McMaghen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
McMaghen comes from the ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland's west coast and Hebrides islands. The name comes from the son of Matthew.  In Gaelic, the name was spelled M'Mhathain or Mathanach. The latter names in Gaelic were probably derived from Mac Mhathghamhuin which means son of the bear. Indeed, early references of the name have reference to the Scottish bear.  
Today, early legal records provide a plethora of information about the family with various early spellings. Some of the first records include, "Robertus filius Mathei [who] witnessed a charter by Walter filius Alani, a. 1177. John Mathyson and Michael Mathowson were outlawed as part guilty of the slaughter of Walter de Ogilvy, Sheriff of Angus, in 1392." 
Early Origins of the McMaghen family
The surname McMaghen was first found in the Scottish Highlands were they could be found in Lochalsh, Lochcarron and Kintail. They are said to descend from Gilleoin of the ancient and royal house of Lorne. They gave their allegiance to the Clan MacDonald, the Lord of the Isles. Kenneth MacMathan (Cormac Mac Mathian) was the constable of Eilean Donan castle and is recorded in most accounts of the invasion of King Haakon IV of Norway against Scotland in the 13th century. One accounts suggests that McMathan and his clansmen fought under the Earl of Ross, defeating Haaken at Largs in 1263.
There is a record of Kermac Macmaghan in Inverness, receiving 20 cows from the Earl of Ross in 1264. "In the Norse Saga he is called Kjarmak son of Makamal = Corniac Macmathan. The Siol Mhathain, a sept of Matheson, in an old Gaelic song appears as Siol Mhothan. Matheson has been adopted as the English form of the name simply on account of the similarity of sound." 
Early History of the McMaghen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McMaghen research. Another 418 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1263, 1400, 1411, 1427, 1498, 1514, 1427, 1600, 1539, 1570, 1631, 1688, 1715, 1719, 1820, 1851, 1683, 1796, 1878, 1851 and 1963 are included under the topic Early McMaghen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McMaghen Spelling Variations
The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years McMaghen has appeared as Mathieson, MacMaghan, MacMathan MacMaken, Mathie, Mann and many more.
Early Notables of the McMaghen family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Margaret Matson, one of two women tried in Philadelphia for witchcraft in 1683; Sir James Nicolas Sutherland Matheson (1796-1878), born in Shiness, Lairg, who made a great fortune in the opium trade, and was created the 1st Baronet of Lewis in 1851. His family proceeded to buy the former Clan territories: James Matheson...
Migration of the McMaghen family to Ireland
Some of the McMaghen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Migration of the McMaghen family
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 McMaghen or a variant listed above: Alexander Matheson, who arrived in Boston in 1736; Charles Matheson, who came to Nova Scotia in 1773; John Matheson, who settled in Pictou, N.S. in 1773.
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: Fac et Spera
Motto Translation: Do and hope.