The surname of McATEER was derived from the Gaelic Mac an Tsaoir, a name meaning 'the son of the carpenter'. It is an Ulster name. Ballymacateer is a place name in County Armagh. Early records of the name mention Nicholas Mac Tsair, 1268, Ireland. Alexander McIntyre was documented in 1390. Duncan Bak McIntyre was the English name of Donnchadh Ban Macan t-Saoir (1724-1812) Gaelic poet and gamekeeper of Beinnodorrain, born in Glenorchy, Argyll. He worked as a forester, fought as a Hanovarian at Falkirk in 1746, and from 1799 to 1806 was one of the City Guard of Edinburgh. He composed a great deal of nature poetry, which was written down by the minister's son at Killin, for the poet was illiterate. 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. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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