Recorded as Donald, occasionally Doneld or 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. As a personal name only and before the advent of surnames from about the year 1350, it was recorded in the spellings of Dofnald, Douenald and Dufenald, with an early example being Lucas filius Douenald. According to the Calender of Documents for Scotland, he was a prisoner of war of the English in 1296, being held at Berkhamstead.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. In the church registers of the city of London we have the recording of Mary Doneld who married the exotically named Richard Lovekin at St Leonards Shoreditch, on January 25th 1775. 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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