This interesting surname is of English, Scottish and Irish origin, and has three possible source, the first being a variant of Kerr, which is of Northern English and Scottish origin, and is a topographical name for someone who lived near a patch of wet ground overgrown with brushwood. The name is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "kerr", from the Old Norse "kjarr". The second source is Irish, and it is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Carra", descendant of Carra, a byname meaning "spear". The third source is also Irish, and it is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic "MacGiolla Chathair", son of the servant of Cathar, a personal name derived from "cath", battle. Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes, or from some illustrious warrior, and are usually prefixed by "O", meaning grandson, or male descendant of, or "Mac" denoting "son of". The surname development since 1200 (see below) includes: Robert Ker (1231, Northumberland); William Carre (1279, Oxfordshire); and John del Car (1332, Lancashire). Among the recordings from Scottish Church Registers are: the marriage of John Carr and Emilia Macullum, on June 23rd 1807, at Irvine, Ayr, and the marriage of Thomas Carr and Margaret Mar, on August 21st 1809, also at Irvine, Ayr. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osbert de Ker, which was dated circa 1200, in the "Records of the Abbey of Rivaulx", Yorkshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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