This is one of those very confusing surnames which has both multiple spellings, multiple nationalities and multiple meaings, and is found throughout the Isles of Britain! Recorded as O'Naughton, MacNachtan, MacNaughton, Naughton, Nawton, and possibly others, it can be English, or Scottish or Irish, or even a mix of any of them. If Gaelic, by which we mean Scottish and Irish it may be an anglicized form of the personal name "Nechtan or Neachtain", believed in mythology to be the god of water. It has been suggested that these names themselves originate from Roman god "Neptunus", who could be described as the original sea god. Almost all the Irish O' Naughtons, which are also to be found recorded as Naughton and Nagten, are historically connected with County Clare in the west of Ireland, however the MacNaughtons and possibly other Naughtons and Nawtons originated from Lochow, in Scotland, and when found in Ireland were originally settlers in County Antrim in the 14th Century. The third option is English and locationa. This is from the village of Naughton in the county of Suffolk. This place name derives from pre 7th century words "nafola" meaning a hollow, and "tun" settlement. Examples of recordings taken from surving post medieval registers include: Elizabeth Nawton, the daughter of Robert Nawton christened at St Andrews church, Enfield, Middlesex, on July 8th 1764, and James Naughton who married married Ann North at St Antholins church, Budge Row, in the city of London, on June 22nd 1759. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Donald MacNachtane, the dean of Dunkeld, Scotland, in 1431. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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