This unusual surname, recorded in Ulster Church Registers from the mid 17th century under the variant spellings McConnell, McKennell, McAnal, McOnel and McInhill, is an Anglicised form of either of two Old Gaelic patronymics, "Mac Dhomhnaill" or "Mac Conchoille", translating respectively as "Son of Domhnall", an ancient Celtic name composed of the elements "dubro", world, and "val", mighty, or "Son of the Hound of the Wood", from "con", hound, and "coill", wood. Both names are chiefly associated with Counties Tyrone, Antrim, and Down, and their phonetic similarity, resulting from the pronunciation of the Gaelic aspirate vowel, caused the Anglicised forms to fall together as if from one source.Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "Mac", (as above) or "O", denoting "male descendant of". The McEnhill family are almost exclusively associated with the parish of Drumragh in Co. Tyrone, containing Omagh, and also with the village of Drumquin, west of Omagh, and for centuries this family were hereditary keepers of the Bell of Drumragh, which is now kept at the Sacred Heart Church there. On July 17th 1864 the birth of Maryann, daughter of Patrick McEnhill and Mary Melley, was recorded at Drumquin, Co. Tyrone. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Daniel Mcc Chonell, witness at a christening, which was dated February 15th 1654, Derry Cathedral, Co. Derry, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, known as "The Great Protector", 1649 - 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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