There are two accepted sources for this surname when found in Ireland. The first is as an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Maolain", a byname which translates as "the descendant of the tonsured one", indicating perhaps a devotee or follower of an unspecified saint. Alternatively, the byname may refer simply to one who looked like a monk or who had monkish qualities. The second source is Anglo-Norman: Mullins in this instance being a development of the French "moulin", meaning "mill", and denoting one who was resident at such a place.The pointer to this second source may be contained within the Coat of Arms which includes a gold cross moline on a blue field. Whether of Gaelic or Anglo-Norman origins, nameholders have regularly made their mark in history, James Mullins of Dublin (1721 - 1776) being a Royal Academician and landscape painter of international repute, whilst earlier in 1658, Robert and George Mullins, of Taunton in England, were convicted of being "Monmouth rebels", and were deported to the West Indies as slaves. Nearly as unfortunate was James Mullins of Newry, County Down, who was a famine emigrant on the ship "Robinson" bound for New York in May 1847. Examples of name recordings are those of Daniel Mullins of Ballyhay, County Cork, on October 4th 1796, and James Mullins of Palmerston District, Dublin, on July 8th 1865. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joseph Moline, which was dated November 16th 1658, a witness at Derry Cathedral, during the reign of Richard Cromwell, known as "The Lord Protector", 1658 - 1659. 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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