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

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

The Len family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name Len is derived 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.

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Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents Len has been spelled 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Len 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 Len History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Len 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.

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Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Len were among those contributors: James Elizabeth, Anne, Daniel, James, Lettice, McLean who were all on record in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767; Duncan McLean, who settled in Boston in 1766.

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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.

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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Len Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Len 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 13 December 2013 at 11:58.

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