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Macdevitt Coat of Arms / Macdevitt Family Crest

Macdevitt Coat of Arms / Macdevitt Family Crest

This surname MacDEVITT is the name of an Inishowen sept, whose ancestor was David O'Doherty (died 1208) a chief of Cenel Eoghain. An early anglicization of the name was MacCaveat. The name means the 'son of David' which has been perennially popular in honour of the biblical king of that name, the greatest of early kings of Israel, and led to this being a given name throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Its popularity increased in Britain firstly by virtue of its being the name of the patron saint of Wales (about which very little is known); he was probably a 6th century monk and bishop. Ireland is one of the earliest sources of the development of patronymic names in northern Europe. Irish Clan or bynames can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. and Mac (son of) and O (grandson or ancestor of) evolved from this base, the original literal meaning of which has been lost due to the absence of written records and linguistic ambivalences which subtly but inexorably became adopted through usage. Genealogists and lexographers accept that the patronymic base does not refer to a location, quite the contrary. The use of the prefix 'Bally' (town of) attaching to the base name, identifying the location. The base root was also adopted by people residing in the demographic area without a common ancestor. These groups called 'Septs' were specially prevalent in Ireland. The first Normans arrived in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries to form an alliance with the King of Leinster. Under Elizabeth I in the 16th century, settlers from England established themselves around Dublin, then under English control and Presbyterian Scots emigrated to Ulster, introducing English and Scottish roots. Early records and notables of the name include Dr. Daniel Philip MacDavit, Bishop of Derry from 1773 to 1789, and Dr. James MacDevitt (1832-1879) Bishop of Raphoe and author of 'The Donegal Highlands'. His brother Dr. John MacDevitt, was chaplain to the Papal Irish Brigade, and author of works of a religious character. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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