MacMaghan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The MacMaghan family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name MacMaghan is derived from the son of Matthew.  In Gaelic, the name was spelled M'Mhathain or Mathanach. The latter names in Gaelic were probably derived from Mac Mhathghamhuin which means son of the bear. Indeed, early references of the name have reference to the Scottish bear.  
Today, early legal records provide a plethora of information about the family with various early spellings. Some of the first records include, "Robertus filius Mathei [who] witnessed a charter by Walter filius Alani, a. 1177. John Mathyson and Michael Mathowson were outlawed as part guilty of the slaughter of Walter de Ogilvy, Sheriff of Angus, in 1392." 
Early Origins of the MacMaghan family
The surname MacMaghan was first found in the Scottish Highlands were they could be found in Lochalsh, Lochcarron and Kintail. They are said to descend from Gilleoin of the ancient and royal house of Lorne. They gave their allegiance to the Clan MacDonald, the Lord of the Isles. Kenneth MacMathan (Cormac Mac Mathian) was the constable of Eilean Donan castle and is recorded in most accounts of the invasion of King Haakon IV of Norway against Scotland in the 13th century. One accounts suggests that McMathan and his clansmen fought under the Earl of Ross, defeating Haaken at Largs in 1263.
There is a record of Kermac Macmaghan in Inverness, receiving 20 cows from the Earl of Ross in 1264. "In the Norse Saga he is called Kjarmak son of Makamal = Corniac Macmathan. The Siol Mhathain, a sept of Matheson, in an old Gaelic song appears as Siol Mhothan. Matheson has been adopted as the English form of the name simply on account of the similarity of sound." 
Early History of the MacMaghan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacMaghan research. Another 418 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1263, 1400, 1411, 1427, 1498, 1514, 1427, 1600, 1539, 1570, 1631, 1688, 1715, 1719, 1820, 1851, 1683, 1796, 1878, 1851 and 1963 are included under the topic Early MacMaghan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacMaghan 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. MacMaghan has been written as Mathieson, MacMaghan, MacMathan MacMaken, Mathie, Mann and many more.
Early Notables of the MacMaghan family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Margaret Matson, one of two women tried in Philadelphia for witchcraft in 1683; Sir James Nicolas Sutherland Matheson (1796-1878), born in Shiness, Lairg, who made a great fortune in the opium trade, and was created the 1st Baronet of Lewis in 1851. His family proceeded to buy the former Clan territories: James Matheson...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacMaghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacMaghan family to Ireland
Some of the MacMaghan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 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 MacMaghan 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 MacMaghan or a variant listed above include: Alexander Matheson, who arrived in Boston in 1736; Charles Matheson, who came to Nova Scotia in 1773; John Matheson, who settled in Pictou, N.S. in 1773.
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The MacMaghan 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: Fac et Spera
Motto Translation: Do and hope.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
- ^ 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)