This ancient Irish name formerly spelt O'Spealain is of dual origin. One Sept of the Clan possessed the Barony of Eliogarthy in Co. Tipperary in medieval times, the other was recorded from 1540 at Bective, in Co. Meath, whilst the place names of Ballyspelane occur both in Kilkenny and Tippeary. The meaning of the name is "The descendant of the Scythe", the modern spellings being O'Spillane Spillane, Spollen and Spelman. The latter being an anglicization associated with Province of Connacht. In 1847, Michael Spillane emigrated to New York from Cork, he was a farmer from Co. Offaly, whilst Cardinal Spelman (born 1889) was Archbishop of New York. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Timothy Spillane. which was dated 1795, who married Ellen Fowlue at Killarney, Co. Kerry. during the reign of King George 111, known as "Farmer George", 1760 - 1820. 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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