This interesting Irish surname is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Seanachain", the prefix "O" denoting male descendant of, plus the personal name "Seanachan", from "sean", meaning old. The O'Shanahans were a Dalcassian sept of sufficient importance to have a recognized chief, one "Ui Bloid". The territory held by the clan lay between Bodyke and Feakle in Co. Clare, where the name Shanahan still survives. In the year 1318 Ui Bloid and his followers were dispossessed by the MacNamaras, and during the 14th Century they became dispersed all over Munster. The surname dates back to the early 14th Century (see below). Church Records are much later. The include: the christening of Peter, son of Cornelius and Ann Shanahan, on September 23rd 1745 at St. Mary's, Limerick, and the marriage of John Shannahan to Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, on August 27th 1796 in Kilshannig by Mallow, Co. Cork. One Ann Shannahan, aged 19 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Macedonia" which arrived in New York on May 7th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Shanahan, Chief of the clan Ui Bloid, which was dated 1318, in the "Early Irish Records Register", during the reign of King Edward 11 of England, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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