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Surname MacCadam - Meaning and Origin

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MacCadam: What does the surname MacCadam mean?

The last name MacCadam is derived from the Gaelic MacCadam, which translates to “son of Cadam.” Cadam is the Anglicized form of the ancient Celtic name Cathmhaoil, which means “battle chief.” This surname was originally given to clan Chiefs and their descendants in Scotland, Ireland, and Northern England.

The MacCadam family originally lived in the West of Scotland, particularly in the region of Kintyre and the Isle of Arran. In the fifteenth century, some of the family migrated to Caithness and Sutherland as a result of the increasing English presence. Some members of the family also made their way further south, into the English speaking regions of England, particularly Yorkshire.

Today, the MacCadam family continues to live in Scotland and Northern England as well as throughout the world. The name has evolved to a variety of spellings, such as Macadam and MacCadden. One can commonly find family members who have left their homeland and now live in Australia, the United States, and Canada, amongst many other countries.

The meaning behind the last name MacCadam can remind us of the strength and courage that a battle chief may have had, and the clan heritage that links many MacCadam’s together. It also represents the unity of the family, and of the determination to keep moving forward, as the MacCadam family has done throughout the centuries.

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MacCadam: Where does the name MacCadam come from?

The last name MacCadam is most common today amongst people of Scottish and Irish descent. MacCadam is a surname believed to be of Scottish and Irish origin, and the name has been traced to a Gaelic name, MacCadhmaigh, meaning “son of Cadhmaigh”. Although origin stories vary, it is believed the name has links to a powerful 9th century Scottish Clan descended from Cadhmaigh, the chief of the Cineád tribe of Ireland’s ancient Uí Fháeláin dynasty, descended from legendary Irish Epic hero Conn Cead Caoin.

The MacCadam surname is most commonly found in Scotland, followed by Ireland. Records indicate the first person with the MacCadam surname was a medieval Scottish king named Cademaig, from whom the rest of the Clan is descended. The Clan held high rank in Scotland and, by the 14th century, was recorded in records as having a vast scope of land holdings in Ireland and Scotland.

Today, we find the MacCadam name spread across the United Kingdom. Specifically, the name is more likely to be found in Scotland, Ireland, northern England, and certain parts of Northern Ireland. There are, however, MacCadams scattered throughout other parts of the world, such as Canada and Australia, as a result of migrations throughout the 19th and 20th century.

Variations of the surname MacCadam

The surname MacCadam has various variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin. In Scotland, MacCadam is also spelled MacAdam and MacAdamson. In Northern Ireland, it is also spelled MacAdam. In the United States, it is also spelled MacAdoo and McAdoo.

The surnames MacKadam and McKadam also descend from the same Scottish lineage as the MacCadams. Another variant of the surname in Scotland is MacAddam. In Ireland, the surname is known as MacCathmhaoill in Ulster and MacCadam is spelled MacCeadamh in Connacht.

In the United States, the surname is also spelled as MacKadem, MacKedam and MacKadem. It is also written as MacKaddam, or McCaddam in some forms.

In addition, families of the same clan in Australia and New Zealand have Anglicised their spellings to MacCadam, McKaydon, and McCarthy. Many other spellings may also be used due to migrating families, transcribing errors, and intentional spelling variations, for example MacCadaem, McKedem and MacKaydm.

The MacCadams or their variants may also be found with various prefixes such as Mac, Mc, O', and more occasionally the single letter "M", indicating that the individuals descended from an ancestor known for their knowledge of or involvement with Cadaem, the Gaelic word for battle.

Famous people with the name MacCadam

  • Rob MacCadam, Canadian ice hockey player
  • Rob MacCadam, American National Football League player
  • John MacCadam, Australian businessman and philanthropist
  • David McCadam, English cricketer
  • Angus MacCadam, Scottish entrepreneur
  • George MacCadam, Irish-American theatre producer
  • Charles MacCadam, Canadian farmer and politician
  • Ollie MacCadam, Australian footballer
  • Clifford MacCadam, Canadian politician
  • William MacCadam, Scottish poet and playwright

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