This ancient gaelic surname originating as MacFhionghuin, is in its modern form of MacKinnon or McKinnon both Scottish and Irish. The name is believed to originate as far back as 728 a.d., and to be a developed form of 'vindo-gonios' in the ancient language meaning 'the fair born'. The clan were for many centuries associated with the Isle of Iona, whilst in the graveyard of Kirkapoll, Tiree, a tombstone records that 'Fingonivs' was the prior there in the year 1445. Other early recordings include those of John M'Fynwyn who was abbot of Iona in circa 1490, whilst William Makfingoun was a 'reader' at Paisley in 1560. William Makkynnane was the vicar of Dingwall in 1587, but Archibald and Neil M'Fingan of Tiree were denounced as rebels in 1675. Quite what they were rebelling against is unclear, but it maybe that they were Roman Catholic. The 'modern' spelling of the surname seems to have been late in arriving, it was still McKynnoun in 1621 and McKinin in 1680. Sometime in the 18th century it adopted the modern form, as an example Daniel MacKinnon, born in 1781, was wounded at Waterloo in 1815, and in 1830 appointed Colonel of the regiment. He was related to Sir William MacKinnon (1823 - 1893), founder of the British East Africa Company, in 1885. The coat of arms of the clan has the blazon of a quartered shield, in the first quarter a boars head in silver on a green field, in the second a triple towered castle on a blue field, in the third a black galley, sails furled, and in the fourth a black cross-crosslet fitchee, overall a hand with two fingers outstretched fesswise. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lachlann Makfingane, which was dated 1409, witnessed a charter of Donald, Lord of the Isles, during the reign of King James 1st of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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