This very unusual surname is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Maoildeirg", descendant of the red chief, from "O", grandson, male descendant of, and the personal byname "Maolderig", a compound of the elements "maol", chief, from the pagan Irish "mal", and "derig, dearg", red. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "Mac" denoting "son of", or "O" (as above). The name Mulder(r)ig is recorded in 19th Century Church Registers of Counties Donegal and Mayo, which suggests a connection with the rare Donegal name Mulderry, itself coming from the Old Gaelic "O'Maoldoraidh", the latter element "doraidh" apparently meaning "intricate, difficult to understand". Anglicized forms of both "O'Maoldeirg" and "O'Maoldoraidh" have, over the centuries, become confused, and have fallen together synonymously. It is interesting to note that in County Mayo Mulderrig has often been changed to Reid, Reddington and Rutledge, Reid by semi-translation, itself coming from the Olde English "read", red. The choice of Reddington and Rutledge are more obscure, and no satisfactory explanation has been found. On July 12th 1864, Ann, a daughter, was born to Thomas Mulderig and Mary Cannon, at Glenties, County Donegal, and on August 12th 1865, the birth of John, son of Michael Mulderig and Bridget Walken, was recorded at Crossmolina, County Mayo. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Maeldery, which was dated May 17th 1692, marriage to Sarah Heath, at St. Mary's, Marylebone Road, London, during the reign of William and Mary jointly, 1689 - 1694. 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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