The Norse-Viking era from the 6th to the 11th Centuries A.D., which involved all parts of the British Isles, saw the introduction of many personal names which later developed into surnames. One of the most popular of these names was "Rogn-valdr", translating as "wise-counsel", or even "wise God", a meaning which no doubt increased its usage. Its most obvious manifestation is in the medieval Gaelic form of "Ran(n)ald", or the English "Ronald", from which developed numerous patronymic or diminutive forms, such as MacRanald, MacRamnel or Ronald(son).In this case the name as MacRannel or Grannell belongs originally to County Leitrim (Connacht), their territory being known as Muntir Eolais, although the Clan presumably originated in either Scotland or the Isle of Man, this being the first region to be invaded in the 8th Century. The Clan were very influential up to the war of 1690 when as a result of their support for the Catholic James 11 (1685 - 1690), their lands were expropriated. Examples of the recordings include: John McRannells, of County Tyrone, in 1712; Hugh McGrannell, of County Antrim, in 1864; and Henry Grannell, of County Wexford, in 1865. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gorrif McCrannell (as spelt), which was dated November 21st 1657, marriage to Mary Wilson, at Derry Cathedral, County Derry, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, known as "The Lord Protector", 1650 - 1658. 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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