This surname is of Scottish origin and is derived from the Old Scots-Gaelic "M(a)c" meaning son of and "brathair" a friar; hence "the friar's son". Robert Edgar quotes in his history of Dumfrieshire that, "of all the families springing from Dumfries the MacBrairs have the longest and most honourable connection, having been virtually hereditary provosts of the burgh for nigh 150 years". The surname was first recorded in the latter part of the 14th Century and can be found with variants McBrair, McBriar and McBraire.Other early recordings of the surname include Herbert M'Brare for whom a remission was granted in 1473, and John Dominik M'Bair was a witness in Bute (1491). On June 18th 1697, Margaret McBrier, daughter of John McBrier and Margaret Cook was christened in Edinburgh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andrew McBrair, bailie of Dumfrieshire, which was dated 1384, (The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland), during the reign of King Robert 11, "King of Scotland", 1371 - 1390. 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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