Hannay is a famous name which originated chiefly in County Galloway, Scotland, but which is almost equally popular in Ireland. It derives from the personal name "Attannay", itself an anglicized form of the old patronymic "Ap Sheanaigh" meaning "Son of Senach". Hannay was often written "Hanna" and both names were introduced into Ireland with the arrival of Robert Hannay (alias Hanna, Hana) of Mochrum, Kirkcubright, Scotland, who was among the Planters in County Longford (1621). He was later made a Baronet in 1630, his Coat of Arms granted on the same date having the blazon of a silver field, charged with three roebucks heads, couped in blue, collared in gold.The crest is a cross crosslet fitchee, and the motto 'per ardua ad alta' - translating as 'through straits to height'. The Irish version of the name was formerly written as O'Hannay (O' hAnnaidh) and is one of the few examples of a Scots Gaelic surname with the "O" prefix meaning "male descendant of". Canon Hannay (1865 - 1950) wrote many popular Irish novels and plays under the Nom-de-Plume, George Bermingham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Hannethe of Wiggetone, which was dated 1296, "rendered homage" to the interregnum government, during the reign of King John Balliol of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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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