Recorded in various spelling forms including MacClellan, MacLeland, McClelland and McLelland, this is a ancient Scottish surname. Widely recorded as well in Northern Ireland, it derives from the pre 9th century name Mac gille Haolain. This tranlates as the son of the follower of Faolan, with Mac meaning son of, gille, a follower or servant, and the personal name Faolan, meaning "wolf". The clan gave its name to the village of Balmaclellan in the county of Galloway, in the south west of Scotland. Alternate spellings of the name have included M'Lolane in 1306, McGillolane in 1359, McCleilane in 1522, and M'Cleanllane in 1605. Both M' and Mc are recognised foreshortenings of the prefix Mac. Curiously in Southern Ireland the surname also survives in County Leitrim as Gilfillan. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Patrick M'Lolane. This was dated 1306, when in support of the Interregnum Government of Scotland lead by John Baliol, he captured the castle of Dumfries from the followers of King Robert, known as The Bruce, 1306 - 1329. Whether this was a wise thing to do is arguable, as shortly afterwards Robert secured the support of the whole country! Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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