McQuillian History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname McQuillian is derived from the personal name Hugelin, which is a diminutive of Hugh. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Uighilin.

Early Origins of the McQuillian family

The surname McQuillian was first found in County Antrim (Irish: Aontroim) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland, where they were granted lands by Strongbow after the Anglo/ Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172.

Specifically, "The MacQuillans were lords of the territory of the Routes, in co. Antrim, holding their chief residence in the fine old sea-girt castle of Dunluce." MacLysaght agrees "The MacQillans are of Norman- Welsh descent: they settled soon after the invasion in the territory called the Route (co. Antrim.)" [1]

One of the first records of the family was Malcolm MacQuillan who died in 1307. Little is known of his heritage, but what we do know is that he was granted safe conduct by the English so he could assail Scottish forces, on Scotland's western seaboard, with his galley fleet. He was part of a fleet of eighteen galleys with 1,000 men who landed near Stranraer, now a town in southwest Scotland in Inch, Dumfries and Galloway. But, this force was quickly overwhelmed by local forces led by Dungal MacDouall. MacQuillan was captured and executed. His head and the heads from two Irish chiefs were sent back to King Edward I.

Early History of the McQuillian family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McQuillian research. Another 217 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1315, 1442, 1542, 1559, 1750, 1307, 1300 and 1485 are included under the topic Early McQuillian History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McQuillian Spelling Variations

During the lifetime of an individual person, his name was often spelt by church officials and medieval scribes the way it sounded. An examination of the many different origins of each name has revealed many spelling variations for the name: McQuillan, McQuillen, McQuillian, McQuillin, McQuillon, McCailin, McAilin, MacQuillian, MacQuillon, MacCaillion, MacQuillin, MacQuillan, McKillan, McQuilland, McAiland, McAylin, McCaillion, McKillion, McKillin, McKillon, MacKillan, MacQuilland, MacAyland, MacAilan, Quillan and many more.

Early Notables of the McQuillian family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Malcolm MacQuillan (died 1307) Irish nobleman who was granted safe conduct by the English so he could assail Scottish forces, on Scotland's western seaboard, with his galley fleet in July 1300. However, the invasion force was quickly overwhelmed by local forces. Malcolm was captured and summarily executed with the Irish sub king. The heads of McQuillan and two Irish chiefs were sent to King Edward I. In 1485, Rory MacQuillan founded a late Franciscan foundation named Bonamargy Friary situated in County Antrim...
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McQuillian Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States McQuillian migration to the United States +

Ireland's Great Potato Famine left the country's inhabitants in extreme poverty and starvation. Many families left their homeland for North America for the promise of work, freedom and land ownership. Although the Irish were not free of economic and racial discrimination in North America, they did contribute greatly to the rapid development of bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Eventually, they would be accepted in other areas such as commerce, education, and the arts. An examination of immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name McQuillian:

McQuillian Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles, Patrick, and Henry McQuillian all, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1852

Australia McQuillian migration to Australia +

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

McQuillian Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William McQuillian, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846 [2]

New Zealand McQuillian 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:

McQuillian Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary McQuillian, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lorraine" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name McQuillian (post 1700) +

  • Jim McQuillian, Irish darts player at the 1979 BDO World Darts Championship


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRITANNIA 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Britannia.htm


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