Author Topic: Evolution of a lowland surname?  (Read 4800 times)

Offline crb83

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Evolution of a lowland surname?
« on: Monday 23 April 12 23:22 BST (UK) »
I'd like to know the thoughts of some of the veteran genealogists on my theory. 

     I had always thought because of the surname, my Maclean/Maclaine ancestry originated in the highlands and they had probably been redshanks in Ulster but as some of my fellow researchers told me: "Don't assume anything!"  After the past few months of researching my ancestors in Dumfriesshire (they left for Stewartstown, Co Tyrone abt 1620) , I'm a little stumped on their possible origins and it seems their name could be geographical as opposed to patronymic.  Reading up on lowland surnames, it seems a greater proportion have arisen independently by tenants or lairds taking the names of their estates.  Even though there was really no wrong way to spell your name back then, I've found something interesting about the actual pronunciation.

     In Scotland and in Ulster pre-1660 all the records of them have their names pronounced "Mack-Leen" as opposed to the later "Mack-Lane".  Their spelling wasn't really standardized until circa 1700 (Macklaine>McLaine>McLain by 1800)  Parish and burgh records of Dumfries show them as Maclyne, Macleine, M'Lene, M'Cleene, M'Klein, M'Clene.  Not only that but they were merchant burgesses of the town and my ancestor's 1624 testament reveals him as a man of property (inventory totaling 188 pounds, I believe that would be close to 50,000 pounds today).  The earliest reference to them is a "John M'Clein" witnessing a land transaction in Dumfries in 1549.  Since society was feudal and there was zero upward mobility, being a member of upper-middle class burghers must have been inherited (or so I believe from what I've read in Leyburn's book "The Scotch-Irish: A Social history").

     I recently came across information about a rare surname: a variant spelling for the village of Mauchline in Ayrshire.  It seems to be scattered across the lowlands and borders by the 16th century. A John Knoy de Maghlyn is present in the freeman rolls of York England in 1394 while a Scot named Richard Maghlyne is listed in 1408 as a squire of Henry IV being given safe passage to England.  A William Malynne is the abbott of Glenluce in 1512, and a Sir Patrick Machlyne sat on Scottish parliament in 1530 and resided in Edinburgh.  This name would certainly explain the amount of macleen/maclane-sounding names across the lowlands in the early 1600s particularly the significant population in Northumberland at that time as I've been told that highlanders didn't really "go down" nor did lowlanders "go up".

    Aside from records of my ancestors in Dumfriesshire, of the pre-1650 parish registers that survive I find McClene, McKleine, Machline, McCleine, Mauchline, Machlen all in the vicinity of Edinburgh; McLeine, Machline, Makclene, Macleyne around Perth, Fife, Berwick, and a considerable number of of Mickline, Mackleane, Mackline on both sides of the border  This pronunciation is much more prevalent than anything referencing Maclean or Maclaine.  Since the earliest records of this name were spelled Maghlyn, Maugelyne, I believe it shows a "Mawkh-Leen" pronunciation.  Letters from the time of Wallace and Bruce refer to the  area around the town in Ayrshire as "Mauchtlyne Mur"

Would my thinking that this origin is more likely be valid?  And that my ancestors surnames only developed the patronymic "Mac" prefix because of it's pronunciation?  I wonder how many other Macleans and Maclaines may falsely believe they are of highland stock.

Chris Beal
All Maclean-variants.
Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Dublin City

Offline crb83

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 23 April 12 23:25 BST (UK) »
Map from the late 16th century...
All Maclean-variants.
Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Dublin City

Offline Rufous Treecreeper

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 24 April 12 04:41 BST (UK) »
I'm no help to you at all, but wanted to say I found what you wrote very interesting and persuasive  :)

Mo
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Offline Forfarian

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 24 April 12 18:02 BST (UK) »
I doubt very much that the 16th or 17th century pronunciation can be reliably be deduced from spelling then or later. You cannot assume that a letter was pronounced the same way in 1600 as it would be now.

Spelling in Scotland didn't really become 'standardised' until the beginning of the 20th century

However the suggestion that some Macleans may derive their surname from the town of Mauchline is very interesting. It is not far-fetched to think that the spelling of the surname could have become assimilated to the more widespread variants of the Highland surname MacLean.

Good luck with your investigations :)
Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith

Offline J11

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 24 April 12 19:39 BST (UK) »
Which map is that, MacLaine?  It would be interesting to see other areas from that date.

Offline crb83

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 24 April 12 22:01 BST (UK) »
  Thanks everyone for your input so far.  Looking at how this Maghlyne/Machline surname is spread out by a certain time in these areas and also knowing the Maclean clan history (I made an assumption on a highland lineage of course), the two Maclean brothers Hector and Lachlan in the early 15th century had very small families and were only just being granted land by the Lord of the Isles so they were not very numerous and did not "hold sway" over much until the late 1500s when they became a seagoing force to be reckoned with.  Even if a "wyld outlaw hielander" had come down to Galloway, it's doubtful he'd be anything more than a poor tenant farmer as opposed to a merchant burgess with means.  These reasons combined with the spelling and pronunciation of "Mack-Leen" is what made me start coming to this conclusion.

  I realize that the current name "Mauchline" would have sounded like "Malynne" as the -ch would have been almost silent but older spellings of the village and surnames pre-1500 suggest the gaelic root of  Magh (meadow) Linn (pool) creating the names Maghlyn, Maugelyne, Mauglene.  The area was once inhabited by "Scoto-Irish" Gaels, descendants of Cruithne invaders from the 7th century who gave the village it's name.  This may explain my YDNA being M222+ but I'll never be able to tell until I find other Mauchlines to compare with.  Mauchline was given to the Monks of Melrose Abbey by one of the Kings at the time and a church was established there, the borders of the parish then extended all the way to Lanarkshire.

  16th century lowland surnames
 http://medievalscotland.org/scotnames/lowland16/

  Jenny, the map I believe is a 1645 map from the National Library's website: http://maps.nls.uk/  They have a vast array of maps from every time period, very interesting!
All Maclean-variants.
Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Dublin City

Offline mosstrooper

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 05 May 12 22:39 BST (UK) »
My Granny McAvoy was born in Mauchline, she was a Lacemaker which that
area was famous for when this country used to make things.

James.

Offline sancti

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 06 May 12 09:23 BST (UK) »
Richard Maghlyne is listed in 1408

Could McGlynn and variants be derived from that?

Offline bairn359

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Re: Evolution of a lowland surname?
« Reply #8 on: Monday 07 May 12 13:36 BST (UK) »
How about  McLelan and McLeland they seem very like McLean
Marks (cornwall, devon), Pennie (stirlingshire),
Robertson (perthshire, scotland), Swanston (roxburghshire, berwickshire)