Recorded as O' Canny, MacCanny, McCanny, Canny and the dialectals Megany and Meganny, this is an Irish surname, which today is most associated with County Mayo in the far west of Ireland. It has three possible origins. It may derive from the ancient Gaelic name O'Caithniadh believed to translate as 'the male descendant of the powerful warrior', or from the similarly spelt Mac Cannaidh, meaning 'the son of the powerful warrior'. The MacCannys owned the castle and estate of Drumbanny in County Limerick, and were recorded there in 1598. A third possibility is a descent from MacCana, the modern clan of MacCann. This clan was originally from the shores of Lough Neagh where they were lords of Clanbraasil in County Armagh. Early examples of the surname recording include Charles Canny, the son of John and Sarah Canny, who was christened on September 17th 1704 at St. Botolph without Aldgate, in the city of London, whilst William Megany appears in the lists of passengers who fled Ireland for England or the United States, during the Potato Famine of 1846 - 1851. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Amhlaibh Mac Canna, in the records known as "The Annals of the Four Masters", dated 1155. This was during the reign of the High Kings of Ireland, 1022 - 1166. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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