The name CARLIN was originally derived from the Germanic personal name Carl, meaning Man, which was Latinized as Carolus. The name was popular at an early date, due to the fame of the Emperor Charlemagne (742-814). The Old form Charles was briefly introduced to England by the Normans, but was rare during the main period of surname formation. It was introduced more successfully to Scotland in the 16th century by the Stuarts, who had strong ties with France. The name was not in use among the general population in the Scandinavian speaking countries, and was restricted to the nobility. It has now spread widely and has many variant spellings. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Descendants of both the O'Caireallain sept, whose seat was in the parish of Clondermot, barony of Tikeeran, County Derry and of the Cearbhallain sept from County Cavan and County Monaghan, have adopted the surname Carolan. The heaviest distribution of this surname today, outside the capital is in western County Cavan around Kingscourt and Bailieborough in Clonkee barony and in the adjacent regions of County Meath. Occasionally the name is found in use with the original prefix 'O'. Early records of the name mention Simon Nepos Karolyn, 1196 Ireland. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
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