Select Mellon Surname Genealogy

There are three possible origins of the Mellon surname, one English, one Scottish, and one Irish:
  • The English (and also possibly Scottish) origin of the name is the place-name Malaville in Normandy, with Mellon being a Norman name as an alternative to the more common Melville surname.
  • Mellon could also be a corruption of the MacMillan name where MacMillans were far from the home base in NW Scotland.
  • and the Mellon name found in Ulster can be a shortened anglicized form of the Gaelic O'Meallain, descendant of Meallain.   Meallain is a personal name, a diminutive of meall meaning "pleasant."      

The Mellon family of Pennsylvania who emigrated from northern Ireland were said to have been Scottish in origin. There was a Millan coat of arms which clearly claimed a connection with the 18th century MacMillans of Dunmore.

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England and Scotland.  A Norman de Melville family apparently made their way to Scotland by the 13th century.  The family held lands in Midlothian and later in Fife.  Mellon was one corrupted form of Melville as that was how Melville was pronounced in NE Scotland.  Some Mellons found in the Cumberland registers in the north of England in the 1700's seem to have been MacMillians with the "Mac" lopped off.

There were Mellons in the 1881 census in Scotland, but not many of them - less than 200 - and most of them around Glasgow.  England had a few more, mainly in Lancashire.

Ireland.  The O'Meallain surname originated near Dungannon in SE Tyrone.  O'Meallain was generally anglicized as Mellon in north Tyrone and county Derry and as Mallon in south Tyrone and county Armagh.

Redmond Mellon, a Catholic from county Derry, emigrated with his family to Pennsylvania in 1847.  Patrick and Bridget Mellon from Maghera in Derry moved to Newcastle in 1860.  Other Mellons from Maghera were to be found in Glasgow.  Robert Mellon left home at 14 to join the Navy and ended up in the small mining village of Kilsyth in Scotland.   

One Mellon family in Tyrone was Scots Irish.
 These Mellons had come into Ireland from Scotland in the middle of the 17th century and settled in Castletown.  In 1816 Archibald Mellon emigrated to the United States and his son Andrew and family were to follow two years later.  Other Mellons, it is thought from this family, crossed back to Scotland.  Descendants here were the diplomat Sir James Mellon, the son of a Glasgow schoolteacher, and his son, the fund manager and entrepreneur Jim Mellon. 

America.  Judge Thomas Mellon, the son of emigrant Andrew Mellon from Tyrone, was the patriarch of the Mellon family in America.  He it was with his two sons who founded the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh in 1869.   Mellon Bank was to be the driving force in the financing of the new industries that sprung up in America in the next fifty years -  in oil, aluminium, consumer electronics, and financial services.  The Mellon family often used the bank as a proxy for their own investments in these companies:
  • Thomas's son Andrew Mellon became one of the richest Americans of his time.  He is remembered not only as an industrialist and financier but also as an art collector.  He served as US Secretary to the Treasury from 1921 to 1932.  Andrew Mellonís marriage, however, turned out to be disastrous. 
  • his brother Richard Beatty Mellon was also a major financier and his line has continued to be important in Pittsburgh's civic causes. 
  • while their nephew William Larimer Mellon co-founded the Gulf Oil company in Pittsburgh in 1907.
Thomas Mellon's descendants comprised one of Americaís wealthiest families.  They built their palatial estates outside Pittsburgh.  Burton Hersh's 1978 book The Mellon Family chronicled the family history.

Another Mellon from Tyrone - Edward Mellon - emigrated to Milwaukee in 1833.   He was a seaman on the Great Lakes and a survivor of the Lady Elgin disaster on Lake Michigan in 1860.

.  John and Mary Mellon left Tyrone in the early 1830's for Lennox and Addington county in SE Ontario.  Lake Mellon there was named after them.  The family history was recounted in Russell D. Jones's 1993 book Mellon Family of the 19th Century.

Australia.  Mellons from Tyrone also came to Australia, settling in Queensland.

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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

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Harriet Mellon was an English actress who starred at Drury Lane in London in the early 1800's.  She was widely celebrated for her beauty and married a wealthy banker.
Thomas Mellon founded the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh in 1869 and was the patriarch of the Mellon family in America.
Andrew Mellon was an industrialist and financier who served as US Treasury Secretary from 1921 to 1932.
Niall Mellon is an international property developer from Dublin who started a trust to provide homes for impoverished communities in South Africaís townships.

Select Mellons Today
  • 2,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania) 
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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