This most interesting surname, with variant spellings Mac Alester, Mac Alister, Mac Allaster, Mac Allister, etc., derives from the Gaelic "Mac Alasdair", which translates as "son of (Mac) Alexander". Alexander comes from the Greek personal name "Alexandros", defender of men, from the Greek elements "Alexein", to defend, and "aner", man (andros) and nowhere is the name so thoroughly national as in Scotland, where it was introduced by Queen Margaret, wife of King Malcolm Canmore (1057-1093), from the Hungarian Court, where she was raised. It owed its popularity in the Middle Ages to the Macedonian conqueror, Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.). One Alexander Makalester appears in the Black Isle in 1500. Lydia, daughter of Oliver and Lydia McAllester, was christened on February 16th 1746, at St. Anne Soho, Westminster, London, and their son, Charles, was christened at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, on May 24th 1748. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ranald Makalestyr, obtained a lease of lands in Arran, which was dated 1455, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1264 - 1600. during the reign of King James 11, "Ruler of Scotland", 1437 - 1460. 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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