This interesting surname, is a variant form of "Meehan", occasionally found in Ulster. Meechan itself derives from two possible sources. Firstly it may be the Anglicized version of the Gaelic "O Miadhachain", translating as "the male descendant of (O) Miadhach, from "miadhaigh", honourable. The name may also be the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Maothain", the male descendant of "Maothan", from "maoth" meaning moist, soft, tearful. This sept were originally found in County Leitrim, and by the end of the 11th Century had migrated and established themselves in the rest of Connacht and County Clare. A metal case containing a manuscript of St. Molaise of Devenish (6th Century) was for over a thousand years preserved by successive generations of O'Meehans and is now in the National Museum of Ireland. Thomas and Denis O'Miachan (O'Meehan) were successive bishops of Achonry (Sligo) between 1251-1285. One Malachi Myhan, aged nineteen years and a tailor, was an Irish famine emigrant, who left Liverpool aboard the "Liberty" for New York arriving on September 11th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edru O'Meighan, which was dated 1152, who held the see of Meath and attended the Council of Kells, during the reign of Turlough Mor O'Connor, High King of Ireland, 1119 - 1156. 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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