This name, with variant spellings McCord, McCoard, and occasionally Courtney, is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "MacCuarta" or "MacCuairt". The Gaelic prefix "Mac" means "son of", plus the personal byname "Cuairt", literally meaning "visit". This sept belonged to the ancient territory of Oriel (comprising the modern Counties Armagh, Monaghan, and parts of south Down, Louth and Fermanagh). The village of Cappagh, near Dungannon, in County Tyrone is written as "Ceapach Mhic Cuarta" which indicates a further settlement of the MacCuairt or MacCuarta sept. Earlier Anglicized forms of the name are "MacWoorth", in the Lease Records of County Cork, dated 1584, and "MacQuorte", in the 1664 Hearth Money Rolls of Armagh. Seamus MacCuarta or James Mac Court (1647 - 1732), was described as "the greatest of the northern Gaelic poets", and his name was also written as Courtney. On April 23rd 1846, James MacCourt, aged 30 yrs, a famine emigrant to New York, embarked from Newry, County Down, on the ship "Brothers" bound for that port. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bridget McCourt, which was dated October 26th 1757, marriage to Martin Clark, at Dundalk, County Louth, during the reign of King George 11 of England, known as "The Last Warrior King", 1727 - 1760. 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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