The surname of McANDREWS was a baptismal name 'the son of Andrew' meaning manly. The name was originally derived from the Gaelic MacAindreis. Early records of the name mention Andrew (without surname) was a monk of Dunfermline, and became bishop of Caithness in the reign of David I. Willelmus McAnderewe, of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Andreu was the vicar of Briston in County Norfolk, in the year 1442. Malcolm MacAndree was a tenant of the bishop of Aberdeen in 1511. Thomas Fuller and Elizabeth Andrewes were married in London in the year 1619. The name was a very popular font name in the 12th century in Scotland, but it soon became widespread all over England and Europe. This Scottish and English surname is in Ireland in all the provinces since the early seventeenth century and is now numerous in Dublin and north-east Ulster. It has been sometimes used as a synonym of MacAndrew, and that name was found frequently in medieval records. 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 found before the year 1000. The Irish prefixes of Mac (son of) and O (grandson or descendant of) gave rise at an early date, to a set of fixed hereditary names in which the literal patronymic meaning was lost or obscured. These surnames 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' 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 their dependents was not uncommon. Later, nicknames were in some cases to supersede the original clan names. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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