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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Scottish-Alt, Scottish

Where did the Scottish MacLean family come from? What is the Scottish MacLean family crest and coat of arms? When did the MacLean family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the MacLean family history?

On the Scottish west coast, the MacLean family was born among the ancient Dalriadan clans. Their name comes from a devotion to St. John. The surname is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Gille Eathain, a patronymic name meaning "son of the servant of Saint John." The Clan is descended from Eachan Reaganach, (brother of Lachlan the progenitor of the Macleans of Duart). These two brothers were both descended from Gilleathain na Tuaidh, known as 'Gillian of the Battleaxe', a famed warrior of the 5th century. Eachan, or Hector was given the lands of Lochbuie from John, the first Lord of the Isles, some time in the 14th century.


In various documents MacLean has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. MacLean, MacLaine, MacLane, MacLeane, MacClean, MacClain, MacClaine, MacGhille Eoin (Gaelic) and many more.

First found in the Western Isles where the Clan held extensive lands on almost every island in the Western Hebrides.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLean research. Another 277 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1411, 1500, 1745, 1560, 1630, 1582, 1658, 1604, 1666, 1620, 1651, 1649, 1651, 1645, 1674, 1651, 1674, 1650, 1687, 1670, 1716, 1674, 1716, 1745 and are included under the topic Early MacLean History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 209 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacLean Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the MacLean family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 121 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

MacLean Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Andrew Maclean, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

MacLean Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • John Maclean, who landed in Maryland in 1716
  • Allan MacLean, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740
  • Neil MacLean, who landed in New York in 1770
  • John MacLean, who arrived in America in 1775

MacLean Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Bridget MacLean, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Owen MacLean, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Peter MacLean, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Thomas MacLean, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Henry Clinton Maclean, who arrived in New York in 1835


  • John MacLean (1800-1886), American educator, president of Princeton University (1854-1868)
  • Norman Fitzroy Maclean (1902-1990), American author, and professor of English at University of Chicago
  • Bryan Andrew MacLean (1946-1998), American singer, guitarist and songwriter
  • Paul D. MacLean (1913-2007), American physician and neuroscientist
  • David John MacLean (b. 1953), Scottish politician, member of the UK Parliament for Penrith and The Border
  • Alistair Maclean (1922-1987), Scottish author who wrote popular thrillers, best known for The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare, all of which became very successful films
  • Steven George "Steve" MacLean (b. 1982), Scottish footballer
  • John Maclean MA (1879-1923), Scottish schoolteacher and revolutionary socialist
  • Craig MacLean MBE (b. 1971), Scottish five-time gold, six-time silver and four-time bronze medalist track cyclist
  • Dougie MacLean OBE (b. 1954), Scottish singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer



The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Virtue mine honour
Motto Translation: Virtue is my honour.


MacLean Clan Badge
MacLean Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...


Septs of the Distinguished Name MacLean
Beaton, Beatson, Beatton, Beddon, Bedon, Beeton, Beth, Betton, Bey, Biddon, Bidon, Clain, Claine, Claing, Claink, Clean, Cleand, Cleane, Cleant, Cleen, Cleend, Cleent, Cleind, Cleint, Cleyn, Cleynd, Douey, Douie, Dowey, Dowie, Fadan, Fadand, Fadane, Fadant, Faddan, Faddand, Faddane, Faddant, Fadden, Faddend, Faddent, Faddgin, Faddian, Faddiand, Faddiane, Faddiant, Faddien, Faddiend, Faddient, Faddin and more.


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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  3. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  6. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  10. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  11. ...

The MacLean Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacLean Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 3 October 2014 at 11:26.

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