McLaren History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The sea-swept Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the McLaren family. Their name comes from the personal name Laurence. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Labhruinn, which means son of Labhran or son of Laurence. The Clan is believed to be descended from Lorn, son of Erc, who landed in Argyll in 503 AD. Although the lineage before the 12th century is difficult to prove, it has been established that the clan held vast territories called the Braes of Balquhidder. They were recorded as being 'all grand, strong men' and, when the Old Kirk at Balquhidder was being repaired, clan members supervised the exhumation of some of the bodies of ancient members of the clan from the graveyard that was a traditional the burial place of the theirs. They found bones measuring 23 and a half inches long, which makes them big men even by today's standards.

Early Origins of the McLaren family

The surname McLaren 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 in the valley of Loch Voil between the head of Loch Lomond and Loch Earn they were so powerful that it was once said that no one could take his place in church until the MacLaren Clan were properly seated. They were kinsmen of the Celtic Earls of Strathearn and their branches were at Balquidder, Strathearn, Auchleskine, Stank, Druach and Lochearnside. They engaged neighboring Clans in lively feuds but always remained faithful in their allegiance to the Royal House of Stewart. They were hereditary Celtic Abbots of Achtow and derive their name from Abbot Lawrence. For almost a thousand years the gathering place of the Clan has been Creag an Tuirc, the 'Boars Rock' in Achtow, in Balquhidder. This has also been adopted as their slogan.

Early History of the McLaren family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McLaren research. Another 312 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1344, 1698, and 1745 are included under the topic Early McLaren History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McLaren 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. McLaren has been written as MacLaren, MacLaron, MacLaurin, MacLarty, MacClarence, MacPhater, MacFeeter and many more.

Early Notables of the McLaren family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McLaren family to Ireland

Some of the McLaren family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McLaren migration to the United States +

Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name McLaren or a variant listed above:

McLaren Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John and Patrick McLaren who settled in South Carolina in 1716
  • Patrick McLaren, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716 [1]
  • Donald McLaren, aged 12, who arrived in North Carolina in 1774 [1]
  • Duncan McLaren, aged 30, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1775 [1]
  • James McLaren, aged 32, who arrived in New York, NY in 1775 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McLaren Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Susan McLaren, who arrived in America in 1821 [1]
  • Archibald McLaren, who settled in Savannah in 1821
  • Robert McLaren, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834 [1]
  • Daniel, David, James, John, Lawrence, and Peter McLaren all, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860
McLaren Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Rebecca Emberson McLaren, who arrived in Colorado in 1902 [1]

Canada McLaren migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McLaren Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Adam McLaren, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Mr. Archibald McLaren U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. Hugh McLaren U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. Peter McLaren U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 he served in Jessups Corps, married to Nancy McLarin [2]
McLaren Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Alexander McLaren, aged 27, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Margaret McLaren, aged 29, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • James McLaren, aged 39, a weaver, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • Euphemia McLaren, aged 33, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • John McLaren, aged 15, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McLaren migration to Australia +

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

McLaren Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • David McLaren, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australian" in 1837 [3]
  • Mary McLaren, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australian" in 1837 [3]
  • Alexander McLaren, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australian" in 1837 [3]
  • William McLaren, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Indus" in 1839 [4]
  • Peter McLaren, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1839 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McLaren 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:

McLaren Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Mclaren, British settler, as the 2nd Detachment of New Zealand Corps of Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Minerva" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1847 [6]
  • Peter McLaren, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • Jessie McLaren, aged 20, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • Gilbert McLaren, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cresswell" in 1856
  • Mr. P. McLaren, Scottish settler travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 9th February 1858 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McLaren (post 1700) +

  • Fraser McLaren (b. 1988), Scottish footballer
  • William "Willie" McLaren (b. 1984), Scottish professional footballer
  • Scott McLaren (b. 1968), former Australian rules football field umpire
  • Malcolm McLaren (b. 1946), English impresario and musician, who was the manager of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols
  • Bruce Leslie McLaren (1937-1970), New Zealand, race-car designer, driver, engineer and inventor, eponym of Team McLaren race car team
  • Charles Melville McLaren (1913-2003), 3rd Baron Aberconway
  • Norman McLaren (1914-1987), Canadian Film Director
  • Kyle Mclaren (b. 1977), Canadian professional (NHL) hockey player
  • John McLaren McBryde (1841-1923), American academic, 5th President of Virginia Tech (1891-1907)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. John B McLaren (b. 1922), English Midshipman serving for the Royal Navy Reserve from Durban, South Africa moved to Hove, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [8]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. James Mclaren, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [9]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Kenneth Mclaren (b. 1918), British Engine Room Artificer 4th Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [10]
HMS Royal Oak
  • William McLaren (d. 1939), British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [11]
RMS Titanic
  • Mrs. McLaren, aged 40, English Stewardess from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 5 [12]


The McLaren 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: Creag an tuirc
Motto Translation: The boar's rock.


  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The SOUTH AUSTRALIAN 1837-1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837SouthAustralian.htm
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) INDUS 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Indus.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THOMAS HARRISON 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839ThomasHarrison.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  9. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  10. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  11. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  12. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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