This surname of McCARREN is an Irish and Scottish surname, derived from the Gaelic MacCIARAIN, meaning 'the son of Coaran' (dark brown). The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. 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. Early records of the name include Neill McCARREN, who was recorded in 1629, and Duncan M'CARRAN appears in Argyll in 1684. Duncan McCARREN was a rebel in Kilmichael-Glassarie in 1685. From 1759 to 1776 there was a constant flow of emigrants from the Highlands to North America. Between 1763 and 1775 alone, it is estimated that about 20,000 Highlanders left Scotland for the New World. Highland emigrants in their new American homes freely wore the highland dress, and were not forbidden the music of the 'piob-mhor' which was at that period prohibited in the Highlands by Government as a 'weapon of war'. On the outbreak of the American War in 1775, not only were the Highlanders in America loyal to their mother-country, but they raised a regiment in her support (the 84th Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment). At the conclusion of the war, the Highlanders, resisting all offers made to them by the new nation, crossed the border and settled in Canada.
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