This is a famous Irish clan surname recorded in the spellings of Brosnan, Brosnahen, Brushnihan, Brusnane, Brushneen, and many others forms, some very rare indeed. The name was originally found only in the county of Kerry. All early recordings are there, and it is a name which epitomises the survival of the gaelic culture in the remote fastness of the far west of the country. Although the clan was never large, perhaps averaging about 1000 members in Ireland, it has a long history. The derivation is from the pre 10th century O' Brosnachain, meaning the 'son of the descendant of Brosna' it is claimed that the development is from the place called 'Brosna' in Kerry. If this is so then 'Brosnan' is one of the very few (less than ten) locational surnames found in Gaelic onamastics. It is also claimed that there are about thirty variant spelling forms of the surname. It is also said that recordings of the surname have been found as far back as 1333, but whilst we have no doubt that such recordings did once exist, the continual strife in Ireland culminating in the blowing up by the IRA in 1922 of the Public Records Office, has ensured that the gaps in history will never be successfully bridged. Examples of the surname recording include Cornelius Brosnan, whose son Hugh was christened at Curpon, County Kerry, on February 1st 1804, and (a different) Hugh Brosnan, who married Mary Connor also at Curpon, Kerry, on June 24th 1805. The coat of arms of Brosnan has the blazon of a gold lion rampant on a blue field, in chief a red boar on a gold field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Brosnahan, which was dated February 4th 1795, married at Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, during the reign of King George 111, known as 'Farmer George', 1760 - 1820. 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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