This is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic (Irish) name 'O'Fuarthain, O'Fuarain', meaning 'descendant of Fuar(th)an', a personal name believed to be derived from the Gaelic 'fuar', cold. The name was first Anglicized as O'Forhane and Forahan, these forms being used mostly in County Kerry and West Cork. The modern surname Foran is found most frequently in County Limerick and County Waterford, and it is recorded in some parts of Leinster in the 16th Century. Two of the most well-known bearers of the name were Lawrence Foran, an 18th Century scribe in County Waterford who compiled the 'Book of Portlaw' in 1780, and the Most Reverend Nicholas Foran, who was Bishop of Waterford and Lismore from 1837 to 1855. The marriage of Teade Foran and Catherine Foley was recorded in Newcastle, Limerick, on February 17th 1867. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O Foirtchern, which was dated 1175, Annals of the Four Masters, during the reign of Rory O'Connor, High King of Ireland, 1166-1175. 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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