MacLaren History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the MacLaren family

The surname MacLaren 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 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.

Early History of the MacLaren family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLaren research. Another 312 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1344, 1698, 1745 and are included under the topic Early MacLaren History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacLaren Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the MacLaren family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacLaren family to Ireland

Some of the MacLaren family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States MacLaren migration to the United States +

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 United States in the 18th Century
  • James Maclaren, who landed in New York in 1772 [1]
MacLaren Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Shaw Maclaren, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1849 [1]
  • D.L.S. Maclaren, aged 33, who immigrated to the United States, in 1892
MacLaren Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Edwin John Maclaren, aged 24, who landed in America from London, in 1903
  • Caroline Maclaren, aged 18, who immigrated to America from Ottawa, in 1904
  • A.C. Maclaren, aged 24, who settled in America from EastLothian, in 1904
  • Douglas Maclaren, aged 6, who landed in America from Glasgow, in 1906
  • Emily Maclaren, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States from Busby, Scotland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada MacLaren migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacLaren Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Peter MacLaren, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • Ethel Maclaren, aged 19, who immigrated to Burlington, Ontario, Canada, in 1914
  • Edith Maclaren, aged 36, who settled in Toronto, Canada, in 1915

Australia MacLaren migration to Australia +

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

MacLaren Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Alex MacLaren, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Hyde" in 1850 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name MacLaren (post 1700) +

  • Fawna MacLaren (b. 1965), American model and actress
  • Mary MacLaren (1896-1985), American film actress
  • Roy MacLaren (1930-2022), Scottish professional footballer, born in Auchterarder who played 205 matches as a goalkeeper (1949-1965)
  • David "Dave" MacLaren (b. 1934), retired Scottish football player and manager
  • James Marjoribanks MacLaren (1853-1890), Scottish architect
  • Norman Angus MacLaren (b. 1948), Scottish Highlands based television and film producer
  • Andrew MacLaren (1883-1975), Scottish Independent Labour Party politician
  • Leon MacLaren (1910-1994), Scottish barrister, politician, philosopher and the founder of the School of Economic Science
  • Ian Maclaren (1850-1907), Scottish minister
  • Charles Maclaren (1782-1866), Scottish writer and editor
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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

  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WILLIAM HYDE 1850. Retrieved on Facebook