This long-established surname, widespread in Scotland and in the Ulster counties of Down and Antrim, is of locational origin either from the parish and village of Coulter in Lanarkshire, or from the lands of Coulter in Aberdeenshire, so called from the Scots Gaelic elements "cul", meaning "back", (in the sense of position) and "tir", country, land, district, territory. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the Lord of the Manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Alexander de Cultre, who witnessed a grant by Maldoueny, Earl of Lennox, to Stephen de Blantyr circa 1248, and Andrew de Cultyr, who held land in Aberdeen in 1281.The surname was probably introduced into Ulster by Scottish settlers during the Elizabethan Plantation of that province, and the subsequent Cromwellian Settlement circa 1650. In his "Sloinnte Gaedhael is Gall" ("Irish and English Surnames"), Fr. Woulfe states that Coulter, written in Gaelic as "O Coltair", is an abbreviated form of the obsolete name "O Coltarain", but produces no further evidence to support this contention. The parish and village of Ballyculter in south-east Co. Down is named from settlement by people bearing the name Coulter or Culter. On June 2nd 1692 Christan Coulter, an infant, was christened in Aberdeen, and on May 9th 1725 the marriage of John Coulter to Jane Smith took place in Downpatrick, Co. Down. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard "of Culter", sheriff of Lanark, which was dated 1226, in the "Report on the Charters of the Duke at Athole", during the reign of Alexander 11, known as "The King of Scotland" 1214 - 1249. 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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