This interesting and rare surname is of Gaelic origin, and is a variant of "Melvin", which in Ireland is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Maoil Mhin", composed of the Gaelic prefix "O", male descendant of , "maoil", devotee, and "Min", a saint's personal name, from "min", meaning soft and gentle; hence "the male descendant of the devotee of (Saint) Min". This uncommon form of the surname can be found in East Leinster, while Melvin itself is mainly located in County Mayo, and in some instances East Galway.Early Irish records of this and many other surnames have been destroyed or lost down through time, to such an extent that the first recorded namebearer appears in English records, which were better kept and not open to the same destructive forces as in Ireland. Arthur Molvin married Martha Stafford on July 19th 1788, at Manchester Cathedral, in Lancashire, while Michael Mulvin was born on April 24th 1864, in Athenry, County Galway. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Mullivine (no known personal name), which was dated 1601, in the "Elizabethean Fiants Records", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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