This famous Scottish clan surname, recorded as Macall, Maccall, McCall, Maccaull, McKall, McKaile, and others, is a patronymic nickname, with two possible origin sources. Firstly it may be an anglicized form of the pre 7th century Olde Gaelic name "Mac Cathmhaoil". This is a derivation of the personal name "Cath-mhaol" which translates as "Battle Chief", or in this case "son of Battle-chief". An Alternate possibility is that it may be a variant of the patronymic Mac Cathail, "the son of Cathal" from the Olde Welsh "Catgual" meaning "war-wielder".Either way it is clear that the first nameholders were very much descendants of fighting men. The 'modern' surname is first recorded in Scotland in the latter half of the 14th Century, and is very much connected with Dumfriess. Early examples of recordings include Finlay MacChaell, who was bailie of Rothesay in 1501, and Finlay Makcaill, who was recorded in Bute in 1506. In 1607 Matthew McCall of Mayhole, Dumfriess, was charged with assisting the rebels, probably the Clan MacGregor, who had been outlawed by King James V1 of Scotland for persistent acts of violence against the government. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert M'Kawele, which was dated 1370, recorded as lord of Karsnelohe in the Laing Charters. during the reign of King David II of Scotland, 1327 - 1371. 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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