This interesting and unusual surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O' Cunin, which is derived from the Gaelic "coinin", meaning rabbit. The surname is found almost exclusively in North Connacht, and it is basically the same as the Gaelic "O' Cuinneain", which has been Anglicized as Kinnane and Kinane; this name has the same meaning, and is found mainly in north Tipperary, and has the occasional variants of Quinane and Guinnane. Today, the name is mainly found in County Roscommon and East Mayo.One Ellen Cunnane aged eighteen years was one of the many Irish emigrants to America between the years 1846 - 1851, as a result of the Great Famine of 1845 - 1846. Among the recordings in Ireland are the marriage of Joannes Cunnane and Anna Kenedy on February 14th 1855 at Kilmacterge, County Sligo, and the baptism of Thomas, son of Patrick Cunnane and Margret Boyle, on January 26th 1866 at Ballyhaunis, County Mayo. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O' Coinin, which was dated 1317, Thomond, County Clare, Ireland, during the reign of King Edward 11 of England, "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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