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

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

The age-old Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the MacLaren family. Their name comes from the personal name Laurence. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Labhruinn, which means son of Labhran or son of Laurence. The Clan is believed to be descended from Lorn, son of Erc, who landed in Argyll in 503 AD. Although the lineage before the 12th century is difficult to prove, it has been established that the clan held vast territories called the Braes of Balquhidder. They were recorded as being 'all grand, strong men' and, when the Old Kirk at Balquhidder was being repaired, clan members supervised the exhumation of some of the bodies of ancient members of the clan from the graveyard that was a traditional the burial place of the theirs. They found bones measuring 23 and a half inches long, which makes them big men even by today's standards.

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Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, MacLaren has been spelled MacLaren, MacLaron, MacLaurin, MacLarty, MacClarence, MacPhater, MacFeeter and many more.

First found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where in the valley of Loch Voil between the head of Loch Lomond and Loch Earn they were so powerful that it was once said that no one could take his place in church until the MacLaren Clan were properly seated. They were kinsmen of the Celtic Earls of Strathearn and their branches were at Balquidder, Strathearn, Auchleskine, Stank, Druach and Lochearnside. They engaged neighboring Clans in lively feuds but always remained faithful in their allegiance to the Royal House of Stewart. They were hereditary Celtic Abbots of Achtow and derive their name from Abbot Lawrence. For almost a thousand years the gathering place of the Clan has been Creag an Tuirc, the 'Boars Rock' in Achtow, in Balquhidder. This has also been adopted as their slogan.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLaren research. Another 447 words(32 lines of text) covering the years 1344, 1698, and 1745 are included under the topic Early MacLaren History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early MacLaren Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the MacLaren family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 176 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first MacLarens to arrive on North American shores:

MacLaren Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • James Maclaren, who landed in New York in 1772

MacLaren Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Shaw Maclaren, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1849
  • D.L.S. Maclaren, aged 33, who emigrated to the United States, in 1892

MacLaren Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Edwin Jno. Maclaren, aged 24, who landed in America from London, in 1903
  • Caroline Maclaren, aged 18, who emigrated to America from Ottawa, in 1904
  • A.C. Maclaren, aged 24, who settled in America from East Lothian, in 1904
  • Douglas Maclaren, aged 6, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1906
  • Emily Maclaren, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Busby, Scotland, in 1910


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  • Mary MacLaren (1896-1985), American film actress
  • Fawna MacLaren (b. 1965), American model and actress
  • Charles Maclaren (1782-1866), Scottish writer and editor
  • Ian Maclaren (1850-1907), Scottish minister
  • Leon MacLaren (1910-1994), Scottish barrister, politician, philosopher and the founder of the School of Economic Science
  • Andrew MacLaren (1883-1975), Scottish Independent Labour Party politician
  • Norman Angus MacLaren (b. 1948), Scottish Highlands based television and film producer
  • James Marjoribanks MacLaren (1853-1890), Scottish architect
  • David "Dave" MacLaren (b. 1934), retired Scottish football player and manager
  • Archibald Campbell MacLaren (1871-1944), English cricketer

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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: Creag an tuirc
Motto Translation: The boar's rock.

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MacLaren Clan Badge
MacLaren 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...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name MacLaren
Clarence, Clarin, Clarty, Cleran, Clerand, Clerane, Clerant, Cleren, Clerend, Clerent, Clerind, Clerint, Cleryn, Clerynd, Cloran, Clorand, Clorane, Clorant, Cloren, Clorend, Clorent, Clorind, Clorint, Clory, Cloryn, Clorynd, Faed, Feeter, Feeters, Laran, Larand, Larane, Larant, Laren, Larend, Larent, Larin, Larind, Larint, Larnach, Laron, Larran, Larrance, Larrand, Larrane, Larrant, Larren, Larrend, Larrent, Larrind and more.

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  1. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  9. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  11. ...

The MacLaren Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacLaren 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 1 July 2014 at 13:50.

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