This name is of Scottish and Irish origin, and 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', meaning 'might, rule', and is found in 13th Century Scotland as 'Dofnald', 'Douenald' and 'Dufenald'. As a surname it first appears in 1328, when one Haket Donald paid his 'contribution for peace' to the Bailie of Kinross, recorded in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. David Donaldson was one of the tenants of Campsie in 1443. The variants Donelson and Donalson are most widespread in Northern England and in Ulster. On February 17th 1708 Christian Donelson, an infant, was christened in Drumbo Presbyterian, County Down and on November 7th 1727 Simon Donalson and Mary Hull were married in St. Mary-le-Bow, Durham. On March 27th 1867 the birth of James, son of David Donalson and Mary Jane Brady, was recorded in Banbridge, County Down. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Donaldson, of the Garrison of Edinburgh Castle, which was dated 1339, Scottish Public Records Office, during the reign of King David II 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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