There is some considerable doubt as to the origination of this surname. It seems to be native Irish and according to the famous Victorian Irish etymologist Father Wolfe, descends from the old Gaelic pre 10th century O'Muireagain, which would suggest that if he is correct, that the meaning is 'The son of the descendant of Mary'. This is probably a reference to a follower of the Virgin Mary, whose popularity reached a peak between the 12th and 15th centuries, although it has scarcely diminished in Ireland today. However as this synopsis is conjecture and is in no way proven, it also has to be considered that the name is a developed form of the Anglo-Welsh 'Morgan', a surname introduced into Ireland in the medieval period, and now popular in most counties in the land. The later etymologist Edward MacLysagh however barely accepts this proposal, and makes a compromise claim that most Irish Morgans, Murricanes, Merrigans, and Murrigans, descend from O' Muireagain. The answer would seem to be that nobody knows for sure, but within the above grouping of surnames, Morgans out number the rest by a factor of ten to one. Examples of recordings include Mary Merrigan, the daughter of Daniel and Anne Merrigan, christened at Cullen, County Dublin, on March 1st 1864, and Margaret Merrgan, daughter of Patrick and Mary Merrgen, christened at Williamstown, County Galway, on June 26th 1868. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Phillipa Morgan, which was dated September 14th 1666, who married John White at Yougal, County Cork, during the reign of King Charles 11, known as 'The merry monarch', 1649 - 1685. 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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