This interesting surname recorded in some two hundred forms from Martin and Martini to Marti and Martinovich, is of Roman origin. It derives from "Mars", the god of fertility and war, although it is claimed that "Mars" itself may derive ultimately from the word "mar", meaning "to gleam".
the Scottish Martins are of Gaelic descent. The name was originally Mac Ghille Mhartain (translates to "descendant of a servant, devotee, or follower of St. Martin) which got shortened over the years to McMartin, Gilmartin, Kilmartin, McGilmartin, McGilliemartin, McKilmartin, Martinson or Martin. In the 1600s the Scottish Clan Martin was broken (the king confiscated their lands and outlawed the clan chief) and members of the clan were absorbed into Clan Cameron and Clan McDonald.
The Irish Martin families may be descendants of Scottish Martins who settled in Ireland or may be independently derived.
The original given name has been used in every state in Europe since the 12th century crusades to free the Holy Land from the Moslems. However the main impetus which gave the name such popularity was as a result of the good works of the 14th Century Saint Martin of Tours, in France. It is sais that Martin is one of the few saints names which the protestants accepted after the reformation.
French Martins are probaly mostly independently derived but some may be descendents of the Scots who fled to France after the failure of the 1745 uprising.
There are many patronymic forms such as Martinez (Spanish) or Martenssen (Swedish), and diminutives such as Martineau (France) and Martinelli (Italian). Curiously the Polish spellings of Marcinkowski and Marciszewski are locational, originating from a town called Martin, as is the Czech Martinovsky.