The family of MacKinnons are one of the branches of the Siol Alpine, and claim to be descended from Fingon, a great grandson of Kenneth MacAlpin. The MacKinnons held lands in Mull and Skye, and from the earliest times appear to have been vassals of the Lords of the Isles. In 1409 Lachlan MacKinnon witnessed a charter of the Lords of the Isles. Until the forteiture of the Lordship of the Isles, the history of the MacKinnons is bound up with that important family. The family were intimately connected with the ecclesiastical history of Iona, and the last Abbot of that holy island was John MacKinnon, who died in 1550. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. A notable member of the name is Donald Mackenzie MacKinnon who was born in 1913. He was the Scottish philosopher of religion at Aberdeen and Cambridge. His lectures were published in 1965. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.
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