Recorded in several spellings including Meiklam, Meiklem, Meikleham, and Meikleim, and probably having an association with surnames and sometimes compounds such as Meikle, Meiklejohn, Meiklejones, and Meikleman, this is a Scottish and probably medieval surname. However we have some controversy as to the origin. According to Black's famous dictionary of Scottish surnames, often regarded as the bible of Celtic and Gaelic surnames, this surname originates from the early surname MacIlwham, an ancient name which is part of the Clan Lamond or Lamont, and meaning the son of Thomas. However we would dispute this premise as the dictionary fails to provide any definitive proof such as early sources and dates, although it has to be said that with surnames almost anything is possible. In our opinion the origin is from the ancient pre 7th century Gaelic word "mykel or meikill" meaning large, and as such was probably given as a personal name of endearment to early chieftains, men renowned for their size. In fact this is definately the case with Meikle as a surname, and probably also Meiklejohn meaning Big John, and Meiklejones, which means "The son of Big John". A Wylemus Meikle was recorded in the parish of Ivfy, Morayshire, in 1382, which may be the earliest recording in any form of the surname. Meiklem and its other spellings would seem to be later diminutives of Meikle, or perhaps transpositions of Meikleman, first recorded in the 16th century.
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