MacAulay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish/English Borderlands and their proud Boernician clans are the ancestral home of the MacAulay family. Their name is derived from the son of Amalghaidh, (an old Irish personal name). The distinguished name MacAulay is derived from the Gaelic name MacAmhalghaidh and was generally found in Dumbartonshire. Alternatively, the name could have come from the Gaelic name MacAmhlaibh or MacAmhaidh, which means son of Amlaib and in this case, the name was originally derived from the Norse King Olafr. This latter branch was generally found in the Hebrides.

Early Origins of the MacAulay family

The surname MacAulay was first found in at Ardencaple, in Dumbartonshire. Ardencaple "cape of the horses," was the ancestral home of the Lairds of Ardencaple and is located on the shores of the Gare Loch, in the historical district of Lennox, county Dumbarton. They were one of the Clans of MacAlpine.

The history of the MacAulay Clan is particularly complex as there are two distinct branches, in addition to an infusion of MacAulays during the reign of Robert the Bruce. The name of Aulay, brother of the Earl of Lennox, is found on the Ragman Rolls, which confirms his pledge of allegiance to King Edward I of England. This branch entered into a bond of manrent with MacGregor of Glenstrae in 1591.

The second branch of this Clan is that of the MacAulays of the Isle of Lewis. These Clansmen claimed descent from Aula (Olaf the Black), who was a thirteenth-century king of the Isles. Their lands were traditional centered around Uig. This branch was probably related to the numerous MacAulays of Ross and Sutherland.

Finally, some members of a branch of the MacAulay Clann from Ireland were invited by Robert the Bruce to Scotland to help in his wars against the English. These last MacAulays may be ancient relatives to those of Ardincaple, Dumbartonshire. It was some while later that the MacAulays were first recognized as a Clan.

Early History of the MacAulay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacAulay research. Another 54 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1595 and 1767 are included under the topic Early MacAulay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacAulay Spelling Variations

In the Middles Ages scribes spelled names by their sound. Often a name was written under a different spelling variation each time it was recorded. MacAulay has appeared as MacAuly, MacAwley, MacAuley, MacAullay, MacAulley, MacAwlay, MacCaulay, MacCawley, MacGawley, Magawley, Cauley, Caulay, McCamley and many more.

Early Notables of the MacAulay family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was the 'MacCawlis' who appear on the roll of Broken Clans in 1595. Their fortunes fell, the last of their lands of...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacAulay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the MacAulay family to Ireland

Some of the MacAulay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States MacAulay migration to the United States +

The ancestors of Boernician-Scottish settlers dot North America even today. They settled all along the east coast when they came over, but some went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the War of Independence. However, these strong lines endured as Scottish families in the United States and Canada have rediscovered much of the heritage that was taken from them centuries ago. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name MacAulay, or a variant listed above:

MacAulay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Kenneth MacAulay, who settled in Philadelphia in 1774
  • Kenneth MacAulay who landed in Philadelphia in 1774
MacAulay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Commodore Macaulay, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]
  • John Macaulay, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1871 [1]

Canada MacAulay migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacAulay Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Macaulay U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name MacAulay (post 1700) +

  • Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), English essayist, historian, and politician, 1st Baron of Rothley (1800-1859), Secretary at War (1839-1841), Paymaster-General (1846-1848); he introduced English as the language of instruction for higher education in India, known as Macaulayism
  • William E. Macaulay (1945-2019), American billionaire businessman, CEO and chairman of First Reserve Corporation
  • Helene Macaulay (b. 1961), American celebrity makeup artist
  • Marc Macaulay (b. 1957), American actor
  • David Macaulay (b. 1946), American author and illustrator
  • Alastair Macaulay, American dance critic for the New York Times
  • Zachary Macaulay (1768-1838), Scottish slavery abolitionist and campaigner, father of Sir Thomas James Babington Macaulay
  • Archibald Renwick "Archie" Macaulay (1915-1993), Scottish football player and manager
  • Frederick "Fred" MacAulay (b. 1956), Scottish comedian
  • Robertson Macaulay (1833-1915), Scottish-born, Canadian insurance company executive
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The MacAulay Motto +

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: Dulce Periculum
Motto Translation: Danger is sweet


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X


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