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

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

The root of the ancient Dalriadan-Scottish name MacLeod is the personal name Leod. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac Leoid, which means son of Leod, son of Olaf the Black, King of Man and the Northern Isles. Olaf was from a dynasty of Norse Kings, who, for centuries held the Isles. They were in turn descended from King Halfdan the Stingy, a King who was reputed to be descended from the god Frey. Leod held the island of Lewis, the mainland Glenelg and part of Skye in about 1195 AD. It was his two sons who founded the two great branches of the Siol Tormod and the Siol Torquil.


Historical recordings of the name MacLeod include many spelling variations. They include They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. MacLeod, MacCleod, MacCloud, MacLoud and many more.

First found in on the Isle of Lewis (Scottish Gaelic: Ledhas), where the Siol Tormod branch held the territories of Harris, Glenelg and Dunvegan Castle in Skye; while the Siol Torquil branch held Assynt and Cadboll, and the Island of Ramasay. There were no title deeds for these territories as they had been considered possessions of Norway. Yet when King Haakon asserted his authority over the lands in 1263 King Alexander resisted. Although the Scottish King Alexander signed the Treaty of Perth allowing payment of rent to Norway for all these lands, it was never paid and the whole of the western Isles became Scottish possessions.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLeod research. Another 515 words(37 lines of text) covering the years 1314, 1597, 1613, 1715, 1745, and 1777 are included under the topic Early MacLeod History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 75 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacLeod Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name MacLeod, or a variant listed above:

MacLeod Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John MacLeod, who landed in New England in 1651-1652

MacLeod Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • John Macleod, who arrived in Georgia in 1735
  • Alexander Macleod, who landed in North Carolina in 1753
  • Donald MacLeod, who arrived in North Carolina in 1771
  • Donald Macleod, who landed in North Carolina in 1774
  • Alexander MacLeod, who arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774


  • Gavin MacLeod (b. 1930), American actor who is best remembered as Captain Stubing on the "Loveboat"
  • Norman Zenos Macleod (1898-1964), American film director, cartoonist and writer
  • Ken MacLeod (b. 1954), Scottish science fiction writer
  • Dame Flora MacLeod DBE (1878-1976), 28th chief of Clan MacLeod
  • Iain Norman Macleod (1913-1970), Scottish politician
  • John James Rickard Macleod (1876-1935), Scottish physician, physiologist, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • Frederick Robertson MacLeod (1882-1976), Scottish-American golfer and winner of the 1908 U.S. Open
  • Alistair MacLeod OC, FRSC (1936-2014), Canadian author and Professor of English at the University of Windsor, his 1999 novel No Great Mischief was voted Atlantic Canada's greatest book of all time
  • Major-General Malcolm Neynoe Macleod (1882-1969), British Director General of the Ordnance Survey from 1935 to 1943
  • Nathanel William Hamish Macleod (b. 1940), British Financial Secretary of Hong Kong 1991-1995



MacLeod Clan Badge
MacLeod 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 MacLeod
Abbee, Abee, Abeee, Aig, Ailear, Aileer, Ainsco, Ainscoe, Ainscoh, Ainscough, Ainscow, Ainscowe, Aiscew, Aiscey, Aiscoe, Aiscoghe, Aiscoh, Aiscough, Aiscow, Aiscowe, Aiskew, Aiskey, Aiskoe, Aiskoghe, Aiskoh, Aiskough, Aiskow, Aiskowe, Alear, Aleer, Allear, Alleer, Anscoe, Anscoh, Anscough, Anscow, Anscowe, Ansico, Ansicoe, Ansicoh, Ansicough, Ansicow, Ansicowe, Ascoith, Ascoithy, Ascoord, Ascoorde, Ascoork, Ascoorth, Ascoorthe and more.


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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  10. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  11. ...

The MacLeod Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacLeod 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 4 May 2014 at 13:54.

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