McMaken History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The age-old Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the McMaken family. Their 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.

Early Origins of the McMaken family

The surname McMaken 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.

Early History of the McMaken family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McMaken 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 McMaken History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McMaken Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McMaken has been spelled Mathieson, MacMaghan, MacMathan MacMaken, Mathie, Mann and many more.

Early Notables of the McMaken 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...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McMaken Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McMaken family to Ireland

Some of the McMaken family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McMaken migration to the United States +

Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first McMakens to arrive on North American shores:

McMaken Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Arthur McMaken, aged 16, who arrived in New York in 1924 aboard the ship "Hubert" from Hull, England [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name McMaken (post 1700) +

  • Major General William Vance McMaken (1857-1923), U.S. Army general, born in New York City
  • Ryan McMaken, American political columnist
  • Rob McMaken, American musician, founding member of Dromedary Quartet, an American world music band


The McMaken 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: Fac et Spera
Motto Translation: Do and hope.




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