This most unusual surname is of Old Gaelic origin, and is a variant of "Shevlin", itself the Anglicized form of "O'Seibhleain", composed of the Gaelic prefix "O", male descendant of, and a personal name from "sibhal", swift. According to the Four Masters the principal sept of "O'Sibhlen" was located in County Offaly, and was of considerable importance there prior to the Anglo-Norman Invasion in the 12th Century, but their descendants are no longer found in that part of the country. There was also an Ui Fiachrach sept (Counties Mayo, Sligo and Galway), while the name has a long standing association with County Donegal, for two of the name were among the followers of Hugh O'Donnell in 1601 (see below).The name is also found as O'Shevlin in the Donegal Hearth Money Rolls in 1665, and thirty years earlier as O'Shevelan in the County Fermanagh Inquisition. Today, however, the majority of Shevlins are located in Counties Armagh and Monaghan (since the 17th Century). Present day spellings include Shevlan, Shovelin, Shevland, Shevlin and Shivlin. Hugh and Catherine Shovlin had twins born on September 12th 1869, at Lochwinnoch, Renfrew, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donall O'Syvelane, which was dated 1601, in the "Fiants Records for Donegal", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England, 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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