Some Magee's are descendants of settlers named McGee who came from Scotland to Ireland in the 17th century, but whose remote ancestors were Irish who had gone to Scotland centuries earlier. Others of the name descend from Mag Aodha families who had never left their Ulster homeland. 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. Thomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868) was the Irish born Canadian writer and politician born in Carlingford, County Louth. In 1842 he left Ireland for Quebec and Boston, where he worked for the 'Boston Pilot'. He became the editor aged 19 year. He returned to Ireland in 1845, where he was identified with the Young Ireland Nation, but moved on again, this time to Montreal in 1857. His published works include 'A Popular History of Ireland' in 1862. 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. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
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