McLennan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McLennan 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 McLennan family

The surname McLennan was first found in Ayrshire where their history vitally is enmeshed with that of the larger Logan Clan. The McLennan 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 McLennan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McLennan research. Another 247 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1204, 1296, 1329, 1555, 1606, 1609, 1746 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McLennan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McLennan Spelling Variations

A lack of rules and the tendency of scribes to spell according to the sound of the word plagued medieval spelling. Not surprisingly, an enormous number of spelling variations appeared. McLennan has been written MacLennan, MacLenan, McLennan, McLennen and many more.

Early Notables of the McLennan family (pre 1700)

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

McLennan World Ranking

In the United States, the name McLennan is the 15,743rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1] However, in Australia, the name McLennan is ranked the 562nd most popular surname with an estimated 6,820 people with that name. [2] And in New Zealand, the name McLennan is the 656th popular surname with an estimated 1,087 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the McLennan family to Ireland

Some of the McLennan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McLennan migration to the United States +

Many Scots crossed the Atlantic for North America hoping to escape poverty, as well as persecution. Much of their heritage was lost along the way and overtime. This century, however, Clan societies and highland games have allowed many ancestral Scots to recover their birthright. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name McLennan arrived in North America very early:

McLennan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander McLennan, aged 40, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 [4]
  • Anne McLennan, aged 20, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 [4]
  • Marion McLennan, aged 18, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 [4]
  • Murdock McLennan, aged 10, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 [4]
  • John McLennan, who landed in New York in 1780 [4]
McLennan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Kenneth McLennan, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906 [4]

Canada McLennan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McLennan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William McLennan, who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Mr. William McLennan U.E., (McLellan) who settled in St. Stephen, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [5]
McLennan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Christian McLennan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Isobel McLennan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Janet McLennan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Kate McLennan, aged 3, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Murdo McLennan, aged 3, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia McLennan migration to Australia +

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

McLennan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Ewan McLennan, aged 31, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Oregon" [6]
  • Kenneth McLennan, aged 27, a shepherd, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Oregon" [6]
  • Catherine McLennan, aged 28, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "John Bunyan" [7]
  • John McLennan, aged 36, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "James Fernie" [8]
  • Mary McLennan, aged 19, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Marion" [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand McLennan 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:

McLennan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Donald McLennan, aged 19, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • John McLennan, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gazelle" in 1853 [10]
  • Mr. Murdo Mclennan, (b. 1816), aged 41, British shepherd travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Glentanner" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd October 1857 [11]
  • Mrs. Abigail Mclennan, (b. 1828), aged 29, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Glentanner" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd October 1857 [11]
  • Miss Mary Mclennan, (b. 1849), aged 8, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Glentanner" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd October 1857 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McLennan (post 1700) +

  • Donald Roderick McLennan (1873-1944), American co-founder of the insurance brokerage firm Burroughs, Marsh & McLennan in 1905, later renamed Marsh & McLennan
  • General Kenneth McLennan, American (Canadian born) army General, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (1979-1981)
  • John Ferguson McLennan (1827-1881), Scottish ethnologist and lawyer
  • Gordon McLennan (1924-2011), Scottish General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain between 1975 and 1990
  • Daniel Morrison "Danny" McLennan (1925-2004), Scottish football player and coach
  • Ross McLennan, Australian drummer, best known as a member of Australian rock band The Predators
  • Margo McLennan (1938-2004), born Eileen Marguerite McMenemy, English actress, best known for her role in the Australian soap opera Prisoner
  • Sir John Cunningham McLennan KBE FRS FRSC (1867-1935), Canadian physicist, recipient of the Royal Society of Canada's Flavelle Medal in 1926
  • John McLennan (1821-1893), Canadian businessman and politician who represented Glengarry, Ontario in the Canadian House of Commons from 1879 to 1882
  • Jamie McLennan (b. 1971), Canadian former professional NHL ice hockey goaltender
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. James Mclennan, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [12]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Alexander John McLennan (1914-1939), British Stoker 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 [13]


The McLennan 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.


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque OREGON, 521 tons - 1851 voyage to South Australia. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Oregon.htm
  7. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 24th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) John Bunyan 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/johnbunyan1854.shtml
  8. ^ South Australian Register Friday 17th November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) James Fernie 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml
  9. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 12th December 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marion 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/marion1854.shtml
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 3rd November 2011). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  13. ^ 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


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