Recorded as Maghon, Mooghan, Moogan, and probably others, this is an Irish surname. It is pre medieval and a dialectal variant of the name Mahon, one of the best known and distinguished names in Ireland. Mahon or McMahon is from the Gaelic 'Mac Mathghamha' and translates literally as the son of the bear, a nickname for the first chief of the clan. This ancient name is borne by two quite distinct septs, one of which belongs to County Clare, where it is extremely numerous, and the family's are descended from Mahon, son of Murtagh Mor O'Brien, King of Ireland (died 1119), whilst the second or Ulster sept of MacMahon became Lords of Oriel in the 13th century and are chiefly associated with County Monaghan.Amongst the sample recordings in Ireland are the christenings of John Moohan, on April 30th 1865 at Carney, Sligo, and Charles Mooghan on August 14th 1865 at Belleek, Fermanagh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Heber MacMahon, the Bishop of Clogher, and dated 1600-1650. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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