This unusual and interesting name is a peculiarly Manx contradiction of the the Gaelic 'Mac Amhlaoibh' or 'Mac Amhlaidh', anglicized to Mc Aulay, which are patronymics (meaning 'son of') from Gaelic forms of the Olde Norse personal name 'Aleifr' or 'Olafr', Olaf. The derivation is from the Olde Norse 'ans', meaning 'god', and 'leifr', meaning 'relic', from 'leifa', to leave. 'Olaf' was a popular Scandinavian personal name, and was introduced into Scotland and Ireland at an early date by Scandinavian settlers. The Gaelic forms metioned above originated in the Hebrides where there was a strong Scandinavian influnce. Most surnames on the Isle of Man are Gaelic in origin, although they have for the most part been contracted from 'mac' to the initial letters 'c', 'k', or 'q', as in Kewley or Cowley for M(a)c Aulay. 'Cowley' is recorded as a Manx surname in 1587. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jon Kewley, christened, which was dated 6th February 1607, Ballaugh, Isle of Man, during the reign of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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