Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surname: they came into being fairly generally during the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The name MacGILDEA comes from the Gaelic MacGiolla, the servant of God. This sept originated from Tirconnell. Many of the name moved southwards and settled in counties Connacht and Clare. In Leitrim the name has been made Benison by semi-translation. A variant spelling of the name is Kildea. In the latter part of the sixteenth century, an influx of settlers arrived under the patronage of Elizabeth I of England, and colonized the country beyond the 'Pale', the area around Dublin that was the only part firmly under English control. At the same time , groups of Presbyterian settlers were encouraged to migrate from Scotland to Ulster, thus establishing the distinctively Scottish surnames of Ulster. During the long centuries of English domination, Irish surnames were crudely Anglicized either phonetically or by translation. In the 19th century, political repression and famine combined to force many Irish people to seek other countries in which to live. Large numbers emigrated to the United States, where strong emotional ties to Ireland are still preserved in many families, while others found themselves transported, willingly or otherwise, to Australia, often after having first tried to make a living in England. Irish surnames are now very widely dispersed, and are common in England as well as in Ireland, the United States and Australia. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. In 1624 Daniel Guilday was the vicar general of the diocese of Killaloe. Sir James Gildea (1838-1920) was the co-founder of St. John's Amubulence Association, and was born in County Mayo.
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