This interesting surname is of Norman-French origin, from St. Aubyn in France, and may now be regarded as a completely Hibernicized name. The family, first called de St. Aubyn, arrived in Ireland in the wake of the Norman Invasion (1169 - 1170), and by the year 1200 they were settled in Counties Tipperary and Kilkenny, from whence they spread to the neighbouring Munster counties of Cork and Waterford. Other Norman names which have become completely Irish are Roche (originally "de Roche") and Cusack (originally "de Cussac"). The Tobins were an extremely influential family in County Tipperary in medieval times, and the head of the family was known as Baron of Coursey. In the 14th Century the Tobins were described in the Annals of Clyn as "a turbulent sept more dreaded by the English than the native Irish". The placename Ballytobin near Callan in County Kilkenny was named from the family, and one James Tobin represented the Tipperary town of Fethard in the Parliament of 1689. A branch of the family who were among the Wild Geese, settled at Nantes in the country of origin, and the best known of these was Edmund Marquis de Tobin (1692 - 1747), who was killed in action in the War of Austrian Succession. A Coat of Arms granted to the Tobin family of Bally-Tobin, County Kilkenny, depicts three silver oak leaves on an azure shield, the Crest being a red demi-lion rampant holding between the paws an oak branch proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Tobin, which was dated 1350, in "Medieval Records of County Kilkenny", during the reign of King Edward 111 of England, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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