This surname of CHERON was originally from a French personal name of Galic origin, represented in Latin records in the form Caraunus, and probably derived from the Celtic element CAR (to love). This name was borne by a 5th century Breton saint who lived at Chartres and was murdered by robbers; his legend led to its widespread use as a given name during the Middle Ages. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. The name was brought into England at an early date, and moved to Ireland where in Gaelic the name is MacCiarain. Early records of the name mention Ciarain, 1136, and McCarrane appears in 1430. The surnames in Ireland 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'; a group 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 dependents was not uncommon. Just over one hundred years after the Norman Conquest of England, the first Normans arrived in Ireland. Richard de Clare, Second Earl of Pembroke (died 1176), was known as Strongbow. He was invited to Ireland by Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, whose daughter he married, to help him in his wars with his neighbours. He was accompanied by several retainers whose name, like his own, have become well established as surnames in Ireland. The Normans established themselves in Leinster and paid homage to Henry II of England. Some of the Norman settlers acquired surnames derived from the Irish. (Registered at Killinfanghin, County Westmeath, derived from the house of O'Neill through a fourth son.) 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.
The name has many variant spellings which include Carran, Carine, Karran, Caronet, Cheronnet and Cheroneau.
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