This interesting name, of Scottish and Irish origin, is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic patronymic name "MacDomhnall", meaning "son of Donald". The Gaelic personal name "Domhnall" is composed of the Celtic elements "dubro", meaning world, and "val", might, rule and is found in 13th Century Scotland as "Dofnald", "Douenald" and "Dufenald". One Lucas filius (son of) Douenaldi was a Scots prisoner of War in Berkhamstede in 1296, according to the Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland. The surname itself first appears in the mid 14th Century in Scotland (see below). Haket Donald paid his "contribution for peace" to the Bailie of Kinross in 1328, recorded in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. Davide Donaldson was one of the tenants of Campsie in 1443, and Patrick Donaldson was Keeper of the Kings Wardrobe in 1516. Walter Donaldson (circa 1620) was a philosophical writer and part of an embassy sent by James V1 of Scotland to Denmark in 1594. Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson (1812 - 1867) was an Australian statesman and was finance minster of New South Wales in 1856. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Donaldson, one of the Garrison of Edinburgh Castle, which was dated 1339, in a "Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland", 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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