This notable Scottish surname is a an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "MacDubhghaill", a patronymic from the male given name Dubhghall, composed of the elements "dubh", black, dark, and "gall", stranger. This was frequently used as a byname for Scandinavians, in particular to distinguish the darker-haired Danes from fair-haired Norwegians. The McDougall clan are descended from one, Dugall, eldest son of Somerled of the Isles, and were described by the late Dr. Alexander Carmichael as "one of the most unobtrusive and honoured families in Scotland".In the process of Anglicization "MacDhubhghaill" acquired many variant spellings including: McDugal(d), McDougal(l), McDowall, McDuall, McDool, McCool(e) and McCole. Early recordings of the surname include: Robert M'Kowele, Lord of Karsnelohe (Ayrshire, 1370); Fergus Macdowylle (Roxburghshire, 1374); Duncan MacCoull of Lorn, justice of the peace for Argyllshire, 1610, and Ewin M'Dougall (Dunaverty, Argyllshire, 1647). Francis Thomas McDougall became archdeacon of the Isle of Wight in 1874, and Sir Patrick Leonard MacDoughall (1819 - 1894), was a distinguished Scottish general. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is divided quarterly with a silver lion rampant in the first and fourth azure quarters, and a black lymphad, with a flame of fire proper issuing from the topmost, in the second and third gold quarters. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Duncan MacKowle, founder of the Priory of Ardchattan, which was dated 1230, in the "Medieval Records of Argyllshire", during the reign of Alexander 11, King of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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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