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Surname Collins - Meaning and Origin

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My iGENEA Experience: Unravelling the Intricate Tapestry of the Collins Family History

Embarking on a journey to understand my family history through a DNA analysis at iGENEA brought to light the rich cultural heritage and history behind my Irish surname, Collins. Tracing back to ancient Celtic roots, my experience with iGENEA enhanced my understanding of my lineage, connecting me with historically significant migration patterns, and to potential distant relatives.

R. Collins

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Collins: What does the surname Collins mean?

The surname Collins has Irish roots and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name "O' Coileain". The "O'" signifies "descendant of", and "Coileain" is a personal name derived from the word "coilean", meaning "young warrior" or "whelp". It was traditionally a patronymic name, indicating that the person was the son of someone named Coileain. The surname has evolved to several forms over the centuries, with Collins being the most common in today's time. The name was usually given to a person who showed traits of strength, courage, and ferocity in battle, often attributed to young warriors. In modern times, this surname is widespread in Ireland and is particularly associated with County Cork. Additionally, due to emigration, the surname has become prevalent in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and England.

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Collins: Where does the name Collins come from?

The last name Collins is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It is derived from the personal name Nicholas, a name which was popular among Christians throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. The feminine form of Nicholas, Nichole, was altered and Anglicized to the popular medieval name Colin. Adding the suffix '-s' denoted 'son of,' hence, 'Collin’s' or 'Collins.'

The surname first appeared in the British Isles, specifically in England. By the 12th century, it had spread to other parts of the British Isles, including Scotland and Ireland. The Irish form of Collins, Ó Coileáin, is also prevalent, often Anglicized to Collins.

Today, Collins is a common surname in many English-speaking countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In England, it's particularly common in the southern and western counties. Its density in Ireland is largely in counties Cork and Limerick and in the United States, it's most prevalent in the northeastern region.

Variations of the surname Collins

The surname Collins is of Irish origin. It is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Coileain", which means a young warrior or hound. Collins is a popular surname widely used in the UK, Australia, and the US.

There are numerous variations in its spelling which occur due to misinterpretations of the original name. Some of these spellings include: Collings, Collin, Collines, Collison, Collyns, Cullens, Collis, Collen, Collan and Collen.

The romantic idea of local scribes interpreting the name phonetically when tax records and census were done resulted in multiple variations of the same surname. Misinterpretations or translations were commonly done by Anglican priests, leading to Anglicized versions of Irish surnames.

Nicknames also played a part in the spelling variations. Collins could also derive from the personal names Nicolas or Colin.

While the majority of people with the surname Collins are unrelated, one can trace some family connections. For instance, if your surname is Cullens, you might share ancestry with those named Collins. However, Collins contains no prefixes or suffixes that are commonly found in Irish surnames, making it harder to distinguish specific family lines.

Famous people with the name Collins

  • Phil Collins: An English musician, singer, and actor who was an original member of the rock band Genesis.
  • Joan Collins: An English actress known for her role in the television series "Dynasty."
  • Judy Collins: An American singer-songwriter known for her folk and pop music.
  • Lily Collins: An English-American actress and model who starred in films like "Mirror Mirror" and "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones."
  • Stephen Collins: An American actor, best known for his role on the TV show "7th Heaven."
  • Michael Collins: An Irish revolutionary, soldier, and politician.
  • Jackie Collins: A British author noted for her steamy romance novels.
  • Billy Collins: An American poet who served as US Poet Laureate.
  • Misha Collins: An American actor best known for his role in "Supernatural."
  • Gary Collins: An American actor and television host.
  • Collins Key: An American YouTuber and magician who gained fame on "America's Got Talent."
  • Pauline Collins: A British actress known for her role in the film "Shirley Valentine."
  • Bootsy Collins: An American musician and singer-songwriter; original member of the funk band, Parliament-Funkadelic.
  • Suzanne Collins: An American author, known for the "Hunger Games" trilogy.
  • Cecil Collins: A former American football running back.
  • Doug Collins: A former American professional basketball player and coach.

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