This interesting and unusual surname, recorded in church registers of England and Ireland from the mid 16th Century under the variant spellings Slayny, Slany, Slainey, Sleany, Sliney etc., has two distinct possible origins both Irish. Firstly, Slaney may have originated as a rare Irish topographical name from residence in the valley of the River Slaney which flows into the sea at Wexford Harbour. This river is named from the Gallic "Slaine", wholeness or soundness, probably with reference to the healing qualities ascribed to the water by the ancient Druids. Slaney may also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic patronymic Mac Sleimhne. The prefix "mac" means "son of", plus the personal byname Sleimhne, "smooth" or "sleek". This patronymic was assumed by the Norman family of FitzSthepen who resided in County Cork. On June 15th 1551, Edward Slaney, an infant, was christened in St. Mary le Bow, London. One, Gerlad (Mac) Sleyney was noted among the County Cork Elizabethan pardons, (1568), and on February 10th 1847, Pat Slaney and Mary Lenihan were married in Boherbue, County Cork. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peers Slayne, (marriage to Jane Maye), which was dated December 11th 1545, St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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