The surname Collins has a variety of likely origins in Britain and Ireland:
Alternative spellings or related surnames include Collin, Colling, Coling, Collings, Colings, Collis, Coliss, Collen, and Collens. A great number of Welsh origin surnames share a similar etymology to English ones - Where in English names the forename of the patriarch is suffixed with 'SON' (as in Peterson, Richardson, Johnson) in Welsh names the 'SON' is simply the letter "S" (Phillips, Davies, Davis, Williams) and Collins may have been one of the surnames to have originated in this way.
The Domesday Book (compiled in 1086) was the first to document names in England and Wales and at this time only the upper classes were literate. During the time between this and the first census of 1801 names continually changed due to the illiterate nature of the British population. Indeed the need to be able to complete such documents may be a key factor in the change to fixed spellings.
The earliest documented evidence of the name in England dates back as far as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries where several instances have been recorded. One Colinus de Andresia appears in the pipe rolls of Berkshire in 1191, while a Colinus is mentioned in Hartopp's Register of the Freeman of Leicester recorded in 1196. The name Colinc is also mentioned several times in the Domesday Book. The personal name Colin from which the surname derives has an even older history; Ceawlin, the king of the West Saxons, Caelin, a brother of St Chad, and the early Welsh saint, Kollen, all have names related to Colin. In Ireland, Collins is a genuinely indigenous Irish name; in fact, it is one of the most numerous surnames, ranked number 30.
Corresponding WeRelate sources