This interesting name, with variant spellings Erraught, Enraught(y), and the archaic forms MacEnryckty and MacKenraghty, is an anglicized form of the Olde Gaelic MacIonnrachtaigh. The Gaelic prefix 'Mac' means 'son of', plus the person byname Ionnrachtach for which there are two distinct interpretations, the first being 'upright' and 'lawful' from 'ionracas', honesty, and the second being an adjectival form of 'ionradh' meaning 'attack', hence; 'the Attacker' or 'Plunderer'. As a personal name Inreachtach is found in early Irish Annals, whence the family name MacIonnrachtaigh. In the sixteenth century Fiants ('Fiant litterae patentes') we find the form MacErachta in County Longford with MacEnryckty and Kinraght occurring in Kilmallock, County Limerick. The variants Enraughty and Enright are particularly well recorded in Limerick church registers from the mid 18th Century. On October 26th 1742 Mary Enraughty, an infant, was christened in Rathkeale, County Limerick, and on March 25th 1768 Catherine, daughter of Michael Enright was christened in St. John's Church, County Limerick. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Father Maurice Mackenrahty, chaplain to the Earl of Desmond, which was dated 1585, he was beheaded in Clonmel, County Tipperary, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 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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