This unusual and interesting surname is a Manx variant of "MacAirt", son of Art, a Celtic male given name reflected in the Gaelic "art", and the Welsh "arth", meaning "bear". One of the earliest recorded bearers of this distinguished forename was Art MacMurrough, King of the Irish province of Leinster (1376 - 1417). Traditionally, Gaelic family names are taken from the heads of tribes, revered elders, or some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", grandson, male descendant of, or "Mac", denoting "son of".In the process of Anglicization "MacAirt" has acquired many variant forms including: McCart, McCard, McArt(e) and McArd. Occasionally, MacCart is a shortened form of the Scottish patronymic "MacArthur", son of Arthur, from the Celtic "artos", a bear. Aghmacart in Queen's County (Laois), translating as "the field (agha) of the MacCarts", locates a branch of the sept. Recordings of the surname from Church Registers include the marriage of Owen McArt to Katherine McChillchoell on November 22nd 1658, at Derry Cathedral, Templemore, Londonderry, and the marriage of John McArd and Margaret Crebbin at Kirk Rushen, the Isle of Man, on April 25th 1829. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donald McAne McCart, tenant of Daweskkir, Islay, Argyllshire, which was dated 1541, in the "Exchequer Rolls of Scotland", during the reign of King James V of Scotland, 1513 - 1542. 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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