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We have not found the feminine name Megan, in that spelling, used before 1600. The spelling Megen first appears in 16th century records. It is a Welsh name, probably a pet form of Margaret derived from the much older English pet form Megge plus the common Welsh feminine diminutive ending -en. It is recorded in 1547 as Megen . It has been spelled variously -- and incorrectly -- Meghan, Meagan, Meaghan, Meegan, Maygan.
The name became popular in Britain in the early 20th century when Lloyd-George became Prime Minister. Lloyd-George named his daughter Megan, and this is the first example of the name recorded in the standard references [1, 2]. It is worth noting that Lloyd-George was Welsh; Megan may well have been in informal use in Wales from the mid-16th century onward and simply escaped recognition by researchers.
The name is distinct from Meg, a Middle English pet form of Margaret, recorded in 1254 as Megge. The similar Magge is recorded as early as 1246, and Magg or Mag probably existed by 1200 .
The modern existence of Megan has inspired some attempts to back-form Welsh forms. This process has led to such names as Megwyn, Megwynne, Mægwynn. These are not valid Welsh names. There is no prototheme Meg- in Welsh, and -wyn is a masculine deuterotheme.
Coincidentally, Mægwyn is probably an Old English name: Several other feminine compounds in Mæg- are attested (Mægburh, Mæsuith), and -wyn or -wynn is a common feminine theme. The surname Maywen, recorded in 1332, is most likely derived from Mægwynn. [4, 7] Most Old English given names were not used after the 13th century, and there is no evidence that this one survived as a given name.
Several variants in modern use are widely believed to be Irish names: Meaghan, Meghan, Meegan. At least one of these variants may have originated from a misinterpretation of an Irish surname, O'Meegan. This name is an anglicization of the Irish ó Miadhagáin ; Meegan itself was not used on its own as a given name until modern times. The other variants are modern inventions, probably originating in Australia or Canada .
To summarize: Megen (pronounced \MEG-en\) is a Welsh feminine pet form of Margaret first noted in the 16th century, but not popular until modern times. Mægwynn (pronounced \MAY-win\) is an Old English feminine name probably used occasionally in England from the 8th century to the 13th century. These are the only variants of Megan which have been supported as pre-1600 names.
 Leslie Dunkling and William Gosling, The New American Dictionary of First Names (New York: Signet, 1983).
 E. G. Withycombe, The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977).
 Talan Gwynek, "Feminine Given Names in A Dictionary of English Surnames" (WWW: http://www.s-gabriel.org/names/talan/reaney/, 1996)
 Maria Boehler. Die altenglischen Frauenamen (Nendlem, Liechtenstine: Krauss Reprint, 1967).
 Wyllyam Salesbury, A Dictionary in Englyshe and Welshe (London: John Waley, 1547).
 Patrick Hanks & Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of First Names, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).
 Bo Seltén, The Anglo-Saxon Heritage in Middle English Personal Names (Lund, Sweden: Royal Society of Letters at Lund, 1979).
 Edward MacLysaght, The Surnames of Ireland, 6th ed. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1964).
Problem Names Project articles are published by Sharon L. Krossa, with the assistance of The Academy of Saint Gabriel.
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