This is an ancient Irish surname, recorded in the spellings of O'Gannon, MacGannon, Gannan, Gannon, and possibly Ganning, Goning, and Gonning, although these spellings may be of Anglo-Saxon origins. The derivation is from the Gaelic "Mag Fhionnain", probably translating as "The descendant of the fair one", perhaps a reference to a Norseman or Dane in the 9th and 10th centuries when much of Ireland was a Viking kingdom. What is known is that from the 14th century the seat of the clan was the town of Erris, in County Mayo, and it is claimed that even in the 20th century more nameholders are to be found in that area, than anywhere else.However all the name spellings are also recorded in England, and it is possible that some at least derive from the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon female name "Gunnhildr". To add further confusion, the spellings as Ganning and Goning may be be anglicised forms of another Irish clan name, O'Cuinneagain, the modern Cunnegan, however this is not proven. Early examples of the surname recordings include Father Michael Gannon, who took part in the 1798 rebellion against English rule, whilst Flora Gonning, was christened at St Pancras Old Church, London, on April 9th 1863. Amongst the unusual recordings is that of Thomas Ganing, aged 16, who was a passenger on the ship 'Zenobia of Liverpool', bound for New York. He left Ireland on May 8th 1847, at the height of the Potato Famine. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Judith Ganninge, who was christened on October 31st 1591, at St Botolph's without Aldergate, London. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess' 1558 - 1603.
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