The names McCullough and McCulloch are Celtic names with intriguing origin stories. In North America, the name McCullough is far more prominent than McCulloch. It is clear that some McCulloughs trace their lineage to Clan McCulloch of Galloway, Scotland.
Clan McCulloch is a clan with mysterious origins that date back to “time immemorial.” The lowland clan’s chiefs resided in Galloway, Scotland at castles and estates in Myerton, Cardoness, Ardwell, Killasser, and Barholm. Other branches of the clan included the MacCullochs of Oban (Argyll) (septs of Clan MacDougall) and the MacCullochs of Plaidis (Ross-shire) (septs of Clan Munro and Clan Ross). Multiple theories for the name and family origins exist and warrant further historical, genealogical and DNA study. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the McCulloch name appears in several spelling variations. Of note, the name is often rendered in McCullough in Northern Ireland and North America, as well as variants such as McCulloh and McCullah. Further study is merited to understand whether some of these families and names arose independently from the McCullochs of Myerton, Oban, and Plaidis, and what relationships (whether by blood or affinity) these families may have had with each other.
Learn more about the McCulloch Clan Society Project here.