MacMellyn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the name MacMellyn lived in the Kingdom of Dalriada. In those days the name MacMellyn was used to indicate a person who bald person; the name may refer to a member of a religious order. The Gaelic forms of the name are Mac Mhaolain or Mac Ghille Mhaoil, both of which mean son of the bald or tonsured one.

However, the origins of the Clan have been shrouded in uncertainty, largely as a result of historians of the Clan Buchanan, and their insistence that both Clans have a common ancestry. Buchanan of Auchmar says that the MacMillans are descended from Methlan, second son of Anselan, a Buchanan Chief of the thirteenth century. His theory supports the Buchanan claim that the MacMillans are but a sept (sub-Clan) of the Buchanan rather than a Clan in their own right. This theory is supported by the contention that both Clans have an ecclesiastical origin: MacMillan being Anglicized from Maolanach, meaning a 'priest.' However, tradition may more properly ascribe the origin from a particular tribe in Moray that has descended from the ancient Pictish tribe of Kanteai, thought to have existed in the first half of the second century AD.

Early Origins of the MacMellyn family

The surname MacMellyn was first found in at Tayside, where in 1263 Cilleonan MacMolan appears on documents. [1] They arrived in Strathtay from the lands in Loch Arkaig after King Malcolm IV transplanted many Clans, including the MacMillans, from that region about 1160 AD. Later, about 1350, the Camerons, who had changed their name to Chalmers, drove them from their Strathtay territories.

In vacating the Strathtay, the Clan branched to many other areas, including Lochaber, Argyll and Galloway. The senior branch, however, were the MacMillans of Knapdale, and they held a grant from the Lord of the Isles inscribed in Latin on a rock at Knap: 'MacMillan's right to Knap shall be, as long as this rock withstands the sea.'

Malcolm Mor MacMillan had received this rock by the 14th century. His grandson Lachlan MacMillan died at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. Lachlan's son, Alan MacMillan of Knap, married the McNeill heiress and took over the Castle Sween. He erected a cross, which still stands to this day in Kilmory churchyard. The cross stands better than twelve feet high and is elaborately engraved, showing a Highland Chief hunting a deer on one side, and a claymore surmounted by certain Clan members on the other.

Important Dates for the MacMellyn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacMellyn research. Another 267 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1775, 1790, 1452, 1454, 1540, 1555, 1745 and 1745 are included under the topic Early MacMellyn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacMellyn Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years MacMellyn has appeared as MacMillan, MacMullan, MacMullen, McMullen, McMullin, McMullan, McMillan, MacMullin and many more.

Early Notables of the MacMellyn family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir Duncan Macmolane, a Pope's knight, chaplain of the collegiate church of Kilmone, 1452; John Macmulan (Makmilane, or Makmylan), bailie (baillie) of...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacMellyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacMellyn family to Ireland

Some of the MacMellyn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacMellyn family

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name MacMellyn or a variant listed above include: Archibald McMillan settled in Wilmington N.C. in 1774; along with Ivor and his wife Jean, James, Malcolm his wife Catherine and three sons; John McMillan was banished from the west country of England and arrived in New England in 1685.

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Citations

  1. ^ 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)
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