Recorded in various spellings as shown below, this is a surname of Scottish Highland ancestry, but is now equally well recorded in Ireland and the Isle of Man. It has many spellings including MacFadan, MacFadden, MacFadyen, MacFadzean, MacPhaden, McFadden, McFfaden, McFayden, as well as forms without a Mac or Mc prefix at all such as: Faden, Fadon, Fadden, Fadian, Faddian, and even Vaden, the latter spellings being particularly well recorded in County Mayo in Ireland. However spelt it derives from the pre 14th century surname Mac Phaidin, itself from the personal name Paidin, a diminutive of Padraig or Patrick.This personal name derives from the Roman word 'patricius', meaning a nobleman. In his book 'Clan traditions and popular tales of the Western Highlands and Islands', J.G. Campbell states that the clan were the first possessors of Lochbuie, and when expelled, they became a race of wandering skilled artificers known as sliochdnan or the goldsmiths. Early examples of the recording include those of Conghan Macpaden who petitioned for the archdeaconry of Argyll, Scotland, in 1390, and John McFadyeane, who appeared on record in Edinburgh in 1457. Later examples taken from surviving church registers include James McFadden and Rebeca Dunnaway who were married at St. Nicholas church, Aberdeen, whilst in Ireland James Fadian, the son of Martin Fadian, was christened at Achill, in County Mayo, on July 14th 1866. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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