Macdonald

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Macdonald, MacDonald, McDonald
Family name
Pronunciation mɨkdɒnəld
Meaning "Son of Dòmhnall"
Region of origin Scotland/Ireland
Language(s) of origin Scottish Gaelic
Related names Donald, Donald (surname), Donaldson, MacDonnell (surname)
Footnotes: [1]

MacDonald, Macdonald, and McDonald are Anglicised forms of the Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic name MacDhòmhnaill, which in modern Gaelic is approximated as McConnell. It is a patronym where Mac means "son" and Dhòmhnaill means "of Dòmhnall". The personal name Dòmhnall is composed of the elements domno "world" and val "might", "rule".[2] According to Alex Woolf, the Gaelic personal name is probably a borrowing from the British Dyfnwal.

In the context of Scottish clans, the various forms of the name refer to one of the largest clans, Clan Donald.

Frequency and distribution[edit]

In Scottish surname data, no distinction is made between, for instance, "Macdonald" and "MacDonald".[3] According to this data, the following frequency information can be collated:

Year(s) Macdonald Rank  %freq[4] McDonald Rank  %freq
1855–1858[5] 2 1.23 <50 <0.30
1901[6] 38 (2)[6] 0.37 9 0.83
1935[5] 2 1.03 <50 <0.28
1958[5] 3 0.98 <50 <0.26
1976[7] 10 0.59 23 0.40
1990[7] 10 0.55 32 0.35
1999–2001[3][7] 9 0.55 24 0.37
Table References[4][5][6][7]

Frequency data from England of 1891 shows a concentration of families bearing the "Macdonald" surname in Lancashire and Yorkshire with a lower frequency in the northernmost counties, but overall widespread distribution throughout the country.[8] "McDonald" shares the same pattern of distribution.[9] Looking at contemporaneous data from the United States, coast-to-coast distribution of both "Macdonald" and "McDonald" appears in 1880.[10][11] Looking back to 1840 in the United States, the prevalence of "McDonald" is far greater than that of "Macdonald", with concentration in the Ohio-Pennsylvania-New York corridor.[12][13]

Notable people: MacDonald surname[edit]

Born after 1400

Born after 1700

  • Jacques MacDonald (1765–1840), French Duke of Tarento and Marshal of the Empire under Napoleon I (2nd generation French; father was Scottish)
  • John MacDonald of Garth, (1771-18660, early partner in the North West Company
  • John Small MacDonald (c.1791–1849), Canadian businessman and provincial politician

Born after 1800

Born after 1900

Born after 1950

Notable people: Macdonald surname[edit]

Born after 1700

Born after 1800

Born after 1900

Born after 1950

Notable people: McDonald surname[edit]

Born after 1800

Born after 1900


Born after 1950

Pseudonyms[edit]

  • Ian MacDonald (born "MacCormick" 1948–2003), British music critic and author.

Given names[edit]

Relationships[edit]

  • Brothers: J.S. Macdonald (b. 1812) ↔ D.A. Macdonald (b. 1817)
  • Brothers: C. McDonald (b. 1955) ↔ D. McDonald (b. 1960)
  • Father-son: A. McDonald (b. 1937) → D. Tennant (McDonald) (b. 1971)
  • Father-Daughter-in-Law: J.A. Macdonald (b. 1874) → M.M. Macdonald (b. 1910)

See also[edit]

Ambiguous human name pages

References[edit]

  1. ^ British surnames - origin
  2. ^ "McDonald Name Meaning and History". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Surnames in Scotland over the last 140 years". Occasional papers. General Register Office for Scotland. Retrieved 2008-02-10. "In this new survey of surnames, as in all previous surveys, we have not distinguished between the varying use of capital letters within surnames e.g. MacDonald/Macdonald. However, as in the previous two surveys, each spelling is noted separately in the tables e.g. McDonald/MacDonald." 
  4. ^ a b %freq = percentage of the sample population sharing a particular surname.
  5. ^ a b c d http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files/01surnames_tablea3a.pdf
  6. ^ a b c http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files/01surnames_tablea4.pdf Note: Quote from GROScotSurnames: "Note that McDonald is shown as more common than MacDonald in 1901, although given the uncertainties surrounding the spelling of these names it would seem wrong to regard this as significant."
  7. ^ a b c d http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files/01surnames_tablea3b.pdf
  8. ^ macdonald Families Living in England and Wales in 1891 - Ancestry.com
  9. ^ mcdonald Families Living in England and Wales in 1891 - Ancestry.com
  10. ^ mcdonald Family History Facts 1880 - Ancestry.com
  11. ^ macdonald Family History Facts 1880 - Ancestry.com
  12. ^ mcdonald Family History Facts 1840 - Ancestry.com
  13. ^ macdonald Family History Facts 1840 - Ancestry.com