This very unusual surname is of Irish origins and was originally found exclusively in the province of Ulster. Perhaps not surprisingly it is recorded in many spelling forms some of which are synonyms, such as MacEtegart, MacTaggart, Ateggart etc. The origination is from the Gaelic pre 10th century Mac an Sagairt, which would seem to translate as 'The son (Mac) of the follower (an) of the priest' with 'sagairt' being an Irish form of the Latin 'sacerdos' - priest. This translation is partially proven by the fact that in the pre-16 century period many of the name were recorded as members of the church hierarchy. The name is commemorated by the village of Ballymactaggart in the barony of Lurg, County Fermanagh. Examples of the name recording include Patrick McEntegart, a witness at the christening of his daughter 'Mable' (?) at Drogheda, County Louth, on October 27th 1767, and Anne McEnteggart who married John McCaghy at Doughmore, County Tyrone, on December 1st 1798. Amongst the many people who fled the Irish Famine of 1846/47 was Mary McEntagart, aged twenty, who embarked on the ship 'Liberty of Liverpool', bound for New York on April 8th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William MacTeggart, which was dated 1606, recorded as being the Dean of Derry, during the reign of King James 1st of England & Ireland, and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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