Recorded as MacMillan, McMillan, McMolan and at various times Makmulane, Makmyllen, Makmyllane and others, this is a famous medieval Scottish and sometimes Irish, clan surname. It derives from the pre 10th century Old Gaelic Mac ghille Mhaoil, later contracted to Macmhaolain. It translates as the son of the follower of the holy man, with "mhaoil" meaning tonsured or bald, and hence applying to a devotee of a saint. As to whom the particular saint was is not known, but the clan occupied lands in Isla from the earliest times, when they were associated with Clan MacDonald of the Isles. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th century (see below), whilst early examples of the recordings include Sir Duncan Macmolane, a Pope's knight, who appears on record in Edinburgh in 1452, and John Makmilane or Makmylan who was balie of Glasgow in 1454. The MacMillan clan had possession of land near Knap on Loch Suibne, and a boulder on the shore is said to have had engraved on it in Gaelic; "Macmillan's right to knap while wave strikes rock". The wide range of church recordings throughout the British Isles include the christening of Thomas, the son of John and Elizabeth MacMillan, on August 3rd 1834 at St. Sepulchre church in the city of London, and the christening of Frederick MacMillan on June 13th 1866 at Mullingar, in Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillemor MacMolan. This was dated 1263, when he was a juror on an inquest in Lanarkshire, in the "Acts of Parliament of Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 111rd of Scotland, 1249 - 1289. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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