This Scottish surname MACKARRA is derived from the name 'MACARA' - also spelt MACCARRA' (son of the charioteer' from old German 'Ara' 'charioteer'). The surname is still current in Perthshire. MACARAS were classed as a sept of Macgregor and were settled in Perthshire mainly in Balquhidder and on the Braes of Monzie near Crieff. They appear as portioners of Drymmie in Strathearn during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and several individuals of the name appear around Dunblane within that period. The Baron McAra was a Perthshire heritor in l688. The Reverend John M'Cara was ordained minister of the Burgher meeting house at Burntshels c. l745 and M'Carro was concerned in the Rebellion in the same year. John M'Caira was a private in the Reay Fencibles in l795 and Sir Robert Macara, colonel of the Black Watch was killed at Quatre Bras in l8l5. Twelve persons of the name MACAREE are in the Dunblane Commissariot Record from l680 and the name was common in Muthill district. The name is believed by some to mean 'son of the king'.The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year l000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (l057-l093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. Between the llth and l5th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of l066. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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