This interesting surname is the Anglicized form of the old Gaelic-Irish name "Mac Gann", which itself is the Connacht version of "Mac Cann", from "mac", son (of) and "cana", wolf-hound. In Irish, Mac Gann is "Mag Annaidh", the prefix, "Mac" changing to "Mag" when before a vowel. The Clan MacCanns were situated in Armagh, on the southern shores of Lough Neagh, and were known as the Lords of Clanbrassil. The first recorded name bearer died in the mid 12th Century (see below). One Donnell Mac Canna was chief of Clanbrassil in 1598. The first recording of the name in England, without the prefix "Mac" which was dropped in England, appears in 1641 when one Elizabeth Gann married Robert Shepeard at St. Andrews, Enfield. Earlier spellings of the surname found in records include "Gane", "Gains", "Gayne" and "Gayn". On September 23rd 1571, a Marion Gaine married Charles Tiler of Cowden in Kent. Mary Gann daughter of Robert and Mary Gann was christened on August 5th 1733, at St. John Margate in Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Amhlaibh Mac Canna, a "pillar of chivalry" and visour of Cinel Eoghain i.e. a clan name, which was dated Deceased 1155, "The Annals of the four masters", during the reign of High Kings of Ireland with apposition, 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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