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Re: surnames Melia & O'Melia
I prefer the second suggestion as a possible explanation. I'm open to correction here, but I've a strong feeling that Gaelic surnames (Irish and Scots Gaelic) are never based on female given names. This may be true of surnames from other Celtic languages too. The search goes on for a Celtic metronym.
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I agree, I've never heard of an Irish matronymic surname (doesn't mean there aren't any, just don't know of any). The second one sounded better to me as well, but I can't find conclusive proof it's from that. ---------------------------------------
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