This is an Irish clan surname. It derives from the Gaelic O'Mianain, and was originally recorded almost exclusively in the county of Donegal. The name translates as 'the descendant of the son of 'Goodwill', and presumably the name was originally a nickname for a godly man, a hermit, or similar, one who dispensed goodwill. Many Irish surnames have similar semi-religious roots, roots which suggest that the nameholders, whilst not in holy orders themselves, were followers of holy men. In some cases the names suggest that the original holders were priests, and it is not generally known that the ban on the marriage of priests did not take effect until the 10th century, about 1000 years after the death of Christ.
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