This interesting surname is of Gaelic origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic (Irish) name "O'Gallchobhair". The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", with the personal byname "Gallchobhair", composed of the elements "gall", strange, foreign, with "cabhair", help. The O'Gallachers belonged to Co. Donegal and are one of the Cineal Connall line, that is one of the families descended from Connall Gulban, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, 4th Century King of Ireland. Their identifying name was possibly acquired during the 14th Century, when their chiefs were marshalls in the O'Donnell military forces in Co. Donegal. The surname is chiefly found in the provinces of Ulster and North Connacht and was recently introduced into Scotland, and can also be found as Gallagher, Gallager, Gallahar and Gallahue. On July 18th 1826, Catherine Gallagher married Mathew McElhinny, at Clondavaddog, Co. Donegal, Ireland, and on July 23rd 1626, Charles Gallacher married Marjory Barron at Edinburgh Parish Church, Edinburgh, Midlothian. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a silver shield with a black lion rampant treading on a serpent in fess proper between eight green trefoils, the Crest being a red crescent, out of the horns a serpent erect proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O'Gallchobhair, which was dated circa 1350, in the "Ancient Records of Tirconnell", Co. Donegal, Ireland, during the reign of King Edward 111 of England, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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