This is a Gaelic surname recorded in Scotland and Ireland. It is in fact Norse in its origins and may well date back to the 7th century a.d. when the Vikings first descended on Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. It derives from the elements 'Thor' - the name of the god of war, and 'cetel' - a cauldron. The Gaelic form being originally 'Mac Thorcaill', although there are no known recordings from the 10th century to absolutely prove this spelling. In the Isle of Man the name is recorded as 'Corkhill' whilst in Scotland it has been found in spellings such as McQuorkell (1613), and McOrkill in 1629. The Scottish McCorkell's are considered part of the clan Gunn. In Ireland the recordings include Joseph McCorkell of Templemore, County Derry, who was christened there on February 15th 1765. Biddy McCorkell, aged only eight, and Margaret, who is believed to have been her sister, aged seventeen, left Ireland on the ship 'Marion of Londonderry', on April 12th 1847, bound for New York. They were attempting to escape the Irish Potato Famine. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jannet M'Korkyll, which was dated 1561, recorded as being 'slain' in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542 - 1587. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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