This interesting surname is of Scottish origin and is one of the many old spellings of MacDowall, which is an Anglicization of the Gaelic patronymic "McDhughaill", and translates as, son of Dougal or Dougall. It is thought that the Macdowells of Galloway descended from the ancient lords of Galloway. McDalland and McDill are two other examples of ancient variants of this name, which have become fixed surnames. The following examples illustrate name development after 1296, (see below) Fergus MacDowile (circa 1306), Dundan MacDuel (1307), Duugal M' Douloille (1312), John Mc Dill (1526), Margaret M' Dull, and Janet Maddull appear in Edinburgh records of 1602 and 1677, and one Patrick Mc Dull was skipper in Leith, in 1675. This name appears in Lanarkshire in the form Mc Dill, for example the marriage of John Mc Dill, and Angus Mc Lees on September 1st 1852, at Barony, Lanarkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Fergus McDuhile, which was dated 1296, Wigton, Scotland, during the reign of King John Balliol, 1292 -1296. 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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