Mellen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the name Mellen lived in the Kingdom of Dalriada. In those days the name Mellen was used to indicate a person who bald person; the name may refer to a member of a religious order. The Gaelic forms of the name are Mac Mhaolain or Mac Ghille Mhaoil, both of which mean son of the bald or tonsured one.

However, the origins of the Clan have been shrouded in uncertainty, largely as a result of historians of the Clan Buchanan, and their insistence that both Clans have a common ancestry. Buchanan of Auchmar says that the MacMillans are descended from Methlan, second son of Anselan, a Buchanan Chief of the thirteenth century. His theory supports the Buchanan claim that the MacMillans are but a sept (sub-Clan) of the Buchanan rather than a Clan in their own right. This theory is supported by the contention that both Clans have an ecclesiastical origin: MacMillan being Anglicized from Maolanach, meaning a 'priest.' However, tradition may more properly ascribe the origin from a particular tribe in Moray that has descended from the ancient Pictish tribe of Kanteai, thought to have existed in the first half of the second century AD.

Early Origins of the Mellen family

The surname Mellen was first found in at Tayside, where in 1263 Cilleonan MacMolan appears on documents. [1] They arrived in Strathtay from the lands in Loch Arkaig after King Malcolm IV transplanted many Clans, including the MacMillans, from that region about 1160 AD. Later, about 1350, the Camerons, who had changed their name to Chalmers, drove them from their Strathtay territories.

In vacating the Strathtay, the Clan branched to many other areas, including Lochaber, Argyll and Galloway. The senior branch, however, were the MacMillans of Knapdale, and they held a grant from the Lord of the Isles inscribed in Latin on a rock at Knap: 'MacMillan's right to Knap shall be, as long as this rock withstands the sea.'

Malcolm Mor MacMillan had received this rock by the 14th century. His grandson Lachlan MacMillan died at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. Lachlan's son, Alan MacMillan of Knap, married the McNeill heiress and took over the Castle Sween. He erected a cross, which still stands to this day in Kilmory churchyard. The cross stands better than twelve feet high and is elaborately engraved, showing a Highland Chief hunting a deer on one side, and a claymore surmounted by certain Clan members on the other.

Early History of the Mellen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mellen research. Another 267 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1775, 1790, 1452, 1454, 1540, 1555, 1670, 1753, 1670, 1745 and 1745 are included under the topic Early Mellen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mellen 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 Mellen has appeared as MacMillan, MacMullan, MacMullen, McMullen, McMullin, McMullan, McMillan, MacMullin and many more.

Early Notables of the Mellen family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir Duncan Macmolane, a Pope's knight, chaplain of the collegiate church of Kilmone, 1452; John Macmulan (Makmilane, or Makmylan), bailie (baillie) of Glasgow in 1454; Sir Fingon Makmulane, who was presented in 1540 to the chaplainry of Tibbermore in the diocese of...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mellen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mellen Ranking

In the United States, the name Mellen is the 10,595th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Mellen family to Ireland

Some of the Mellen family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Mellen migration to the United States +

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Mellen or a variant listed above include:

Mellen Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Mellen, who landed in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1639 [3]
Mellen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Johan Mellen, aged 30, who landed in New York, NY in 1847 [3]
  • Margaret Mellen, aged 29, who arrived in New York, NY in 1847 [3]
  • Henry Mellen, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1849 [3]

Canada Mellen migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mellen Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Geo Mellen, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Mellen migration to Australia +

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

Mellen Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Mellen, aged 25, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Nile"

New Zealand Mellen 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:

Mellen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Mellen, aged 22, a miner, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Celestial Queen" in 1872
  • Mr. Thomas Mellen, (b.1850), aged 22, Cornish miner departing on 26th April 1872 aboard the ship "Celestial Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 30th July 1872 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Mellen (post 1700) +

  • Mary Blood Mellen (1819-1886), American landscape painter and copyist
  • Polly Allen Mellen, American stylist and fashion editor for more than 60 years at Harper's Bazaar and Vogue
  • Charles Sanger Mellen (1852-1927), American railroad businessman, President of the Northern Pacific Railway (1897-1903) and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (1903-1913)
  • Prentiss Mellen (1764-1840), American politician, United States Senator from Massachusetts (1818-1820)
  • Mary Mellen, American politician, Representative from Minnesota 5th District, 1992 [5]
  • James J. Mellen (b. 1875), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives, 1902-04, 1923-24; Member of Massachusetts State Senate Second Suffolk District, 1905-06 [5]
  • Harold J. Mellen, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1935 [5]
  • George H. Mellen, American politician, Postmaster at Beckley, West Virginia, 1921-26 [5]
  • F. D. Mellen, American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for Mississippi, 1920 [5]
  • Erwin Mellen, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Onondaga County 1st District, 1920 [5]
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Mellen 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: Miseris succurrere disco
Motto Translation: I learn to succour the distressed.

  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Auckland 1872-80 [PDF]. Retrieved from
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from on Facebook