This is a famous Scottish surname, which derives from a place near Cunningham, in Ayrshire. The original meaning was the fort (dun) at a muddy place (Lapach) from the olde pre 10th century gaelic, however it could not have been so unpleasant a spot as the original family have remained in the district since the 13th century. The name was pronounced locally as Dulap or Delap, and occasionally spelt that way as well, an example being Neel Fitz Robert de Dullope in 1296, in fact this record is a confusion of spellings in many ways. It translates as Neil, the son of (Fitz) Robert of Dunlop, who in that year rendered homage to the Scottish revolutionary government. Later in the same year he is recorded as Nel de Dunlopp, when he appeared as a witness on an inquest into the ownership of lands in Berwick. He was probably the original holder of the ancient coat of arms granted to Dunlop c1300 a.d. this being a red two headed eagle displayed, on a (silver) white field. The name is today very popular in the America and Canada, although the spelling form has almost reverted to the original dialectal of the middle ages being found usually as Dalape, Dunlap or Dunlape. Early examples of the recordings include Constantine Dunlop of that Ilk in the Buccleuch Manuscripts of 1496, and William Dunlop the Elder, who it is recorded having emigrated to California in 1680, before returning to Scotland to become Principal of Glasgow University in 1690. He died in 1700 at the age of only fifty one. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Dom Gullelmus de Dunlop, which was dated 1260, a charter witness at the town of Irvine, Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland 1249 - 1286. 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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