Recorded as MacNaughton, McNaughton, McCracken, McCraken, MacNeachtain, and others, this is a famous Gaelic surname. It is generally considered to be of Scottish origins, it may equally be Irish, as it is also prominent in Northern Ireland. There it is recorded in another group of spellings of which the most popular is MacReachtain or McReachtain, the interchange of the initial 'n' and 'r' being a characteristic of Ulster. The derivation of the surname is ultimately from the pre 10th century Gaelic 'Mac' meaning son of, and the personal name Naughton or Naughten. Naughten it is claimed, was in Ancient Gaelic mythology, the god of water and the sea. Some MacNaughtons migrated from Scotland to Antrim in the 14th century, becoming early "planters", and gradually changing their name to McReachtain amongst other spellings. The coat of arms most associated with the clan it is said has the blazon of a black shield, and thereon an escutcheon of chequy silver and blue, between three lion's heads erased of the second. The crest being a lion's head, as in the arms, with the motto: Omnia fortunae committo, translating as "I commit all things to fortune". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donald MacNachtane, the dean of Dunkeld. This was dated 1431, in the Papal Registers of Great Britian and Ireland, during the reign of King James 1st of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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