This interesting surname is of Irish origin and is the Anglicization of the Gaelic personal name "Cearbhall", which is of uncertain etymology, but thought to be a byname for a butcher or fierce warrior, from the word "cearbh", meaning hacking. The prefixes "O" (grandson or descendant) and "Mac", (son of) were not in general use until the Gaelic resurgence, which resulted in confusion between O'Carroll and Mac Carroll, an entirely distinct name, and the fact that the great majority of people called Carroll, are, in fact, O'Carrolls. The two most important septs of O'Carroll are of Ely O'Carroll (Counties Tipperary and Offaly) and O'Carroll of Oriel (Counties Monaghan and Louth). A notable namebear was one Margaret O'Carroll (circa 1451) famous for her hospitality, education, and as a builder of churches, roads and bridges, and a descendant of the Ely sept. One Edmund O'Carrrol married Catherine Ryan on May 8th 1842 at St. Michael's, Limerick, Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maolsuthain O'Carroll, which was dated circa 1012, in "Co. Kerry, Ireland", during the reign of Brian of Boru, "High King of Ireland", 940 - 1014. 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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