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Tolan Family HistoryRecorded as O' Tolan, O' Twolan, Tolan, Toland, Toolan, Toolin, apparently Thulis, possibly on some occasions O' Toole, and probably others, this is an ancient Irish surname of very confusing origins. It is or was originally a County Donegal name, although in the 17th century much of the sept moved down to County Mayo where they "lost" the O' prefix. The meaning of the name is unclear, but it seems to derive from the pre 13th century Gaelic O' Tuathalain suggesting that it was probably religious and may translate as "The male descendant of the follower of the lord". Many Irish surnames do have a holy or religious origin, and this could well be one of them...
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