The surname of MacCORMACK, also spelt McCORMACK, was derived from the Gaelic MacChormaig - a baptismal name 'the son of Cormac'. Early records of the name mention Gillecrist mac Cormac who was a witness to a grant of the Abbey of Deer in 1132. Hester M'Gormock was heir of Gilbert M'Cormock in Barley, Scotland in 1696. The surnames in Ireland originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept'; a group of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by dependents was not uncommon. Just over one hundred years after the Norman Conquest of England, the first Normans arrived in Ireland. Richard de Clare, Second Earl of Pembroke (died 1176), was known as Strongbow. He was invited to Ireland by Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, whose daughter he married, to help him in his wars with his neighbours. He was accompanied by several retainers whose names, like his own, have become well established as surnames in Ireland. The Normans established themselves in Leinster and paid homage to Henry II of England. Some of the Norman settlers acquired surnames derived from the Irish. A notable member of the name was John Francis McCormack (1884-1945) the Irish-born American tenor, born in Athlone. He studied at Milan, made his London debut in 1905 and was engaged for Covent Garden opera for the 1905-06 season, appearing also in oratorio and as a lieder singer. As an Irish nationalist he did not appear in England during World War I, but took American citizenship in 1919 and turned to popular sentimental songs. He was raised to the papal peerage as a count in 1928. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnaminity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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