The Clan/Sept History
The name MacCartan has seen many modifications since the time in which it was
first devised. In Gaelic it appeared as Mac Artain, which means son of Art.
Many different spelling variations of the surname MacCartan were found in the
archives researched. These included Scribes and church officials generally
spelled a name as it sounded; as a result, a person's name could be spelt
innumerable ways in his lifetime. MacCartan, MacCarten, MacCartain, Carton and
First found in county Down, where they held a family seat from ancient times.
Ireland, as an English-controlled colony in the 19th century, suffered the loss
of hundreds of thousands of its native people. The system of land ownership
often did not sufficiently provide for the tenants who farmed the land. This was
most clearly evidenced in the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Previous years
of great demand for grain products and livestock had run the land Down. Many
landowners foreseeing an upcoming crisis often removed families from the land or
forced them to rely on pityfully small plots where only a subsistence living
could be made. When the famines of 1845, 46, and 48 hit, many had nothing.
Disease and starvation became widespread and families boarded ships for
elsewhere any way they could. Those who went to America were instrumental in
developing the industrial power known today: many Irish were employed in hard
labor positions in factories and in building the bridges, canals, roads, and
railways necessary for a strong industrial nation. Research of early immigration
and passenger lists has shown that many bearers of the name MacCartan: Barney,
Thomas, Terrence MacCartan who arrived in Philadelphia between 1808 and 1840;
Charles MacCarton settled in New York in 1811; Thomas Carton who landed in
America in 1751.
Motto Translated: I Strike him.
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