Moran is an Anglicized form of two distinct Gaelic Irish sept names - O'Morain and O'Moghrain of Connacht. The Gaelic prefix 'O' indicates 'male descendant of', plus the personal byname Morain, from 'mor' meaning 'great' or 'large'. The original territory of the O'Morans lay in Elphin, County Galway, and at Ardnaree, County Mayo. Another branch of the sept was located in County Leitrim and a Coat of Arms granted to the Moran family of Ballinamore in this county is described as 'azure on a mount proper two lions combatant or supporting a flagstaff also proper there from a flag argent'. A chief of the sept, known as O'Morain, resided near Ballina in County Mayo. Another, O'Moghrain, was chief of Criffon, County Galway. The Galway sept was a branch of Ui Maine, an ancient population group of mid Galway and South Roscommon. The head of the powerful Roscommon family was seated near Ballintobber. One County Offaly clan, O'Murchain, (the sea-warriors), have Anglicized their name Morahan, Morrin and Moran. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Morain, which was dated 1559 - in the Elizabethan 'Fiants' for Connacht, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth l of England, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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