MacCALLUM was the surname of an old Glenbuchat family, an abbreviation of Malcolm. The name in Gaelic is MacCaluim meaning 'the son of the gillie of Calum'. Early records of the name mention Dungall M'Alayne, 1376 Scotland. William Callum in Glenbuchat was fined for reset of two outlawed Mcgregors in 1636. Iain M'Callum Raldounoch was one of those murdered at Dunaverty in 1647. Archibald M'Callome was minister at Glassary in 1648. There are still people of the name in the parish to this day, although the full form Maolchaluim was used until the seventeenth century. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, 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 (1057-1093) 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 '. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
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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