This surname with variant spellings Flannagan, Flanaghan, Falnagan, etc., is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic O' Flannagain, the prefix "O" meaning "descendant of" plus the personal name "Flannagan", a diminutive of the Gaelic element "flann" meaning "red(dish), ruddy". The main sept of the surname is found in Connacht, and Flannigan is numbered among the hundred most widespread surnames in Ireland, taking sixty-ninth place on that list. They sprang from one Flanagan who was of the same stock as the Royal O' Connors, and his line held the hereditary post of steward to the Kings of Connacht. The surname dates back to the early 14th Century (see below). Church Records include Robert, son of Richard and Margaret Flannigan who was christened on December 3rd 1797 at Dromore Parish, Co. Down, and Margaret Flannigan who married William Allen on October 23rd 1798 in St. Giles Cripplegate, London. Notable Irishmen of the name include Roderick Flanagan (1828-1861), founder of the "Sydney Chronicle", and Thomas Flanagan (1814-1865), author of the "History of the Church in England". David Flannigan, together with his wife Jane and daughter Elizabeth, were famine emigrants, who sailed from Liverpool aboard the Stephen-Whitney bound for New York on April 6th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donough O' Flanagan, Bishop of Elphin, which was dated 1308, Medieval Records of Ireland, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307-1327. 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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