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About the study
My father - Ron Maughan - was always proud of his surname and brought us up to feel the same way; I'm pleased to say it is passing on to his grandchildren also. Ron spent some time over the years investigating and collecting Maughan information both for his pedigree and about the surname itself, and interest in the pedigree and the pride in our name continued with me when he died in 1998.
In the time since I started the Maughan Society with an aim to bring together Maughans into a community, not just a dry exchange of pedigree and name information. It started with a simple mailing list in 1998 and has gradually developed into what we are now working on - MaughanHome, a destination site for Maughans. There isn't a lot on public view at the moment but there's a lot of building going on behind the shuttering with a view to opening the first parts before Christmas 2008.
If you would like to keep in touch, please go to www.maughan.ie and follow the links for our mailing list.
'Ay, there's the rub', as that Hamlet fellow quoth all those years back. Maughan, so Maugham, maybe Mahan, Mochan, Maughen, Maughon, (O)'Mochain/Machain, maybe also Vaughan as claimed by one researcher.
I guess time will tell :)
Surname researchers claim the Maughan originates from the Irish O'Mochain, a sept of the Irish crown. Others suggest it to be a variant of Machain, or to have had Scottish origins.
We feel the most credible origin is the Irish one, the other links arising out of Irish immigrants to Northwest England & Scotland.
History of the name
We have one instance of a St. Maughan in Wales C12, with a backtrail via Cornwall (as St Mawgan) and to France. The assumption at present is that said Maughan/Mawgan was an Irish missionary, spreading the word from Ireland into the 'heathen' areas of western England & Wales.
There are Maughan instances in England at Lanercost Abbey by Hadrian's Wall, and thence up the Tyne Valley via Haltwhistle / Brampton to Alston - from whence Peter Maughan (one of the strongest lines in the US) departed on his journey to become one of the founders of the LDS Church in Utah. The main 'draw' at Alston was lead mining; hard & dangerous work in dreadful conditions.
We can trace Maughans heading east towards the coal mines and thence to the shipyards on Tyneside, where there developed a significant concentration of Maughans.
Various Maughans departed Liverpool port as transportees to Australia, although we have so far had limited success in tracing them thereafter. A branch of the US Maughans followed the lure of gold to Australia and have left a healthy Maughan legacy there.
Distribution of the name
Maughan is relatively common in the west of Eire (County Mayo, County Galway) and in the northeast of England (Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead). It is also scattered across England and around the Scottish Borders.
There are concentrations of Maughans in the US (mainly around Cache Valley) and scatterings in Australia, New Zealand, Canada & Europe.
Our data are at present less organised than we would like, but do include various Maughan pedigrees from England, Ireland, Australia & the US. We also have many unattached Maughans whom we are working to include into one pedigree or another.
Mike Maughan has also been building a mini Maughan Museum which includes various artefacts from Maughans worldwide.
We are in the process of building a web base for all of our data at MaughanHome.