MacLennan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The MacLennan surname is an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Gille Fhinneain, a patronymic name created from a Gaelic personal name "Fionnán," from the Gaelic "fionn," meaning "white."

Early Origins of the MacLennan family

The surname MacLennan was first found in Ayrshire where their history vitally is enmeshed with that of the larger Logan Clan. The MacLennan spelling of this name was first found in Druimdeurfait, in Ross-shire, where they were a branch of the Highland Logans, who lived along Loch Lochy. According to family lore, they descend from Gilliegorm, Chief of the northern Logans, who was killed battling the Clan Fraser. His pregnant wife taken captive by Lord Lovat. Her son, born humped back, was called Crotair MacGilliegorm, the "crooked-back son of Gilliegorm." Fearing future revenge on the Frasers by the boy, he was sent to a monastery at Beauly, where he became a monk. He was said to be an ardent follower of the Irish Saint Fhinan, and one of his children took the name Mac Gillie Fhinan, which eventually became MacLennan.

Early History of the MacLennan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacLennan research. Another 247 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1204, 1296, 1329, 1555, 1606, 1609, 1746 and 1890 are included under the topic Early MacLennan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacLennan Spelling Variations

Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. MacLennan has been written as MacLennan, MacLenan, McLennan, McLennen and many more.

Early Notables of the MacLennan family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacLennan family to Ireland

Some of the MacLennan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 61 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 MacLennan migration to the United States +

Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name MacLennan or a variant listed above:

MacLennan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Angus, Donald, Duncan, Farquhar, John, Roderick, and Rory Maclennan, all, who settled in Barbados in 1745
MacLennan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Maclennan, who arrived in Mississippi in 1837 [1]

Australia MacLennan migration to Australia +

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

MacLennan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mary Maclennan, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Royal Albert"

New Zealand MacLennan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

MacLennan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Maclennan, (b. 1835), aged 28, Scottish farm labourer, from Orkney travelling from London aboard the ship "Metropolis" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th June 1863 [2]
  • Mr. Donald Maclennan, (b. 1839), aged 24, Scottish farm labourer, from Orkney travelling from London aboard the ship "Metropolis" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th June 1863 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name MacLennan (post 1700) +

  • Scott Keith MacLennan (b. 1987), Scottish cricketer from Glasgow
  • Ruari MacLennan (b. 1988), Scottish football midfielder
  • Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan, Scottish broadcaster, author and sporting academic
  • John Ferguson MacLennan (1827-1881), Scottish ethnologist
  • Robert Adam Ross "Bob" Maclennan PC (1936-2020), Baron Maclennan of Rogart, a British Liberal Democrat politician, Leader of Social and Liberal Democrats (1987-1988)
  • Michael Lewis MacLennan (b. 1968), Canadian four-time Writers Guild of Canada Award nominated playwright, screenwriter, and producer of television shows
  • John Hugh MacLennan CC, CQ (1907-1990), Canadian author and professor of English at McGill University, winner of five Governor General's Awards and a Royal Bank Award
  • Angus MacLennan (1844-1908), Canadian politician, Member of the Canadian Parliament for Inverness (1896-1908)
  • Harry MacLennan (1870-1950), birth name of Sir Harry Lauder, the Scottish entertainer
  • John Cunningham Maclennan (1867-1935), Canadian physicist
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Frederick Ebenezer Maclennan, Scottish 1st Class Passenger from Glasgow, Scotland, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [3]


The MacLennan 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: Hoc majorum virtus
Motto Translation: This is the valour of my ancestors.


  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  3. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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