This interesting Irish name is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O' Baoighill" descendant of "Baoigheall" a personal name from "baoth" rash, and "geall", pledge. Traditionally, Irish family names were taken from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", as above, or "Mac", denoting son of. The O' Boyles were a strong sept in County Donegal and they shared the leadership of the North West, and were noted for their ruddy complexion. However, the best known bearers of the name were actually men of English race, as in Richard Boyle, a Jacobean adventurer from Kent who acquired the lands of the executed Sir Walter Raleigh in County Waterford, and later became the 1st Earl of Cork. Fourteen of the fifteen Boyles listed in the National Biography belong to this Anglo Irish family. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Boyle, which was dated 1572, recorded at St. Lawerence Jewry and St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 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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