This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and has two possible sources; the first is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic 'MacCeile', a patronymic of the byname 'Ceile', meaning companion. The second source is from 'MacHaol', which is a Gaelicized form of Howell and was adopted by a Welsh family of this name who settled in County Mayo. The surname Howell is of Welsh origin, and is from the personal name 'Hywel', eminent. Both sources of the surname cannot be distinguished from each other as McHale, unlike most Irish surnames, is almost exclusive to one county, that being County Mayo. The modern surname can be found as McHale and MacHale. Among the sample recordings in Ireland are the marriage of Anthony McHale and Bridget McAndrews on September 10th 1832 at Lackan, County Mayo, and the christening of David, son of Thomas MaHale and Anne Flynn, on December 23rd 1864 at Ballina District, County Mayo. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John MacHale (Archbishop), which was dated 1791-1881, Tuam, County Galway, Ireland, during the reign of King George 111, 'Farmer George', 1760-1820. 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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