This interesting surname, with variant spellings MacFarlan, MacFarland, MacParlan(d) and MacPharlain, is of Scottish and Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "MacPharlain", from the Gaelic prefix "Mac", meaning "son of ", and the personal name "Parlan", itself coming from the older Gaelicized form of Bartholomew, i.e. "Partholon". The ultimate origin of Bartholomew is the Aramaic patronymic, "bar-Talmay", translating as "son of Talmay", a given name meaning "having many furrows". This surname was first recorded in Scotland in the latter part of the 14th Century (see below), while other early recordings include: Duncan filius (son of) Malcolm Makfarlane, who had a charter from Duncan, Earl of Levenaux in 1395, and Andrew M'Farlane, of Aracher, who was admitted burgess of Glasgow in 1577. Recordings from Scottish Church Registers include the marriage of James MacFarlane and Elizabeth Robertson on April 6th 1706, at Canongate, Midlothian, and the marriage of Duncan MacFarlane and Isobel Walker on July 19th 1767, at Edinburgh, also in Midlothian. The surname is also widespread in the Ulster counties of Tyrone and Armagh; on December 12th 1808, Robert MacFarlane and Margery Anderson were married in Dungannon, County Tyrone. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a red saltire wavy between four red roses on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Malcolm McPharlane, which was dated circa 1385, a charter witness in the "Highland Papers", during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390. 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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