MacIntyre Spelling Variations and Septs
Mac an t-saoir means "son of the carpenter" or "wright" and is a 1,200 year old name.
Prior to 1820-1840 less than five percent of our ancestors in Scotland, America, and Canada had the education to read or write, with possibly a few more people able to spell their own name. The key was pronunciation, or how the name sounded, not how it was spelled. The 41 variations of the name listed here are all pronounced MacIntyre.
Many of the variations developed because of a lack of knowledge. In a given family, as education and a family tradition developed, the spelling of a given family name became more constant for descendents of a given person. Certain variations did continue because of contact with people who did not know the spelling of "MacIntyre" or one of its many variations.
Mistakes were made in official records of births, marriages, army enlistments, sales of land, deaths, etc., because the given name variations were incorrectly recorded. This was due to ignorance of the correct spelling or too much reliance on an oral language versus a written language for everyday communication.
Chris Macintyre of North Queensland, Australia provides the following story of how his family came to spell their name:
My Grandfather spent a great deal of his time researching the MacIntyre Clan during his life, and one point which is made clear here, is the variations on the spelling of the surname. Our branch of the family spell our surname Macintyre with a lower case i. One of the reasons for the slight variations of the spelling of the name is that households containing two or more generations of MacIntyres would have problems with the sorting of the mail, (particularly if there were more than one person with the same christian name - as had often been the case earlier this century). I have a letter from my great-great grandpapa in 1886 reprimanding his daughter at boarding school for reverting the spelling of her name back to include the capital I instead of the lower case for these purposes. Also, different sections of the family changed their spelling of the name to separate themselves from family members they did not wish to have an association with.
Clan MacIntyre septs have fewer name variations. The Wright sept of the MacIntyres has suffered less. Only Wrycht is an ancient variation before 1,000 A.D.
Note: If you know of a spelling variation that is not listed here, please e-mail Todd Oberlander with the spelling. Todd will add the information here.
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