Recorded in a wide range of spellings including O' Ruane, O' Rowane, O' Roan, Rouane, Royan, Royans, Rowan, Rowane, Rewan, Raun, Roon, and probably others, this is a suranme of ancient Irish origins. It derives from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' Rhuadan meaning the male descendant of the red haired chief, the original name holder. This suggests that this chief may well have been a Viking, as the Norsemen held much of Ireland as well as Northern England and the Isle of Man, for several centuries until about the year 1100. Branches of this clan established themselves throughout the country, and an early example of a surviving recording is that of Moriertagh O' Rowane of Ballinvalle, County Wexford, who in 1584 during the Elizabethan Period, witnessed a pardon on behalf of one of the clan. The famous books know as the Annals of the Four Masters refer to the clan then recorded in the spelling of Rowan, as "people of property and importance in the barony of Gallen, County Mayo," whilst the Connacht branch produced several distinguished ecclesiastics including seven bishops of the province. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Felix O' Ruadhain. He was Archbishop of Tuam, County Galway, and attended the Lateran Council in Rome as an Irish Prelate, during the reign of King Cathal, known as the High King of Ireland, in 1198. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.1224.
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