This unusual surname, almost exclusive to the Munster county of Tipperary, is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Glaisin", descendant of Glaisin, a male given name from a root word "glas", variously interpreted as "grey-green in colour", and "callow, inexperienced", thereby implying either a wan, pale-complexioned person, or one lacking in experience of life. The "O'Glaisin" sept originated in South West Cork which strongly suggests a connection with the O'Gliasain (earlier O'Glasain) sept now nglicized Gleeson.The Gleesons belong to Mac Ui Bhriain Aradh's county between Nenagh and Lough Derg in County Tipperary, but, like the O'Glaisin sept, they too were of County Cork stock, originating in Muskerry (north-west and central Cork). In Petty's 1659 "census" pertaining to Thomond (Counties Tipperary, Clare and Limerick) the surnames: Glisane, Glison, Glyssane, O'Gleasane and O'Glassane may, in effect, derive from either O'Glaisin or O'Gliasain, both having the same stem, "glas". Glasheen and Gleeson are also frequently, though erroneously, recorded with the County Derry name Glashan, itself ultimately coming from the Old Scots Gaelic "MacGlaisein", son of the grey lad. On April 26th 1864, a daughter, Bridget, was born to Patrick Glasheen and Sally Brazzill, in the Cappagh District of County Tipperary, and on October 30th 1865, the birth of Winifred, daughter of Maurice Glasheen and Mary Skehan, was recorded at Emly, County Tipperary. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Glissane, which was dated circa 1640, in "Records of Extensive landowners in County Tipperary", during the reign of King Charles 1 of England, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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