Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Macmillan Name
Scotland, England, Ireland
Origins of Name:
The surname of McMillan comes from the Old Gaelic, “Macghillemhaoil”. The Gaelic version of the surname would eventually later become the name “Macmhaeolain. “Mac” is a Gaelic prefix and is interpreted to mean “son of,” while “gille” is also Gaelic and is interpreted to mean “a servant” and “maol” which can be interpreted to mean “the tonsured one.” Maolain comes from the word “maol” and was more often than not used to describe a devotee to a particular saint. To “tonsure” is to shave the head in a semicircular pattern, which is what devotees of particular saints did as part of their devotion.
More common variations are:
McMillian, McMillany, Mccmillan, Mcmilann, Mcmiliann, Mcmillane, Micmillan, McKmillan, McMillain
The first recorded spelling of the family surname of McMillan was one Gillemor Macmolan, who was a juror on an Inquest in Lanarkshire, and was recorded in the “Acts of Parliament in Scotland, under the reign of King Alexander III of Scotland, who ruled from the year 1249 to the year 1289. Other recordings are Sir Duncan Macmolane, who was a Pope’s Knight, and appeared on record in Edinburgh, Scotland in the year 1452, and John Mckmilane (also spelled Macmylan) who was Balie of Glasgow in 1452. Those with the surname of McMillan can be found in the western coastal regions of Lanarkshire, Argyll, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, and Inverness-shire counties.
The first recorded spelling of the McMillan surname was Thomas Wilmot, who was the son of John and Elizabeth Macmillan, and was christened in Sepulchre, London. Those who bear the surname of McMillan are found all over the country of England. The higher concentrations of people who carry this surname can be found in Lancashire and Yorkshire counties.
The first recorded mention of someone with the surname of McMillan was the MacMillan Clan, who had land in Knap, Loch Suibne, where a boulder is rumored to be engraved with the Gaelic “Macmillans right to Knap while wave strikes rock.” Later, in the year 1866, Frederick Macmillan was christened in Mullingar, Ireland.
United States and Canada:
During the European Migration, which began in the 17th Century, European citizens began to leave the country of their birthplace and settle in a new land. This Migration was often due to the freedoms that other new lands promised, such as the promise of religious freedom in the New World, which was what the United States of America was referred to. During this migration, those with the surname of McMillan settled in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Ohio, Kansas, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The first person to bear the surname of McMillan in the New World was John McMillan, who was banished from his home country of England, and made to get on a ship and travel to New England in 1685. Also that same year, Duncan McMillan landed in the state of New Jersey. In the 18th Century, it was more common for settlers to move up into Canada, especially during or shortly after the Revolutionary War. Lieutenant McMillan U.E. settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick in the year 1784 after he served in DeLancey’s 1st Battalion. Shortly after, Private Donald McMillan, who was born in Scotland, but emigrated to New York, New York settled in the Eastern District of Cornwall, Ontario in 1784.
Australia and New Zealand
The first known McMillan to emigrate to Australia was Angus MacMillan from Lochaber in 1837. He explored the Victoria region which is known today as Gippsland. In 1853 aboard the New Zealander, Archibald and Flora McMillan arrived in Victoria. Archibold lived to be 95 years old, when he was killed by being hit by a bolting horse at a race.
The first known Mcmillan to arrive in New Zealand was in 1851 by the name of Norman McLeod from the Highlands of Scotland.
United States 45,154
New Zealand 3,290
South Africa 2,612
Northern Ireland 918
Trinidad and Tobago 601
William George “Will” McMillan (1944-2015) who was an actor, producer, and director who was known for his work on The Crazies (1973) Salvador (1986) and The Enforcer (1976)
William L. McMillan (1936-1984) who was a physicist from America
William Willard McMillan (1929-2000) who was a sports shooter who was a seven-time gold and eight-time silver medalist
William McMillan (1777-1832) who was the 4th President of Jefferson College from the years 1817 to 1822, and the President of Franklin College from the years 1825 to 1832
William McMillan (1764-1804) who was the Delegate to the United States Congress from the Northwest Territory from the year 1800 to 1801
Thomas Law “Tommy” McMillan (1888-1966) who was an MLB outfeileder and shortstop rom 1908 to 1912
David McMillan (1981-2013) who was an NFL and CFL football defensive end
James McMillan (1838-1902) who was an American politician that was born in Canada, was a US Senator from Michigan
Robert Sensman McMillan (1916-2001) who was an architect from America and one of the founders of The Architects Collaborative
Macmillan Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the MacMillan blazon are the lion, mullet and sword. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, or and argent .
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” . Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun . In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ .
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” . A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires . In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” .
Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms . Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.