in the estate of Binus, West Lothian. In the Retours the place name is spelt "Mureleyis" (1602), "Murryleyis" (1618), and "Mirrieleyis" (1683). A person named Mureleyis was recorded in Renfrew in 1604. Thomas Mureleyis or Murelis believed to be the same person as mentioned below, was "dekin for the time of the Cordinare Craft", in Edinburgh, in 1533. One Richard Merelis was "expellit and banist" from Stirling in 1545, according to the Extracts from the Records of the Royal burgh of Stirling, 1519-1666. Meg Merrilies is the name of the old gypsy woman in Scott's "Guy Mannering". Helen Merrileis married Nicol Wilson at Edinburgh on June 4th 1600, while on November 25th 1606, Jenet Murrilies married George Robeson at Inverness. Guy Anbrey, son of William and Pauline Mirrilees was christened at Christ Church, Ealing, London on May 10th 1871. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Mereleys, which was dated 1529, Maitland Club - History and Literature of Scotland, during the reign of King James V, "Ruler of Scotland", 1513 - 1542. 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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