McLachlan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland spawned the name McLachlan. It is derived from the personal name Lachlann. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Lachlainn, denoting the son of Lachlann. Although most feel Lachlan Mor, a great Chief who lived by Loch Fyne in the thirteenth century, is the Clan founder, the legend of descent from the ancient Gaelic King, Niall of the Nine Hostages, who reigned in 400 AD, offers some clues as to the clan's early origins.

Lochlann, in old Gaelic means literally, 'Norway,' and was the favorite Christian name of the royal house of O'Neill in Northern Ireland, a house descended from Niall of the Nine hostages, and said to be the family with the oldest history in Europe. A branch of the O'Neill's took the surname MacLochlain and soon became rival Kings to the O'Neills.

King Brian O'Neill slew the last King Domnall MacLochlainn. His son Anrothan, who was ancestor of the MacLachlans in Scotland, married the daughter of the King of Scots, thereby gaining the inheritance of Cowall and Knapdale in Scotland. Anrothan MacLachlan was progenitor of the MacLachlans of Strathlachlan, the Lamonts, the Lyons, the MacSorleys, the MacEwans, and the MacMillans. It was in the mid-twelfth century that each of these branches separated into distinct entities.

Early Origins of the McLachlan family

The surname McLachlan 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 this Clan first settled in Scotland in 1100 when Lachlan was heir of Fergus, Lord of Galloway. In 1238, a charter recorded Lachlan Mor's father increasing the endowment to Paisley Abbey.

When, in 1292, King John Baliol erected Argyll into a sheriffdom, Gillescop MacLachlan was one of the twelve principal barons whose land it encompassed. In 1296, Ewen MacLachlan was forced to swear loyalty to the English King Edward I, but this loyalty was formally changed back to Scotland in 1305, when Gillescop MacLachlan, like his neighbors the Campbells, swore allegiance to Robert the Bruce. Gillescop was a member of the Barons of Bruce's first parliament at St. Andrews, in 1308. [1]

King John of England (reigned: 1199-1216) was also known as John Lackland from the Norman French, "Johan sanz Terre" or "John without land."

Early History of the McLachlan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McLachlan research. Another 104 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1292, 1600 and are included under the topic Early McLachlan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McLachlan Spelling Variations

In the Middle Ages, the translation between Gaelic and English was not a highly developed process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and so, an enormous number of spelling variations appear in records of early Scottish names. McLachlan has appeared as MacLachlan, Lachlan, MacLachlane, McGlothan, McGlothin, MacLauchlan, MacLauchlane, MacLauchlin, MacLaughlin, Lauchlan and many more.

Early Notables of the McLachlan family (pre 1700)

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

McLachlan World Ranking

In the United States, the name McLachlan is the 16,830th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2] However, in Australia, the name McLachlan is ranked the 686th most popular surname with an estimated 5,710 people with that name. [3] And in New Zealand, the name McLachlan is the 468th popular surname with an estimated 1,465 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the McLachlan family to Ireland

Some of the McLachlan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McLachlan migration to the United States +

Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The McLachlan were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

McLachlan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James McLachlan, who landed in North Carolina in 1740 [5]
McLachlan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peter McLachlan, aged 28, who landed in New York, NY in 1812-1813 [5]
  • Fergus McLachlan, aged 65, who arrived in New York in 1812 [5]
  • William McLachlan, who arrived in New York in 1827 [5]

Canada McLachlan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McLachlan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John McLachlan, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • Hugh McLachlan, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Sea Horse" from Galway, Ireland
  • Janet McLachlan, aged 45, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Lady Campbell" in 1834
  • Ann McLachlan, aged 12, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Lady Campbell" in 1834
  • John McLachlan, aged 7, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Lady Campbell" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McLachlan migration to Australia +

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

McLachlan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Mclachlan, (b. 1791), aged 27, Irish convict who was convicted in Antrim, Ireland for 7 years for pick pocketing, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" on 26th July 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. William McLachlan, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Competitor"18th March 1823, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Donald McLachlan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tomatin" in 1840 [8]
  • Miss Mary McLachlan, English convict who was convicted in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Emma Eugenia" on 16th November 1841, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. Alexander McLachlan, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Emerald Isle" on 25th June 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McLachlan 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:

McLachlan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas McLachlan, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Brazil Packet" arriving in New Zealand in 1833 [11]
  • Mr. T. McLachlan, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston, UK aboard the ship "Brazil Packet" arriving in New Zealand in 1836 [11]
  • Dugald McLachlan, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Jane McLachlan, aged 35, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Catherine McLachlan, aged 15, a housemaid, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McLachlan (post 1700) +

  • James McLachlan (1852-1940), American politician, U.S. Representative from California
  • Michael Edward McLachlan (1946-2022), American attorney and politician who served as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 2013 to 2015
  • John McLachlan (1826-1893), Scottish Roman Catholic clergyman
  • Donald Harvey McLachlan (1898-1971), Scottish journalist and author
  • William McLachlan (b. 1989), Scottish professional association football player
  • George Herbert McLachlan (b. 1902), FA Cup winning Scottish footballer and manager
  • Hamish McLachlan (1967-2020), Australian rower who competed in the men's eight event at the 1988 Summer Olympics
  • Robert McLachlan (1837-1904), English entomologist, member of the Royal Society from 1877
  • James McLachlan (1871-1956), Australian politician
  • Murray McLachlan (b. 1948), retired Canadian ice hockey goaltender
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion


The McLachlan 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: Fortis et fidus
Motto Translation: Brave and trusty.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elizabeth
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/competitor
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) TOMATIN 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Tomatin.htm
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/emma-eugenia
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 27th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/emily
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance


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