There is some considerable doubt about the origin of this surname. It is true that the prefix 'Mac' meaning 'son of' is Gaelic, but the suffix 'Cobb' is Olde English, and none of the standard works on Irish or Scottish surnames record it at all. However the earliest recordings seem to be found in Scotland, although the greatest numbers, such as they are (because the name is quite rare), would seem to be in the County Donegal region of Ireland. It is generally agreed that 'Cobb' derives from 'Cobba' a personal and baptismal name of the pre-10th century, and one which describes 'a great person'.'Cobba' itself probably derives from the even older Norse 'Kobbi', and as the Norse were given to exalting their gods and chiefs, it is possible that was the original meaning. The early English influence was very strong in the former kingdom of Strathclyde, which would account for the prevalence of the name, Cobb or Cobbe being quite popular in Scotland and (later) Ireland. 'M(a)cCobb' would seem to be 18th century, but may be older, although this is not proven. Examples of recordings include Thomas McCobb who married Catherine Patterson at Raymoghy, County Donegal on April 17th 1845, and Denis McCobb of Kilmacrenan, County Donegal, on April 9th 1865. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William McCobb, which was dated May 11th 1723, married Agnes Kennedy at Kirkmichael, Ayrshire, during the reign of King George 1, known as 'Hanover George', 1715 - 1727. 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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