This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Maolain", which is composed of the elements "O", male descendant of, and "Maolan", a byname meaning "Tonsured One, Devotee" (from "maol", bald). Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", grandson, male descendant of, or "M(a)c", denoting "son of". Moylan is a Munster sept, which is now found mainly in counties Clare, Cork and Tipperary, but its early locational has not been determined. It has been suggested that the "Omothlans", County Cork robbers fined in 1295, were O'Moylans whose name was so written by the law clerk who recorded the case. There was a pardon granted to Daniel Mac-William O'Moylane, of Kilbride, County Clare, in 1591. One of the most noteworthy persons of the name was Brigadier General Stephen Moylan (1734 - 1811), whom Washington considered one of his ablest commanders, and was among the first to enlist in the American War of Independence. He was the elder brother of Francis Moylan, "loyalist" Catholic Bishop of Cork from 1786 to 1815. In April 1846, Michael, Mary, U., and Julia Moylan, famine immigrants, departed from Liverpool, aboard the "Sea-King", bound for the Port of New York. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donaghe O'Moylan, which was dated 1586, recorded as Derryknockane, County Limerick, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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