Recorded as O'Moylan, Moylan, Moyle, Moyles, Mullane, and Mullins, this interesting surname is of Irish origin. It is generally regarded as being from the pre 10th century Olde Gaelic surname O'Maolain, composed of the elements O', meaning male descendant of, and "Maolan", a byname meaning Tonsured One, and probably a reference to a monk or friar. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or from some illustrious warrior. Moyle appears to be from County Wicklow, whilst Moylan is a Munster sept, which is now found mainly in counties Clare, Cork and Tipperary, but its early locational has not been determined. Hugh Moyle was a Kildare witness in the year 1235, whilst it has been suggested that the "Omothlans", a County Cork robber gang who were fined in 1295, were in fact 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, whilst . 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. Rory O' Moyle was amongst those fined for rebellion in 1641, and two centuries later Michael and Julia Moylan, departed from Liverpool, aboard the ship "Sea-King", bound for the Port of New York in 1846 to avoid the infamous Potato Famine of that year. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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