Show ContentsMacLachlan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the MacLachlan family. The root of their name is the personal name Lachlann. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Lachlainn, denoting the son of Lachlann. Although most feel Lachlan Mor, a great Chief who lived by Loch Fyne in the thirteenth century, is the Clan founder, the legend of descent from the ancient Gaelic King, Niall of the Nine Hostages, who reigned in 400 AD, offers some clues as to the clan's early origins.

Lochlann, in old Gaelic means literally, 'Norway,' and was the favorite Christian name of the royal house of O'Neill in Northern Ireland, a house descended from Niall of the Nine hostages, and said to be the family with the oldest history in Europe. A branch of the O'Neill's took the surname MacLochlain and soon became rival Kings to the O'Neills.

King Brian O'Neill slew the last King Domnall MacLochlainn. His son Anrothan, who was ancestor of the MacLachlans in Scotland, married the daughter of the King of Scots, thereby gaining the inheritance of Cowall and Knapdale in Scotland. Anrothan MacLachlan was progenitor of the MacLachlans of Strathlachlan, the Lamonts, the Lyons, the MacSorleys, the MacEwans, and the MacMillans. It was in the mid-twelfth century that each of these branches separated into distinct entities.

Early Origins of the MacLachlan family

The surname MacLachlan was 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 this Clan first settled in Scotland in 1100 when Lachlan was heir of Fergus, Lord of Galloway. In 1238, a charter recorded Lachlan Mor's father increasing the endowment to Paisley Abbey.

When, in 1292, King John Baliol erected Argyll into a sheriffdom, Gillescop MacLachlan was one of the twelve principal barons whose land it encompassed. In 1296, Ewen MacLachlan was forced to swear loyalty to the English King Edward I, but this loyalty was formally changed back to Scotland in 1305, when Gillescop MacLachlan, like his neighbors the Campbells, swore allegiance to Robert the Bruce. Gillescop was a member of the Barons of Bruce's first parliament at St. Andrews, in 1308. [1]

King John of England (reigned: 1199-1216) was also known as John Lackland from the Norman French, "Johan sanz Terre" or "John without land."

Early History of the MacLachlan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLachlan research. Another 104 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1292, 1600 and are included under the topic Early MacLachlan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacLachlan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. MacLachlan has appeared in various documents spelled MacLachlan, Lachlan, MacLachlane, McGlothan, McGlothin, MacLauchlan, MacLauchlane, MacLauchlin, MacLaughlin, Lauchlan and many more.

Early Notables of the MacLachlan family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early MacLachlan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacLachlan Ranking

In the United States, the name MacLachlan is the 16,848th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the MacLachlan family to Ireland

Some of the MacLachlan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States MacLachlan migration to the United States +

Ancestors of many of the Dalriadan families who crossed the Atlantic still live along the east coast of the United States and Canada. Some Scottish settlers arrived in Canada during the American War of Independence as United Empire Loyalists, while others stayed south to fight for a new nation. The descendants of Scottish settlers in both countries began to rediscover their heritage in the 19th and 20th centuries through Clan societies and highland games. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name MacLachlan or a variant listed above:

MacLachlan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James MacLachlan, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1851
  • D. A. MacLachlan, aged 39, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, in 1892
  • James MacLachlan, aged 29, who settled in America from Scotland, in 1896
MacLachlan Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Lachlan MacLachlan, aged 33, who landed in America from London, England, in 1907
  • Archibald D. Maclachlan, aged 38, who immigrated to America from Kerswell, England, in 1909
  • Crawford Maclachlan, aged 42, who landed in America from London, England, in 1909
  • Alexander MacLachlan, aged 51, who landed in America, in 1912
  • Angus Maclachlan, aged 20, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia MacLachlan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

MacLachlan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Collin Maclachlan, aged 27, who arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"

Contemporary Notables of the name MacLachlan (post 1700) +

  • Patricia Marie MacLachlan (1938-2022), née Pritzkau, an American children's writer noted for her novel Sarah, Plain and Tall, which won the 1986 Newbery Medal
  • Amanda MacLachlan (b. 1984), American actress and writer, known for her work on Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012), The Reception (2011) and Still Young (2012)
  • Samantha MacLachlan (b. 1970), American actress, known for Set It Off (1996), Tear It Down (1997) and Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story (1996)
  • Janet MacLachlan (1933-2010), American actress, known for The Thirteenth Floor (1999), Heart and Souls (1993) and The Boy Who Could Fly (1986)
  • Jamie Maclachlan, American actor, known for his roles in Maleficent (2014), Four Minutes (2005) and Gunpowder 5/11: The Greatest Terror Plot
  • Angus MacLachlan, American playwright and screenwriter, best known for writing the screenplay for the 2005 film Junebug
  • Kyle MacLachlan (b. 1959), American Golden Globe Award winning and two-time Emmy Award nominated actor
  • Ewen MacLachlan (1775-1822), Scottish scholar and poet
  • Squadron Leader James Archibald Findlay MacLachlan DSO DFC (1919-1943), British World War II flying ace credit with over 16 confirmed aerial victories, famous for returning to operations with an artificial left arm
  • Ross MacLachlan (1957-1991), Canadian pianist; he performed for Diana, Princess of Wales, on her visit to Kingston, in October 1991
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The MacLachlan 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: Fortis et fidus
Motto Translation: Brave and trusty.

  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)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?"., on Facebook