Recorded as Morgan, the rare Morgen found only thirty seven times in England, and the even rarer Morigan and Morican, this is a truly famous surname of English, Welsh, Scottish and sometimes Irish Gaelic - Celtic ancestry. Originally a personal name from the pre 7th century, it was spelt as Morcant, the change to the 'modern' forms being medieval from the 14th century. The exact meaning is uncertain but Sea Chief or Sea Defender are the generally accepted interpretations. The importance of the name is shown by its incorporation in the name of the ancient Welsh kingdom of Glamorgan. This spelling is a fused form of "Ap Morgan" meaning 'The son of Morgan'. The first true recording as a surname is however English (see below), whilst in Wales the first recording may be that of Thomas Morgaine, a knight of Monmouth in 1538, and in Scotland John Morgane was a burgess of Glasgow in 1419. In Ireland the name is popular in Leinster and Ulster, and in some cases is an anglicisation of Merrigan and Morahan. Here the first recording is that of Edward Morgane of Dublin on April 26th 1654. Not only does the name indicate a sea warrior, it is with the sea that the Morgan name has won most renown. Amongst the most famous of all pirates and seafarers was Sir Henry Morgan, governor of Jamaica and the epitome of the privateering buccaneer of the 17th century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Morgan. This was dated 1214, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Berkshire, in England. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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