This interesting surname is a variant of Darragh, for which there are two likely origins. The most probable origin is as a patronymic name from the Scottish Gaelic MacDara, "son of oak". The Stirling Darrochs derived their name from a placename Darroch, near Falkirk. Mariote Darrach appears as a nurse of Lady Margaret, second daughter of James 11 in 1462. Varying spellings of the name include Darrocht 1550, Darroycht 1553, and Darroche 1561. Darragh is also an Irish name occasionally found with the prefix mac, mainly associated with north-east Ulster, and is Anglicized as "Oakes", as "dair" is gaelic for oak.Maclysaght in his "More Irish Families" says that the name was in Ireland before the immigration of the Scottish during the Plantation of Ulster and equates the early MacDwdara with MacDubhdare which is the gaelic form of MacDarragh. The name appears as Dorrageh or Dorah in the Hearth Money Rolls of Tyrone (1664) and Antrim (1669). James Darragh was one of the Fenian prisoners transported to Australia escaping to New York in 1876. A.S. Darragh, a mechanic is recorded as immigrating from Belfast to New York with two sons and a daughter on the ship "Prince- de-Joinville" on June 28th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Darach, which was dated 1406, in the "Exchequer Rolls of Scotland" (1264 - 1600), during the reign of King James 1,of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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