The great Irish surname of Mullin originally appeared in Gaelic as either O Meallain, O Maolain or Mac Maolain. The first surname is derived from the word meall, which means pleasent. The second and third are derived from maol, which means bald or maolan, which means "the tonsured one" and is a reference to a monk or holy man.
The name has been spelled Mullin, Mullan, Mullen, Mullens, Mullins, O'Mullin, O'Mullen, O'Mullan and could even change from father to son. Translations from Gaelic to English varied and sometimes it was spelled differently due to a rift in the family or for religious reasons. Church officials and clerks contibuted to this by spelling the name phonetically, sometimes several different ways in the course of a lifetime.
The name first appeared in the County of Connacht. The Mullin familys then branched out into Cork, Limerick and Clare, and also north into Ulster in Tyrone and Derry.
In 1845, the potato crops failed. Due to a number of social and political factors, a high percentage of Ireland's population were subsistance farmers with large families that depended on the potato harvest for food and to pay the rent on their land. The famine from repeated crop failures lasted from 1846-1851, during which hundreds of thousands of people starved to death and even more were forced to emigrate to the colonies.
There are records of Mullins arriving in New Zealand around the time of the Treaty of Waitangi (1841) but our family arrived a bit later than that. Arthur, Cassie and her husband arrived in 1930 on a liner called Tamaru. Frank, Pat and Lillie had come out a few year earlier. Roseanne came with her husband in 1955 and Charlie with his children Paddy, Arthur and Bridget came in 1957.