Recorded as Donald, Doneld, Donnell, and the patronymic Donaldson, this is a surname of Gaelic origins. It is derived from Mac Domhnall, or the son of Domhall, composed of the elements dubro meaning world and val - to rule. It was recorded in 13th century Scotland in the spellings of Dofnald, Douenald and Dufenald, with an early example being Lucas filius Douenald. He was a prisoner of war of the English in 1296, being held at Berkhamstead, according to the calendar of documents of Scotland. The surname itself first appears in the 14th century in Scotland (see below) whilst in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland Haket Donald paid his "contribution for peace" to the bailie of Kinross in 1328.David Donaldson was one of the tenants of Campsie in 1443 whilst Patrick Donell was the keeper of the kings wardrobe in 1516. Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson (1812 - 1867), was an Australian statesman and finance minster of New South Wales in 1856. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Donalde. He was a member of the garrison of Edinburgh Castle in 1339, as recorded in the calendar of documents during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. 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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