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About the study
This ONS is fairly recent, only having been formalised in October 2008. I have been collecting various Mullins and Mullens records for over twenty years now. Some names have been gathered whilst traveling down pathways which did not always lead me towards my own particular Mullins family. Being a relatively new ONS, I have by-passed the more traditional newsletter, and use a personal webpage as my main contact. I hope that other Mullins researchers will contact me with a view to sharing our knowledge on our surname. For many years, I laid in wait for someone to launch a Mullins ONS but recently I bit the bullet and here I am. Being based in Australia, I am somewhat removed from the more readily accessible sources in the UK and the most active Mullins researchers being those based in the USA. So I am heavily reliant on web-based resources and communication methods. But I do have access to a wide range of genealogical resources for Australia and New Zealand, which can be helpful for finding those Mullins and Mullens ancestors who suddenly seem to fall off the UK or USA census lists with little or no explanation.
The main variant of the Mullins surname is the common misspelling Mullens. The two surnames were often used interchangeably within 19th century genealogical records. Nowadays the two surnames tend to stand apart with little interchange. The Mullins surname is about 3-4 times more popular than the Mullens surname, but this varies greatly depending upon location. Another possible variant could be Mullings, but I have not yet included this variant in my ONS â maybe in years to come. I do not consider the Mullen and Mullin surnames to be variants of the Mullins surname, but stand-alone surnames. I would welcome anyone thinking of establishing a ONS for these surnames.
There are various beliefs into the origins of the Mullins and Mullens surnames. The Irish belief is that it may be the Anglicisation of the Irish name O Maolain, from a diminutive of maol, meaning 'bald' or 'tonsured', which arose separately in a number of areas. The English belief is that it is generally believed to have been a Huguenot surname, originally deriving from either of the Molyneaux, De Moulins or De Molines surnames. Generally the surname is considered as an occupational surname used by persons somehow connected with the trade of milling (as in flour milling).
History of the name
Perhaps the most famous occurrence of the Mullins surname is the Mayflower family of William & Alice Mullins, and their well-known daughter, Priscilla Mullins. This Pilgrim family came from Dorking in Surrey, UK and being a Separatist family fled to the new colony in Virginia in 1620. Priscillaâs Wikipedia entry can be found here. William & Alice Mullins, and their son, Joseph, all perished in the first bitter winter in the new colony, so no male Mullins descendants survived from this family; although several other Mullins emigrant families made the same journey only several years later. Priscilla Mullins is known to literary history as the unrequited love of the newly-widowed Captain Miles Standish, the colony's military advisor, in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous 1858 poem âThe Courtship of Miles Standishâ. Longfellow himself was a descendant of Priscilla Mullins. Unfortunately the early ancestors of this particular Mullins family from Dorking in Surrey have been difficult to trace back. A Wikipedia listing of famous Mullins people can be found here. There is a town in West Virginia called Mullens.
Distribution of the name
The distribution of the Mullins surname shows several significant localities. There are heavy occurences in the throughout southern Ireland, in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee in the USA, and a smattering of occurrences in Australia, Canada, UK and New Zealand. In the England the surname is most prominent in Yorkshire and Dorset (my line). The distribution of the less frequent Mullens variant is similar to the Mullins distribution, but also shows significant pockets in Belgium and the Netherlands.
I have access to the UK and Australian databases contained within the Ancestry.com website and I am progressively capturing the Mullins and Mullens entries and will be analysing these entries for the construction of various families trees, especially those First Familiesâ into Australia and New Zealand. I have a collection of data CD-ROMâs which provide information on Australian Mullins and Mullens families well into the 20th century. At this early stage of my GOONS membership, I have not lodged any data with the Guild.
The Mullins Y-DNA Project is underway at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/mullins. All project members, except me, are from the USA. The project is open to all males with a Mullins or Mullens surname.