This interesting surname, with variant spellings Con, Cone, Connell, Connelly, Connor, Couroy and Conne, widespread in the Auchry area of Aberdeenshire, and in the Province of Ulster, is an Anglicized form of the old Scots Gaelic "Siol Cuin" or "Con", literally meaning "the seed or race of Con", a byname from the Gaelic "con", hound. Bearers of this name proudly claim to be a branch of the great Clan Donald, through descent from a 13th Century William Con, "lauchfull sonne to Donald of the Iles and Kyntyr, chief of the Mackdonald". Members of this clan came to Ireland in the 13th Century and established themselves as gallowglasses in Ulster. However, in this Province, Conn may also derive from MacConn, itself, an Anglicized form of the rare County Down patronymic Mac Mhiolchon, "son of the hound-like one". George Con was the Pope's agent at the court of Charles 1's queen (1636 - 1639); Agnes, daughter of Robert Conn, was christened in Drumbo Presbyterian, County Down, on August 1st 1707, and on April 9th 1847 Catherine Conn was a famine emigrant to New York City. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Conn, witness to the laird of Balfour's bond, which was dated 1552, "Records of Aberdeenshire", Scotland, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Mary Queen of Scots", 1542 - 1567. 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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