This rare and interesting surname, of Gaelic (Irish) origin, is widespread in the Province of Ulster, and is a variant of the Old Gaelic patronymic MacThaidhg. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken either from the heads of tribes or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "mac" denoting "son of" or "o", male descendant of. In this case, the personal byname Tadhg means "bard", "poet", "philosopher". Tadhg was the name borne by the brother of Connor O'Conor, King of Connacht (deceased 973), and many namebearers claim descent from him. Further Anglicizations of the name include: MacTigue, MacTeague, MacTeige and MacTaidhg, with the more unusual forms M(a)cCague, MacKeague, MacAig and MacHaigh, all widespread in Ulster, resulting from the aspiration of the "T" in the Gaelic "MacThaidhg". There was, however, no actual sept of MacThaidhg, except in Co. Galway where the MacTeiges were a branch of the O'Kellys. Elsewhere, it arose from the perpetuation of an ephemeral surname formed from the Christian name Tadhg, taken by various independent groups in honour of a renowned ancestor at the period when surnames became fixed. On January 14th 1845, John McCague and Nancy Lowry were married at Killyleagh Presbyterian Church, Co. Down. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donal MacTeague, Archbishop of Armagh, which was dated circa 1560, in the "Ecclesiastical Records of Co. Armagh", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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