This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old Gaelic origin, and is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "MacSceachain", composed of the Gaelic prefix "Mac", son of, and a personal name from "sceach", briar. This name belongs to the Oriel counties of Monaghan and north Louth, where it has often been changed to "Thornton". Skehan is also well known in Tipperary, and is found here with the Gaelic prefix "O", male descendant of (O'Seachain). Skehan is one of those names with which the Gaelic prefix "Mac" or "O" is seldom if ever retained in the Anglicized form. The name may also be found in the Gaelicized form MacSkeaghan. Early examples of the surname include the marriage of Margaret Skeen and Philip Howard at the Church of St. Munchin, Limerick, on February 1st 1731; and the birth of a son, Thomas, to Denis and Mary Skehan at Newport, County Tipperary, on January 20th 1864. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Terence and Maudlin Skin, which was dated April 10th 1710, christening witnesses at Stabannan, County Louth, during the reign of Queen Anne, known as "The Last Stuart Monarch", 1702 - 1714. 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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