The surname of BOHANAN has the associated arms recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Coundoun, County Warwickshire to Ralph Boun of Blakewell, County Derbyshire, during the reign of Henry V1. (1422-1461). The name is also spelt BOHAN, O'BOHANE, BOHANNAN and BOUGHAN. It is a surname found in all the provinces of Ireland but its main concentration is in Connacht, in County Leitrim and County Galway. They are the name of a family founded by the Norman Humphrey de Bohun, whose fourth descendant Henry, in 1199 was made Earl of Hereford. Humphrey, fourth Earl of Hereford (1276-1322) was taken prisoner at Bannockburn, and fell at Boroughbridge. In 1380 the heiress of the earldoms of Hereford, Essex, and Northampton married Henry Bolingbroke. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. Early records of the name also mention Edward Bohun, recorded in County Dublin in the year 1273. The Irish prefixes of Mac (son of) and O (grandson or descendant of) gave rise at an early date, to a set of fixed hereditary names in which the literal patronymic meaning was lost or obscured. These surnames originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept' of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by their dependents was not uncommon. Later, nicknames were in some cases to supersede the original clan names. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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