Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is a Gaelic surname. It is widespread throughout Scotland and in Ireland mainly Ulster. However spelt it is a form of the Old Gaelic "Mac an tsagairt", meaning the son of the priest! The marriage of clerics in minor orders was always permissible in the Catholic Church, but the marriage of priests had been declared illegal and invalid in the 12th Century. However the practice continued throughout the medieval period, though in some instances, the name may have been used to denote someone suspected of being the son of a priest. Early recordings include Donald McKyntagart of Dumfries, in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland in 1459, and who had remission of his fine; William Maktygar "oratour and beidman" of "the Kingis hospitaile of the trinite college besyd" was recorded in Edinburgh in 1504, and Thomas McKyntaggart was a tenant in Strathdee in 1527. William MacTeggart, Dean of Derry (1606), was described as a "worthy man speaking Irish and Latin". Recorded in many modern spellings including MacTaggart, MacTaggert, McTaggert, Taggert, Taggart, and the diminutive Taggerty, the name also appears as MacEtegart and Ateggart in Ulster. The village of Ballymactaggart in the barony of Lurg, County Fermanagh, occupies the centre of the territory originally occupied by the sept. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ferchar Mackinsagart. This was dated 1215, in the "Medieval Scottish Chronicles", during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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