This famous Manx (Isle of Man) surname has no connection with the more usual spelling of "Crane", which is of Anglo-Saxon origins, other than that they are both in a sense nicknames. The Manx "Crain" derives from the Old Gaelic 'Mac Ciarain', which translates as 'the son of Little Kieran', with Kieran itself meaning 'the dark coloured one. Probably half of all Isle of Man surnames are of Gaelic, and mainly Scottish origins, although in this case it would seem that there is a rare Irish association, the Mac Kierans being a small clan in County Donegal. The name has undergone many centuries of development, showing that spelling and dialect even in such a small community as the Isle of Man, remained fluid until the 19th century. The 'Mac' prefix seems to have been dropped in the time of the first Elizabeth (1558 - 1603). The later spelling forms and their first known dates of recording on the island include Craine (1586), Karran (1625), Carine (1643), Carren (1650) Caren (1778) etc. Other early recordings include James McCraine of Douglas, Isle of Man in 1422, whilst one of the earliest settlers in the New World was John MacCarrane (also known as Carrane) who in January 6th, 1679 was a member of the Militia of Barbadoes, within Col. Bates Regiment of Foot. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John McCroyn, which was dated 1408, in the "Manx Name Register", during the reign of King Henry 1V, known as "Henry Bolingbroke", 1399 - 1413. 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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