This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is derived from the Gaelic "Mac an Bhreitheamhnaigh", meaning son of the judge. The name was first phonetically Anglicized as Mac Evrehoona, Mac Vrehonne and Mac Brehon, but today it has generally become Judge. The surname is common is Counties Sligo and North Roscommon and many examples occur in the birth registers of a family using Breheny and Judge indifferently. The Cormac Mac an Brehon, recorded below, whose death was recorded in the Four Masters in 1483, was the "intended ollave (learned man) of Muintir Maelruain" which was a population group comprising the families of Mac Dermot of Moylurg, Mac Dermot Roe, Mac Dermot Gall and Mac Donagh of Tirerril, in County Sligo. One Eugene Mac Brehan was Bishop of County Mayo from 1541 to 1561. The surname can be found as Breheny, Breheney, Brehany, Brehon, Brehan and Judge. Among the recordings in Ireland is the christening of Richard, son of Hugh Breheny, on March 9th 1743 at St. John's, County Limerick. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cormac Mac an Brehon, which was dated 1483, Tirerril, County Sligo, Ireland, during the reign of King Henry V1 of England, "The Founder of Eton", 1422 - 1485. 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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