Recorded in several spellings including MacFarlan, MacFarland, MacFarlane, MacParland, MacParlin, MacPharlain, MacPartlin, MacPartling, and in the popular short form commencing with "Mc" or occcasionally without a prefix at all, as in Farlane or Parland, this is a name of medieval Scottish and sometimes Irish, origins. It is a form of the Old Gaelic Mac Pharlain, from the prefix "Mac or Mc", meaning son of, and the personal name "Parlan", itself coming from the Gaelicized Parthalan, a form of the early Hebrew Bartholomew. The ultimate origin of Bartholomew is the Aramaic patronymic, "bar-Talmay", translating as "son of Talmay", a given name meaning "one having many furrows". Batholomew was a Crusader introduction into the British Isles in about the 11th century, when it became the fashion for warriors returning from the Holy Land, to christen their children with biblical names. This surname was first recorded in Scotland in the latter part of the 14th Century (see below), whilst early recordings include Duncan Malcolm Makfarlane, who had a charter from Duncan, Earl of Levenaux in 1395, and Andrew M'Farlane, of Aracher, who was admitted as a burgess of Glasgow in 1577. The surname is also widespread in the Irish counties of Tyrone and Armagh, Diarmuid Mc Parthalain who lived in about 1485, being an early poet, whilst much later Robert MacFarlane and Margery Anderson were married at Dungannon, County Tyrone, on December 12th 1808. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Malcolm McPharlane, which was dated circa 1385, a charter witness in the "Highland Papers", during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390.
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