IntroductionGen.1: John Macfarlane
Gen.2: Robert Macfarlane
Gen.3: Daniel Macfarlane
Gen.4: John Macfarlane
Gen.5: Daniel Macfarlane
Gen.6: Daniel F. Macfarlane
Gen.6: Thomas G. Macfarlane
A Brief History of the Macfarlane Name and the Founding of the Clan
The Clan Macfarlane arose in the lands that lie at and around Arrochar, along the northern ends of Loch Long and Loch Lomond in the heart of the Celtic Western Highlands of Scotland. These ancestral homelands were governed by a Macfarlane Chief for nearly five hundred years.
It may come as a surprise to most Macfarlane descendants, therefore, that there is some stiff disagreement about the origins of the Clan Macfarlane. One historian/genealogist has suggested a Saxon origin while another claims we descend from an old Celtic line. What we do know of the clan origins is that a fellow named Alwyn was appointed the first Earl of Lennox, with the lands passing, in time, to his son. also named Alwyn, and then, in about 1224 to that Alwyn's son, Mauldin, the third Earl of Lennox.
In 1225, Mauldin granted his younger brother Gilchrist a charter for the lands of Arrochar and Gilchrist became ancestor of the Macfarlanes. Gilchrist's son, named Malduin after his uncle, befriended and aided Robert the Bruce during his fight for independence from the English. It is from this Malduin's son, Parlan, that the Clan Macfarlane takes its name.
Parlan's descendants became sons of Parlan, or, in the Gaelic, Mac Parlan - except that Gaelic grammar requires certain changes in the name to indicate possession. The letter "P" is pronounced "Ph", and an "i" is added to the last syllable to indicate "of Parlan". And so the sons and grandsons of Parlan became forever known as Mac Pharlain. Since nearly all documents of that time were in either Latin or Norman French - or a combination of the two, and since neither of those languages had any letter to indicate the ph sound, they substituted the closest thing they had, an 'f', giving us a name close to the modern spelling.
There are members of the Clan who will want to think that there is a difference between those who spell the name Macfarlane and those that use MacFarlane, or McFarlane, or either variation of these with a d on the end. Chalk it all up to a lack of standardized spelling in the early days of written records. All of these variations can be found among the scattered descendants of Parlan - including some who spell it Mac Parland. The earliest surviving record of the name appeared in 1385, and it was spelled Mackfarlain, and all the variations since then are just that - spelling variations. One Clan, many spellings.
Our immigrant Macfarlane ancestor,in the form of our father, came from Scotland to America in 1932, arriving in America on 4 May - one day after his 10th birthday. He was born in Clydebank, and his known ancestors appear in Dunbartonshire, in the parishes of Kilmaronock, Cardross, Rhu, and Bonhill. With much diligent searching of countless records in books and microfilms, we have - so far - traced his line back six generations.Our small piece of the Clan Macfarlane - at least the small piece that we have been able to identify so far first appears in the records of Dunbartonshire - in the parishes of Kilmaronock, Cardross, Rhu, and Bonhill.