This interesting surname is a variation of the Anglicized Gaelic name "MacCana". The Gaelic prefix "mac" indicates "son(of)", plus the personal nickname "cano", meaning "wolf cub". The territory of the Mac Canns was situated on the southern shores of Lough Neagh where they were lords of Clanbraasil in County Armagh. The first recorded namebearer died in the mid 12th Century, (see below). One, Donnell MacCanna was chief of Clanbrassil in 1598. On June 18th 1599 the marriage of Mary McCann and Michael Rilie is recorded in Adamstown, Co. Wexford. It occurs frequently in Ulster Church Registers during the 18th and 19th Centuries. An interesting namebearer was Michael Joseph M(a)cCann (1824 - 1883) author of the celebrated poem "O' Donnell Abu". Charles, son of John and Sarah Canny was christened on September 17th 1704 at St. Botolph without Aldesgate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Amhlaibh Mac Canna, a "pillar of chivalry and vigour of Cinel Eoghain" i.e. a clan name, which was dated Deceases 1155, "The Annals of the Four Masters", during the reign of High Kings of Ireland, "with opposition", 1022 - 1166. 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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