This Anglo-Scottish name, with recordings which include: Mallison, Molson, Moulson, Mollison, Molison, Mollyson and Molyson, is a medieval metronymic development of the ancient female personal name 'Mary'. Quite why Mary should transpose into Mall, Mo, Moll, and later Molly is unclear, but the recorded developments leave little doubt. 'Mary' was one of the names 'brought' to Western Europe by the famous Crusaders, being rarely found anywhere before the 11th century. Metronymic surnames, or surnames which originate from the mother rather than the father, are a smaller group than patronymics, but nethertheless have a significant share in the surnames lists. In most cases the name will have been that of a widow, but it is also known that where the wife owned more proporty than the husband, on occasion the children took the mothers name as their surname. Early examples of the recordings include the base form of Adam Molle of Ramsbury Abbey, Norfolk in the year 1250, Robert Mollesone of Staffordshire in the Assize Rolls of that county in 1323, John Moldsonne of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in the Hundred Rolls of 1327, whilst in Scotland, John Malison was recorded as possessing a Tenement in Dundee in 1427,and later Francis Mollison was the M.P. for Brechin in 1685. The first recorded spelling of the family name as a metronymic or diminutive is believed to be that of Roger Molot of Norfolk in the year 1275. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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