MacMartain History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Dalriada, in ancient Scotland, is where the name MacMartain evolved. It was a name for someone who lived in either Cameron near Edinburgh, Cameron in Lennox, or Cameron in Fife. Thus, the name Camerons of the Lowlands is of territorial origin, from one of the three places so called. The Highland Clan name Cameron may come from the Lowland name, but it is also derived from the Gaelic word cam-shron, which means wry or hook-nosed.
The Cameron Clan was described as 'Fiercer than fierceness itself' and it was reputed to be one of the most ancient clans of Scotland. The hereditary name of the chiefs of the Clan is MacDhomnuill Duibh, from their ancestor "Black Donald".
The first assured chief of the clan was not found until 1411, when Donald Du reigned in that year. Following this date, the clan split into three separate branches, one each at Letterfinlay, Strone and Glen Nevis, with the clan seat at Lochaber.
Early Origins of the MacMartain family
The surname MacMartain was first found in Angus (Gaelic: Aonghas), part of the Tayside region of northeastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, formerly known as Forfar or Forfarshire, among the hills which surrounded Lochy, Arkaig, and Ely.
The Camerons are said to have traditionally descended from the Kings of Denmark and probably assisted in the restoration of King Fergus II in 404. The first written records of the Cameron Clan date back to the 13th century.
In 1214, Adam de Kamerun was witness to a charter to the monks of Cupar. In 1219, Hugh Cambrun was the sheriff of Forfar and in 1233, Johannes Cambron was a charter witness in Moray. In 1360, the Cameron Clan received the first official grant of the lands of Lochaber and they were later granted Locheil, and Locharkaig, by the Lord of the Isles.
In 1360 they received the first official grant of the lands of Lochaber. They were later granted Locheil, and Locharkaig, by the Lord of the Isles. The Camerons were continually at feud with the Clan Chattan, and notable amongst the battles was that of Charles Hill. Suffering defeat in 1370 they rose to prominence at the Battle of Harlaw, but again were forfeited. King James IV restored their lands in 1493.
Early History of the MacMartain family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacMartain research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1422, 1423, 1446, 1579, 1625, 1629, 1647, 1680, 1693, 1695, 1715, 1719, 1748, 1793 and 1890 are included under the topic Early MacMartain History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacMartain 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. MacMartain has been written as Cameron, MacGuillonies, MacSorlies and many more.
Early Notables of the MacMartain family
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was John Cameron (d. 1446), Bishop of Glasgow and chancellor of Scotland, said to have belonged to a family of Edinburgh burghers, and to have drawn his name more remotely from the Camerons of Craigmillar, and not, as was formerly asserted, from the Camerons of Lochiel. In 1422 he was appointed official of Lothian by Archbishop Wardlaw of St. Andrews (Crawfurd). Two years later he was acting in the capacity of secretary to the Earl of Wigtown (December 1423), who gave him the rectory of Cambuslang in Lanarkshire. 
John Cameron (1579?-1625), was a Scottish...
Another 143 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacMartain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacMartain family to Ireland
Some of the MacMartain 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.
Migration of the MacMartain family
Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name MacMartain, or a variant listed above: the group who arrived on the ships, the "Sarah" and the "Dove" in Upper Canada in 1801; their holds filled with 700 Camerons and Frasers from the Lochaber country. The Camerons also settled in the U.S.A. in Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, St. Christopher, Virginia, New York, Georgia, and California, in the 18th and 19th centuries. In Newfoundland, Alexander Cameron settled in St. John's in 1744.
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: Aonaibh ri cheile
Motto Translation: Unite
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print