Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an Irish surname, but one well recorded in Scotland. It is of medieval Irish origin, and derives from the Gaelic 'MacDaibheid', meaning the son of David, although how the hebrew name David came to be found in Ireland at all is a mystery. Today the surname is widely recorded as MacDavitt, McDaid, McDavid, McDade, Davison, McDevitt and others. In its homeland of counties Donegal and Derry, it is generally in the form of McDaid or McDade. The family are said to have descended not from St David, the patron saint of Wales, although this is possible, but from David O' Doherty, a chief of Cinel Conaill, who was killed in battle in 1208. It is said that the new clan grew to be numerous in the town of Inishowen. In its varied forms the surname is also fairly popular in Glasgow, Scotland. Amongst the sample recordings in Ireland are the following random recordings of William John McDade, christened on July 24th 1833 at Dromore, County Down, and Hugh McDavid who left Glasgow on the ship Brooksby, bound for New York on June 1st 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Elizabeth McDeid who married Barnaby Hargan, at Drumachose, Londonderry, in 1750, and during the reign of King George 11nd, known as 'The Last Warrior King', 1727-1760. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. 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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