McAlent History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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The surname McAlent is derived from the personal name Hugelin, which is a diminutive of Hugh. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Uighilin.
Early Origins of the McAlent family
The surname McAlent was first found in County Antrim (Irish: Aontroim) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland, where they were granted lands by Strongbow after the Anglo/ Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172.
Specifically, "The MacQuillans were lords of the territory of the Routes, in co. Antrim, holding their chief residence in the fine old sea-girt castle of Dunluce." MacLysaght agrees "The MacQillans are of Norman- Welsh descent: they settled soon after the invasion in the territory called the Route (co. Antrim.)" 
One of the first records of the family was Malcolm MacQuillan who died in 1307. Little is known of his heritage, but what we do know is that he was granted safe conduct by the English so he could assail Scottish forces, on Scotland's western seaboard, with his galley fleet. He was part of a fleet of eighteen galleys with 1,000 men who landed near Stranraer, now a town in southwest Scotland in Inch, Dumfries and Galloway. But, this force was quickly overwhelmed by local forces led by Dungal MacDouall. MacQuillan was captured and executed. His head and the heads from two Irish chiefs were sent back to King Edward I.
Early History of the McAlent family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McAlent research. Another 217 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1315, 1442, 1542, 1559, 1750, 1307, 1300 and 1485 are included under the topic Early McAlent History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McAlent Spelling Variations
Church officials and medieval scribes often spelled early surnames as they sounded. This practice often resulted in many spelling variations of even a single name. Early versions of the name McAlent included: McQuillan, McQuillen, McQuillian, McQuillin, McQuillon, McCailin, McAilin, MacQuillian, MacQuillon, MacCaillion, MacQuillin, MacQuillan, McKillan, McQuilland, McAiland, McAylin, McCaillion, McKillion, McKillin, McKillon, MacKillan, MacQuilland, MacAyland, MacAilan, Quillan and many more.
Early Notables of the McAlent family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was Malcolm MacQuillan (died 1307) Irish nobleman who was granted safe conduct by the English so he could assail Scottish forces, on Scotland's western seaboard, with his galley fleet in July 1300. However, the invasion force was quickly overwhelmed by local forces. Malcolm was captured and summarily executed with the Irish sub king. The heads of McQuillan and two Irish chiefs were sent to King Edward I.
In 1485, Rory MacQuillan founded a late Franciscan foundation named Bonamargy Friary situated in County Antrim...
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McAlent Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McAlent family
In the mid-19th century, Ireland experienced one of the worst periods in its entire history. During this decade in order to ease the pressure of the soil, which was actually depleted by the effects of the previous years' grain crops, landowners forced tenant farmers and peasants onto tiny plots of land that barely provided the basic sustenance a family required. Conditions were worsened, though, by the population of the country, which was growing fast to roughly eight million. So when the Great Potato Famine of the mid-1840s hit, starvation and diseases decimated the population. Thousands of Irish families left the country for British North America and the United States. The new immigrants were often accommodated either in the opening western frontiers or as cheap unskilled labor in the established centers. In early passenger and immigration lists there are many immigrants bearing the name McAlent: Andrew, Charles, James, John, Patrick, William McQuillan arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; Edward, George, Patrick, Phillip, Roger and Thomas McQuillen all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
Related Stories +
- ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)