Recorded as Marland, Marlin, Marling, Merland, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is locational from a place in Lancashire called Marland near the town of Rochdale, or possibly from a now "lost" medieval place in the county of Devonshire recorded as Merland in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The name derives from the pre 7th century word "mere" meaning a lake or marshy ground, and "landa" which probably described an open, unfenced area. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else, and were best identified by being called after their former village or even town. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, lead to the development of "sounds like" forms. Early examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers of the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England (1558 - 1603) include Ann Marlande of Rochdale on April 21st 1583, Joan Marland who married William Wright on August 23rd 1597 at Manchester Cathedral, and Richard Marlin who married Jenet Armairyding on May 19th, 1606 at Eccleston by Chorley, also Lancashire. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.