Recorded as McArt and McCart, this is a surname of both Irish and Scottish origin. It is a developed form of the Gaelic 'Mac Airt', son of Art, a personal name from 'arto', meaning a bear. In Ireland, MacArt is an example of a very common ephemeral patronymic, becoming in some places a hereditary surname. As such it took the form MacCart, which is now mainly associated with Ulster. Art enters into the composition of several early names, such as Artbran and Artgus. MacCart is also a shortened form of MacArthur, which means son of Arthur, a Celtic personal name of obscure and disputed etymology. The modern surname can be found as MacCart, (Mac)Art, (Mac)Arte and Cart. Among the recordings in Ireland are the marriages of Hugh McArte and Rose Doyle on February 24th 1655 at St. Michan's, Dublin, and of Owen McArt and Katherine McChillchoell on November 22nd 1658 at Derry Cathedral, Templemore, Londonderry. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donald McAne McCart, which was dated 1541, Daweskkir, Islay, Strathclyde, 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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