This interesting surname is a variant of "Monilaw", itself of Scottish locational origin from "Monylaws" a place near Branxton which was situated in the former Scottish county of Renfrew (now Northumberland) "The records show that in 1261, the placename was recorded as "Monilawe". The surname first appears in Scottish records in the late 14th Century (see below). In 1426, the charters of the Hospital of Soltre, of Trinity College, Edinburgh, mention William de Monilaw (William of Monilaw) a land owner in Lauder.Andrew and John Monelaw witnessed an instrument of recognition in 1456, according to Scottish records. In 1477, Thomas Monelaw witnessed a notarial document recorded in The Book of the Thanes of Cawdor. At Norham Northumberland, Jeane Monilaws married John Cunningham on July 28th 1655. The marriage of Janet Menelaws and Charles Stevenson took place on December 23rd 1870, at Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland. The surname is found in the modern idiom as Menelaou and Menelaus in the London Telephone Directory. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Monilaw, was abbot of Nova Fernia, Ross, Scotland, which was dated 1398, "The Charters of the Priory of Beauly", E.S. Batteu, during the reign of King Robert 111, "Ruler of Scotland", 1390 - 1406. 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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