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McLenay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McLenay surname is an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Gille Fhinneain, a patronymic name created from a Gaelic personal name "Fionnán," from the Gaelic "fionn," meaning "white."

Early Origins of the McLenay family

The surname McLenay was first found in Ayrshire where their history vitally is enmeshed with that of the larger Logan Clan. The McLenay spelling of this name was first found in Druimdeurfait, in Ross-shire, where they were a branch of the Highland Logans, who lived along Loch Lochy. According to family lore, they descend from Gilliegorm, Chief of the northern Logans, who was killed battling the Clan Fraser. His pregnant wife taken captive by Lord Lovat. Her son, born humped back, was called Crotair MacGilliegorm, the "crooked-back son of Gilliegorm." Fearing future revenge on the Frasers by the boy, he was sent to a monastery at Beauly, where he became a monk. He was said to be an ardent follower of the Irish Saint Fhinan, and one of his children took the name Mac Gillie Fhinan, which eventually became MacLennan.

Early History of the McLenay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McLenay research.
Another 493 words (35 lines of text) covering the years 1204, 1296, 1329, 1555, 1606, 1609, 1746 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McLenay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McLenay Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents McLenay has been spelled MacLennan, MacLenan, McLennan, McLennen and many more.

Early Notables of the McLenay family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the McLenay family to Ireland

Some of the McLenay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 109 words (8 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 McLenay family to the New World and Oceana

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The McLenay were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: William MacLenan, who arrived in Pictou, N.S. in 1773 aboard the "Hector"; Angus, Donald, Duncan, Farquhar, John, Roderick, and Rory Maclennan, who were all sent to Barbados in 1745.

The McLenay 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: Hoc majorum virtus
Motto Translation: This is the valour of my ancestors.

McLenay Family Crest Products

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