This rare and interesting surname can be English or Scottish. It has at least two possible origins. Firstly, it may be a short form of the Scottish MacMillan, meaning the grandson of the tonsured one. The name originally referred to a religious man, one with a shaven head, and a follower of a saint. Secondly, it can be a variant of Mill. This was either topographical for someone who lived near a mill, or an occupational name for a miller. The derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th century word "mylen", from the Latin "molina", meaning to grind. The mill, whether powered by water, wind, or animals, was an important centre in every medieval settlement, and was usually operated by an agent of the local landowner. Examples of the surname recording taken from the church registers include Mary Mylan, who married Roger Alee, at St Augustines, Watling Street, London on May 24th 1561, Katherine Millan, who married John Lynnitt at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on May 26th 1618,and John Milan, the son of William Milan, who also seems to have been recorded as 'Millan', christened at Hounslow, Middlesex, on May 30th 1841. The records also include Jean Melan, a Huguenot refugee, registered at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, London, on October 9th 1603, giving a further dimension to the surname spelling. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillemor MacMolan, which was dated 1263, in the "Acts of the parliaments of Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249-1286. 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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