This unusual name is one of the Anglicized forms of the ancient Gaelic name "O Tomhrair", descendant of Tomhrar, which is itself from a personal name of Norse origin, Tomar, from "tomhra(r)", protection. This was the name borne by a Scandinavian King of Dublin in the 10th Century, and it was not uncommon, when Gaels married women of Norse stock, to baptize some of the children by Norse names; Manus, giving the modern surname Macnus, is another example of this. The Gaelic "O Tomhrair" has been Anglicized as Tomer, Tonra, Tonry and Tunry.The Toners were a family of the Cenel Eoghain, who possessed territory on the shores of the River Foyle near Kifford, and later moved into County Derry; the name and its variants is now most usually found in Counties Armagh and Derry. One John Thonor or Thonery was Bishop of Lismore from 1554 to 1565. The christening of John, son of Patrick and Catherine Tonry, was recorded in Roscommon on April 29th 1844. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O Tomhrair, priest of Clonmacnois, which was dated 1011, Annals of the Four Masters, during the reign of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, 940 - 1014. 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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