Recorded as O'Hannigan, Hannigan, Hanigan, Hannigane, Hennigan, Hinegan and probably others, this is an Irish surname. The clan O'Hannigan is most recorded in the counties of Tyrone, Dublin, and Waterford, interesting in itself as these counties are about as far apart as it is possible to be! This suggests that in ancient times the clan, which may have originated in County Limerick, was troublesome to the then rulers, and as was common in Ireland, members who caused trouble would be dispersed to different parts of the country. A second possible explanation is that the original nameholders were not Irish at all, since it is believed that the name does translate as the 'Son of Hann' a short form of Johann, a continental form, not found in Ireland before the Norman Invasion in 1170. Yet another explanation is that the name is another spelling of O'Hannon, but again there is no definite proof, and it maybe that all the 'origins' have a part to play. The surname in its recognizable modern form is 16th century as shown below, the nameholder being granted 'English liberty'. In effect this meant that he had shown loyalty to the English crown, was trusted, and could pass unheeded between the countries. Examples of the surname recordings include Mary Ann Hinegan who married William Webb at St Nicholas Church, Liverpool, on New Years Day, 1861, and Mary Hannigan, baptised at Carney, in County Sligo, on December 15th 1866. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Hannigane..This was dated 1556, when he was a burgess of Waterford City, County Waterford Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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