This interesting and unusual surname is an Anglicized form of two distinct Irish septs. Firstly, it may be from "O'Caithniadh", which is composed of the Gaelic elements "O", male descendant of, and "caithniadh", battle, champion. This sept of Ui Fiachrach Muaidhe (Mayo/Sligo) were predominant as chiefs of Erris until subjugated by the Barrets in the 13th Century. They were then largely but not entirely dispersed, as some are still found in County Mayo. The other sept, MacAnnaidh (later this became MacCannaidh), belongs to Thomond, and though nowhere numerous, it is extant in east Clare. In the 16th Century they appear in that part of Thomond near the city of Limerick. MacCanny of the Castle of Drumbanny being the most notable of the family. Later, they were of Ballycasey (now called Firgrove) in the barony of Bunratty. This family is now extinct. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Canny, Canney, Coney and Caney. On July 10th 1670, the christening of Anne, daughter of Edward and Anne Caney, took place at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, and the christening of Catherine, daughter of Patrick and Bridget Caney, took place at Ballygawley, County Tyrone, on March 20th 1864. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts three silver lions passant in pale on a blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of MacCanny, of the Castle of Drumbanny, which was dated 1598, in the "Ancient Annals of Ireland", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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