The Irish Clan of O'Quane, O'Quaine and Quan is principally identified with East Munster i.e. East Cork and County Waterford, however in the Irish Census of 1659, the Clan Mac Quan is recorded as being one of the prominent names of Co. Monaghan (Ulster). The name derives from the Gaelic "Cuan" which probably translates as "the sea spirit" and as such is the name of a hamlet "Templequain" (The Church of St. Cuan) in Co. Leix. There is however, a possibility that some name holders may have a huguenot origin, the name deriving from the Olde French "Cointe" meaning "The Crafty one", Etienne Quane being recorded at Threadneedle Street Huguenot Church in 1733. Samuel Quan was a witness at St. Martins in the Field, Westminster on May 11th 1732. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Catherine Quayne, which was dated 1600, christened at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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