Recorded in many forms including MacAughtrie, MacAughtry, and the short forms with Mc, or the foreshortened Autry, Caughtry and Coughtrey, this interesting surname is regarded as being Scottish, but is almost certainly of ancient Irish origins. As Scottish it originates from the region and former county of Galloway, an area of south west Scotland on the Solway Firth. The derivation is from the Gaelic prefix "Mac" meaning son of, plus "Aghy", a personal name, and itself a development of the pre 7th century descriptive name "Eachaidh", meaning the horse soldier, itself possibly an explanation as to why the clan are to be found in Scotland at all. The 10th Duke of Argyll it is reported, claimed that "a clan called Mac Uchtre, said to have been from the Garvey, in County Tyrone, long held lands in Glendaruel, Galloway, from the earls of Argyll in the Middle Ages". This is probably correct as the basis of the name would suggest an association with the Irish Mac Caughey, also from County Tyrone. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century, (see below), and another early example is that of John Macuchtrie, who witnessed a charter of office of coronator of Lennox in 1400. Later examples taken from the surviving rolls and charters of the medieval period include: John Ukiltre of Kildalvan, in the Poltallock Writs of 1547, and John Uchiltrie, a clerk of the diocese of St. Andrews in 1576. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Roland Mac Uchtraigh, the leader of the Gall Gaidil. This was dated 1199, in the Annals of Ulster, during the reign of King William, known as the Lyon of Scotland, 165 - 1214. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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