This fine Irish name is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "Mac an Chrosain". The Gaelic prefix "mac" means "son of", plus the personal byname "Crosan", rhymer; hence, "son of the rhymer". This name was borne by two distinct septs, the one belonging to Tir Chonailll (Co. Donegal), and the other to the Leinster counties of Laois and Offaly. Richard Mac Crossan of the Donegal sept was Bishop of Raphoe in that county towards the end of the 14th Century. Present day representatives are widely found in the bordering Counties Tyrone and Derry, but in the latter place, the prefix "mac" has, to a large extent, been dropped. The Leinster family were hereditary bards to the great O'More and O'Connor septs of Counties Laois and Offaly, and in the Chancery Rolls of 1550, reference is made to a pardon "for Owen Oge Mac Crossan, of Ballymaccrossan (King's County), rymer". Francis McCrossen, a clerk, aged 19 yrs., who embarked from Belfast on the "Thetis" on February 25th 1847, was a famine emigrant to New York. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Mac an Crossan, which was dated circa 1350, Bishop of Raphoe, recorded in the "Ecclesiastical Records of Co. Donegal", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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