This famous surname is of ancient Gaelic origin. It derives from the medieval Irish surname O'Gallchobhair, meaning the male descendant of Gallchobhair. This was a personal name composed of the elements "gall", meaning foreign, and "cabhair", help, suggesting that the original name holders were foreign mercenaries, possibly Welsh. The O'Gallachers belonged to County Donegal and are one of the Cineal Connall line. That is one of the families descended from Connall Gulban, a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, given as being a 4th century King of Ireland. However in the somewhat fluid genealogy of the period, it would seem that the current name was more likely acquired during the 14th century, when their chiefs were marshalls in the armies of the O'Donnell's of Donegal. Recorded as Gallagher, Gallahar and Gallahue, the name is mostly associated with the province of Ulster. Early examples of surname recordings include that on July 18th 1826, of Catherine Gallagher who married Mathew McElhinny, at Clondavaddog, County Donegal, whilst earlier on July 23rd 1626, Charles Gallacher married Marjory Barron at Edinburgh Parish Church, in Scotland. The coat of arms most associated with the family has the blazon of a silver shield charged with a black lion rampant treading on a serpent in fess proper, between eight green trefoils. The crest has a red crescent, and out of the horns, a serpent erect proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Teag O'Gallchobhair. This was dated 1350, in the "Ancient Records of Tirconnell", County Donegal. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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