Recorded as MacLaren, McLaren and the patronymic McLarens, this is a famous Scottish surname. It originates from the pre 10th century "Mac Labhruinn" translating a the son of Labhrunn, the latter being a Gaelic form of the ancient Roman baptismal name Lawrence. This was a name associated with biblical times, and hence one which was brought back to Europe by returning Crusader knights of the 12th century, fresh from their many and varied attempts to seize the Holy Land and Jersusalem from the grip of the Muslim. The derivation is from the Latin word "Laurentius", meaning the city of laurels, and which for various reasons has over the many centuries been associated both with peace and victory. The forename is first recorded as Laurentius in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Norfolk, England in 1141, whilst Lorin Mac Gilserf is the first recorded Scottish namebearer in 1258. The surname first appears in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below) and in modern spellings has at least seven variations including MacLauren, MacLaran, MacLaurin, MacLawrin and MacClaren, as well as the short forms commencing "Mc" and various spellings without the Gaelic prefix at all. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes M'Lern. This was dated 1466, in the Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, during the reign of King James III of Scotland, 1460 - 1488. 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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