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Re: surnames Melia & O'Melia
My Irish name books say the following:Both are variants of O'Malley and that O'Melia is rather rare and only found in Dublin while Melia is numerous in Galway, Donegal and the North Midlands. The names do come from Ó Máille which several books suggest comes from a Celtic word, maglios which may mean "a chief". There is a modern Irish word 'máille' which means mail as in armour ...maybe a connection, maybe not ...
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The "chief" suggestion is a distinct possibility. There was an Old Irish word, MAL, which meant "chief", no doubt derived from maglios. Maille could be later development or a genitive form.
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