This interesting surname is of Old Gaelic origin, found in both England and Scotland, and is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "MacColuim", which is composed of the prefix "Mac", son of, and a personal name derived from "colm", a dove, popular among early Christians as the dove was considered to be the symbol of the Holy Spirit. MacColum itself is an Ulster surname, while without the prefix, Colum is mainly found in County Longford. In Scotland, the name is found as MacCallum and MacCallam. The surname is also Gaelicized as "MacGiolla Choluim", meaning son of the follower or devotee of St. Columcille, from which has arisen the now obsolete surnames MacElholm and MacGillacollom. Petty's "Census" of 1659 listed MacColum as one of the principal Irish surnames in Antrim, while it is also recorded in Tyrone and Donegal and is still chiefly found there. In modern times the name is equally numerous with and without the prefix "Mac". In 1631, Gilbert MacCalme was a merchant in Ayr. Elizabeth, daughter of Gilbert McCollum was christened in June 1643, at Templemore, Derry Cathedral in Londonderry. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of MacGil Colum (no known personal name), which was dated 1171, prior of Ardstraw, County Tyrone, in the "Annals of the Four Masters", during the reign of King Rory O'Conor, last native High King of Ireland, 1166 - 1175. 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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