Recorded in many forms including Machan, Maughan, Meighan, Meighen, Meegen, Meugens, Mineen, Mohan, Mahan, Moan and probably others, some of which are associated and some which may not be, this interesting surname has several distinct possible origins. It can be either Scottish, English, Irish or Welsh, and all seem to have overlapped in the registers through the passing centuries. Firstly, it may be of medieval Scottish origin, and a locational name from Machan, an old parish in Lanarkshire. This is named from the pre 10th century Gaelic word "machair", meaning river plain. As an example William de Maghan of Lanarkshire rendered homage to Edward 1st of England in 1296. The second possibility is that the name can be Irish, and a form of the Old Gaelic O' Mochain. This is from "moch" meaning early or timely. Two notable branches of O' Mochain existed in Connacht, one at Kilmacduagh in County Galway, and the other at Killaraght, in County Roscommon. Gregory O'Moghan was Archbishop of Tuam from 1372 to 1385. Thirdly it may be a Welsh locational name from places called St. Maughan or Machen, in the former county of Monmouthshire. It is also possibly Dutch-German from the surname Mugen, Muggen or Muggens. An example of a church recording on July 18th 1581, Lancelot Maughan was married to Janet Houghton at St. Nicholas church, Durham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of David de Machan. This was dated 1214, in the Episcopal Register of Glasgow, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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