Recorded as Coultar, Coulter, and Culter, this long-established surname in Scotland and also in the Irish counties of Down and Antrim, is Scottish. It is of locational origin either from the parish and village of Coulter in Lanarkshire, or from the lands of Coulter in Aberdeenshire. These are named 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 more 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 in the year 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"), Father 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 County Down is named from settlement by people bearing the surname. Examples of the name recording include on June 2nd 1692, Christan Coulter, who was christened in Aberdeen, Scotland, whilst on May 9th 1725 the marriage of John Coultar to Jane Smith took place in Downpatrick, County Down. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard of Culter, sheriff of Lanark. This was dated 1226, in the report on the charters of the Duke of Athole, during the reign of King Alexander 11nd of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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