Is darach mi fhein. (Oak is my name)
' Darroch ' is a surname that, while not common, seems to be obviously very Scottish to Scots. None of its members appears to have attained fame and conversely none seems to have been notoriously infamous. No Darrochs are listed in encyclopaedias of proper names.
' Darroch 'is a form of the Gaelic word for ' oak 'which is spelled ' darach '. This was likely from an ancient form ' dara ' with an added suffix ' ach ' or ' och '. This suffix is fairly common in Scottish expressions, such as ' Sassenach ' a person or thing from Saxony. " Ach 'in Gaelic also means 'a field '.
No doubt some people who came from families of 'Darrochs ' have changed the spelling to ' Darrock ', ' Darragh ', 'or ' Darrow ". ' Darragh ' seems to be the form used in Ireland and in the United States immigrants often spelled the names as they sounded. Thus we get ' Dara ', ' Darrow ' and ' Darrah '. The correct pronunciation, if one can manage it, seems to be ' Dar-r-o-cch '. ' Darroch ' seems to be the only form acceptable as Highland Scottish. In addition place names in Scotland referring to oak use this spelling most often, such as Annie Laurie's home, ' Craigdarroch ' - ' oak hill ' and ' Auchindarroch ', in Gaelic ' the field of the oak '.
The name could have been adopted by some individual or family in the time of the Lordship of the Isles, either as a nickname for some distinguishing characteristic or because to be called ' Macdonald ' in Macleod or Campbell country was not prudent. I any case the name was found in some parts of Scotland by 1450.
At present ( 1970 ) it is not common. In the Glasgow phone book there are 52 names, in the Western Scotland book, taking in Kintyre, Islay, etc. there are 22 names. In the Edinburgh book there are 6, and in the north of Scotland book there are none. In Canada and the U.S. some of the largest cities have one or two, and in the Toronto book there are 20. In rural Canada there may be 200. In Scotland many would not have phones. In the births, marriages and deaths in the Oban Times the name has occurred about six times in four years. For every male member there would probably be a sister who married. In the whole world there may not be more than 1000 families carrying the Darroch name.
Darroch is not a name likely to be chosen by a person changing his name, so that one can assume that every Darroch was born one or adopted. A generation can be considered as 25 years. In a time of large families, numbers should double every generation. Figuring back from the above estimate of 1000 families in 1950, and taking a very conservative estimate of the male members doubling every 50 years, ten generations would bring the numbers down to one or two families in 1500. This was a time of calamity for the Macdonalds. The lordship of the Isles was forfeited by them in 1493. It may have been about this time that ' Darroch ' was established as a surname in Kintyre or Jura.
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