This long established and noble Scottish surname is development of the ancient Scots-Gaelic MacLeoid. This is composed of Mac or Mc, meaning son of, and a Norse personal name Ljot-ulf, meaning "ugly wolf". Ljotr was a viking who it is said also held lands in the Isle of Man, and legend has it (quote) "that the MacLeods have a pretension to descend from the old Lords of the Isle of Man, and began early in the 18th century, to add the arms of Man to their coat". The Clan MacLeod are divided into two branches: Macleod of Dunvegan or "Macleod of Macleod", and Macleod of the Lewes, of which the principal branches are Assynt, and Rasaay.Of these, the former branch alone now holds lands in Scotland. Early examples of recorings include Torquil M'Leod de Leohus who witnessed a grant of lands in Badenoch in 1338, whilst Gilbert McGoid was a tenant in Tiree in 1541. Thomas Gordon MacLeod (1868 - 1932), Governor of South Carolina, USA, was Scottish on both sides. Amongst Scots descendants in Poland the name has become "Machlejd". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillandres MacLeod. This was dated 1227, in the "Acts of Parliament of Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 11nd of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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