Mc is an abbreviation of the
prefix Mac, which means 'son of'. According to "The Surnames of Scotland"
by George F. Black, PhD., McCarley is an anglicized form of MacCarlich,
which means 'son of Charles'. It is no wonder that the McCarleys have
spelled their name so many ways in America. They were just following a
pattern began in Scotland where it has been documented as MacThearlaich,
MaKarlich, McKearly, McCarlie, McCarlyct, McCarliche, McKerlich, and
McTarlichare as well as others. McKerley, MacKerlie, and Macerlich were a
common surname in Breadalbane about 2 or 3 hundred years ago.
There are several indications
that McCarlich's were of the Campbell Clan. "Archibald M'Kerlich in Finlarg
was a vassal of Campbell of Glenurquhay in 1638." "M'Cairlich and
Charlieson...appear to have been Campbells originally, and in Argyllshire
they appear under the old name of M'Kerliche."