This unusual surname has two distinct possible origins, the first and most likely being from an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic Irish surname O'Brachain. The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal byname "Brachan", a diminutive of "breac", speckled. Further Anglicized forms of this name include: Bracken, Breaghan, Brahon and Brahann. In Petty's "Census" of 1659, the name is widespread in Co. Offaly, then called King's County, and in the Elizabethian Fiants Records of the previous century it takes the form "O'Brackane" in the same part of the country. The form Brahan is most widespread in Co. Limerick. On April 5th 1758, Mary Brahann and George Starling were married at St. John's Church, Limerick, and on April 26th 1842, the christening of Mary, daughter of Samuel Brahan, took place at St. Mary's, Limerick. Brahan may also be a variant form of the Scottish and Irish surname Brain, itself an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac an Bhreitheamhan", son of the judge. Early recordings of the name from Scotland include: Thomas Brayne of Baldowy (1462); John Brane (Dumfries, 1570) and Roger Brain (Glenbervie, 1601). On October 7th 1822, John Brahan and Sarah Crowther were married in Halifax, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Benedict O'Breacan, Bishop of Achonry, which was dated 1286, in the "Medieval Ecclesiastical Records of Co. Sligo", during the reign of King Edward 1 of England, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
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