This famous Scottish clan surname derives from the ancient pre 10th century Gaelic names MacMhaolain or possibly Mac Ghille Mhaoil. These are composed of the elements 'Mac', meaning a son of, Mc being a short form, and 'Gille' a friend or servant, plus the nickname 'Maol', meaning the bald or tonsured one! This may have been a reference to an early follower of a religious order, or more likely one who adopted the manners and dress of a cleric perhaps in a theatrical sense. The spelling forms include such examples as MacMulan, Makmilane, and Makmylan, in the charters of the city of Glasgow in the year 1485, and earlier as MacMolane, Sir Duncan MacMolane being recorded in the register of the parish of Edinburgh in 1452. Other examples include Gilbert McMulane, who held the charter of a tenement in Ayr in 1505, whilst Robert Makmyllen was a burgess of the same place in 1555, and Edwin McMillam who was also recorded as McMillan, and a christening witness at St Leonards Shoreditch, city of London, on December 6th 1830. The Macmillan clan have long held possession of land near Knap, and it is claimed that a boulder on the shore was said to have been engraved in the Gaelic that 'Macmillan's right to knap while wave strikes roick.' The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Gillemor MacMolan. This was dated 1263, in the Scottish acts of parliament, during the reign of King Alexander III, of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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