Recorded in many forms (see below) of which the principle spellings are MacQueen, McQueen and what are known as 'side forms' MacWhan, MacWhin and McWhan, this is a Gaelic surname of pre 10th century origins. It derives from the Old Scots surname "Mac Shuibhne" which translates as "The son of the easy going one", with "Mac" and the shortened form "Mc" meaning son of, and "Shuibhne", a personal name. It is said that the dialectal aspiration of the prefix "S" causes the name when preceded by "Mac" to be pronounced like MacWhann, and in consequence there are many other forms of the surname recorded both in Scoland and particularly Northern Ireland which include: M'Quhyne, M'Quhan, M'Quhen, Maquhon, Mc Quhenne, Mauchquhen and M'Kquyne.Early examples of the surname recordings include: Luke McQuyn, a burgess of Aberdeen in the year 1403, Michael McQueen, a burgess of Edinburgh in 1510, and founder of the Magdalen Chapel, in what is known as the "Cowgate" of Edinburgh, and John Makquon, a charter witness at Laik, Kirkcudbrightshire, in 1552. Other recordings include: Agnes McWhan, who it seems was a 'disorderley persone' in the parish of Kirkcudbright in 1685, whilst Andrew McWhan in the same year was apparently executed by firing squad for adhering to the Covenant! The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Hector Mac Souhyn. This was dated 1271, in the records of an inquest held at Dumbarton, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. 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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