This interesting surname has two possible origins. Firstly it may be of English locational origin, from "Mackley", in Derbyshire, recorded as "Makelai in the "Monasticon Anglicanum" (1150) and "Maceleleg" in the "Feet of Fines" (1252). The placename means "Maccas forest". The name is also a modern variant of a Scottish name from the Gaelic word, "Mac Donnsheibhe", itself from the early Gaelic word, "Mac Donnshleibhe", itself from the early Gaelic, "Duinslebe", brown of the hill, an old personal name among the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland, and "Mac", son of. It is also suggested that the name may derive from the Gaelic, "Mac an leigh", son of the physician, which gave rise to Macleays, from which we get Mackley. The surname first appears in Scottish records in the late 15th Century, (see below). On May 10th 1621, at St. Martin Ludgate, london, Thomas son of Robert and Katherin Mackley was christened at the church of St. Olave Southwark, London, a son of Griffith and Aquilla Mackley, William was christened. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Kenyoch M'Conleif and Donald Scotiae, which was dated 1498, "Origines Parochiales Scotiae", during the reign of King James 1V, "Ruler of Scotland", 1488 - 1513. 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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