Recorded as Mulvay, Mulve, Mulvee, Mulvey, Mulvy, Mulveagh, Mulvie, and others, this is an Irish surname of antiquity. It is said to originate from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' Maoilmhiadhaigh, a real mouthful translating as "The male descendant of the follower of St. Miadhach". Miadhach was a personal name meaning honourable. Well there you are! If you cannot have a ruthless warrior as the original chief of the clan, the usuall form with both Gaelic and Celtic clan surnames, a good dollop of religious fervour is a fine substitute. In thiscase the main branch of the clan has long been important in County Leitrim where it is said that they were a principle name during the famous Pettys census of Ireland in 1659. Sample recordings taken from surviving registers include John Mulvie baptised at Ballingar, County Leitrim, in 1810 (actual date not known), and Patrick Mulvey, aged 21, and a famine emigrant, who sailed aboard the ship "Lawrence of Liverpool" from Belfast Lough for New York on April 17th 1846. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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