The surname of O'QUINN is the most numerous name in County Tyrone. The Irish O'Cuinn is from the personal name Conn. Early records of the name mention Mac Cuinn, 1027 Ireland and Maghnus Mac Cuinn is mentioned in the Annals of Loch Ce among the leading men killed at the battle of Desert-creagh in 1281, which resulted in a victory for the Cenel Eoghain over the Cenel Conaill. Most of these of course were Ulstermen. Ireland is one of the earliest sources of the development of patronymic names in northern Europe. Irish Clan or bynames can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. and Mac (son of) and O (grandson or ancestor of) evolved from this base, the original literal meaning of which has been lost due to the absence of written records and linguistic ambivalences which subtly but inexorably became adopted through usage. Genealogists and lexographers accept that the patronymic base does not refer to a location, quite the contrary. The use of the prefix 'Bally' (town of) attaching to the base name, identifying the location. The base root was also adopted by people residing in the demographic area without a common ancestor. These groups called 'Septs' were specially prevalent in Ireland. The first Normans arrived in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries to form an alliance with the King of Leinster. Under Elizabeth I in the 16th century, settlers from England established themselves around Dublin, then under English control and Presbyterian Scots emigrated to Ulster, introducing English and Scottish roots. This is the name of an ancient Irish family, whose forebears were once chiefs of the clan Heffernan. One of their earliest recorded ancestors is Donogh Quin, living in 1551. They are unusual in being one of the few Celtic families in the peerage, holding the titles Earl of Dunraven and Mountearl. 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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