This rare and interesting surname is a variant of Lehane, which is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicization of the Gaelic "O'Liathain", meaning "descendant of Liathan", a personal name from a diminutive of "liath", grey. O'Liathain was said to be originally from the Ui Fidhgheinte, of modern day Co. Limerick, who settled in the barony of Barrymore, Co. Cork; however, they are more closely associated with the country north of Youghal, called Ui Liathain by the Four Masters, but the name has been Anglicized as Lyons in this area. The Anglicization Lehane is found in the Courtmacsherry ared (south) of Co. Cork. The name has also been Anglicized as Lyne and Lane. The modern variants include O'Lehane, O'Lyhane, O'Leaghan, Leyhane, Lyhane, Lihane, Leehane and Lyhan. Recorded in Irish Church Registers are the baptism of Catherine, daughter of Cornelius Leehane and Julia Buckly, on August 5th 1849 at Killarney, Co. Kerry, and the marriage of Daniel Leehane and Catherine Keeffe on February 18th 1868 at Dromtarriff, Co. Cork. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Father Matthew O'Leyn, which was dated circa 1560, an Irish Franciscan martyr, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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