The tradition of surnames in Ireland developed spontaneously, as the population increased and the former practice, first of single names and then of ephemeral patronymics or agnomina of the nickname type proved insufficiently definitive. At first the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the father's Christian name or 'O 'to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. This surname which belongs to a branch of the Scottish clan McIntosh, was brought to Ireland by settlers who came to County Antrim in the seventeenth century. At least half of the McCartney families in Ireland still live in that county. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. Early records of the name mention Gilbert McCartnay who had a respite for ' tressonable intercommyng with Inglishemn in 1529. Helen MacCartney is mentioned in 1588 in connection with lands in Dumfries. The MacCartneys of Auchinleck are an old family in Ayrshire, and the Maccartneys of Lissanoure, county Antrim are descended from Captain George Maccartney of this family. William Mackartnay was the burgess of Aberdeen in 1603. Mareon Mackertnah and Girsel Mackernah were charged with being disorderly persons in the parish of Crossmichael in 1684. Scottish surnames fall into two quite distinct groups; those of Gaelic origin and those of English origin. The Gaelic language was brought to Scotland from Ireland around the 5th century AD, displacing the British language (an early form of Welsh) previously spoken there as well as elsewhere. Gaelic was the main language of that part of Scotland not subject to English influence, a rather more extensive area than the present day Highlands and Islands, where Gaelic is still spoken in places. It is from these northwestern and western area of Scotland that surnames of Gaelic origin, now almost universally Anglicized in form, have been disseminated around the world.
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