This interesting surname of Scottish and Irish origin is derived from the Gaelic "mac Raighne" meaning "son of Raighne" which is a pet form of the personal name Raghuall, itself equating with the Germanic given name Reginald composed of the elements "Ragin" meaning "counsel" plus "wald" "rule". The surname is found mainly in Counties Tyrone and Armagh. The earliest recording dates back to the mid 15th Century (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include McGrane, McGrain, Mac Raing, etc.. One Johanne Mac Grane was recorded at Shepe Grange, County Louth in 1559. Mac Gran appears in the Hearth Money Rolls for County Tyrone in 1664. Alicia, daughter of Harry and Ann McGrain, was christened at St. Mary Magdalene Bermondsey, London, on February 5th 1830. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mac Grane - writer of carols and ballads, which was dated circa mid 1500's during the reign of King Henry V11, "Henry Tudor", 1485 - 1509. 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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