The surname of MORGAN was a common Welsh personal name which was taken to Ireland and Scotland by settlers who established themselves in both countries. In Scotland, the name existed mainly in Aberdeenshire. Early records of the name mention Morgund de Glenesk, who rendered homage in Forfar in 1296. James Morgound was fined for resetting Clan McGregor in the year 1613. John Morgan, son of Richard Morgan, was baptised at St. James's Church, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1616. Thomas Morgan of Chester, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1702. In Ireland the name became O'Mordain and O'Moghrain. Four of their septs were in Connacht. The Leitrim families are known as Morahan. 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 found before the year 1000. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. 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.
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