Recorded as Mullan, Mullen and Mullin, this surname can be confusingly either English or a Scots-Irish surname, and as a result there are several distinct origins. If English it is medieval and either a topographical for someone who lived at or by a mill, or occupational for a miller. The derivation is from the Norman word moulin, meaning a mill, and usually a water mill. The second origin is pre medieval Gaelic, and as such it may be Scottish or Irish. If Irish the development is from Maolan, an ancient byname meaning "The tonsured one", and a reference to a monk or holy man. In Scotland the origin is the same although in later form it is usually MacMullen or the son of the tonsured one! Amongst the early recordings are those of Shane Crosagh O'Mullan, a colourful namebearer, who led a fabulous Robin Hood type of existence until he was caught and hanged in Dublin in 1729, whilst slightly earlier Catherine Mullen married Robert Fitzpatrick on July 17th 1722 at St. Nicholas-within-Dublin, Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere is shown to be that of Ralph de Molins. This was dated 1159, in the Pipe Rolls of the city of London, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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