This unusual and interesting surname, chiefly associated with the Munster county of Cork since the 13th Century, is Gaelicized "O'Sionnan", indicating "male descendant of Sionnan", a byname from "soinnean", force, blast. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", grandson, male descendant, or "Mac", denoting "son of "; however, there is a strongly held traditional belief that Synan is ultimately not of Gaelic origin, but rather a Hibernicized Norman-Welsh name, introduced into Ireland after the Norman Invasion of 1170, led by Richard de Clare, a Norman living in Wales. The Old Welsh male given name "Sionyn" from "Sion", itself a variant form of "Ioan" meaning John, is almost certainly the source of Synan. John goes back to the Latin "Iohannes", Hebrew "Jochanaan", "God has favoured me (with a son)". The surname is particularly associated with the parish of Doneraile in north Co. Cork, and the burial place of this family is Kilbolane, west of Charleville. The Synans or Sinons are one of the few Munster families described in the Spanish archives dealing with Spanish Knights of Irish origin as "illustre"; and one Nioclas Sionan was mentioned as Provincial in manuscripts relating to the foundations of the Irish Franciscan province, dated 1629. The family Motto: "Confido in Domino et non moriemur" translates as "I trust in the Lord, and will not be hindered". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Synan of Doneraile, which was dated 1492, in the "Burial Records of Kilbolane", Co. Cork, Ireland, during the reign of King Henry V11 of England, known as "Henry Tudor", 1485 - 1509. 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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