Recorded in several spellings including MacCulloch, McCulloch, McCoulaghe, and M'Ulloch, this is a famous Scottish surname. It has been said that the origin is so ancient that no satisfactory explanation for the etymology exists. Certainly in an early 16th century charter it is quoted that the name is "Ultra memoriam hominium", which translates as "Before the memory of man", but recent research suggests otherwise. The first known recording is that of Thomas Maculagh, given in the records of the proceedings of the government of Scotland as being "del counte de Wyggetone" in the year 1296. This was when he gave his allegiance to the government of John Balioll known as "The Interregnum" of 1296, it being overthrown by Robert, The Bruce, in 1306. The early spelling clearly suggests a derivation from the Gaelic word "cullaich" meaning "wild boar", although curiously the seal of the first name holder bore a squirrel. Furthermore the title of "count" was never one in general use in Scotland, although this Thomas Maculagh is also recorded as the sheriff of Wigtown in 1305. Later name developments include Sir Patrick McCoulagh of Galloway in 1354 who apparently sided with the English and lost some of his lands in consequence, Patrick Makcowloch of Arbroath in 1480, and David McCulloch of Garters, who was a member of the committee for war in August 1643. The name is also well recorded in Ireland from where in 1846 Eliza McCullough emigrated to New York on April 15th, and thereby avoided the infamous Potato Famine of that year. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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