Recorded as Lafflin, Laffling, Loughlan, and others, this is apparently a surname of Irish early origins, although with apparently more than a dash of Scandanavia. If so it originates from the word lochlann, meaning a stranger, and was probably a sardonic ethnic byname, applied by the native Irish to pre 7th century Norse-Viking settlers or colonists. It is said to derive from 'loch' meaning lake and 'lann' - land, and appears to succinctly tell a story of invaders who arrived by water to steal the land! Many Irish bearers of the name claim to be descendants of Lochlann, a 10th century lord of Corcomroe, now Kilfenora, in County Clare, but whether this is true or not seems to be lost in the mists of time. What we do know for certain is that somebody created a need for the name, and that during three centuries at the end of the Dark Ages, Ireland and much of England, was firmly under Viking control. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Conghalach O' Loughllin, who was the Roman Catholic bishop of Kilfenora, from about 1281 to 1300. This is taken from the Ecclesiastical Records of County Clare. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.