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Macgachan Coat of Arms / Macgachan Family Crest

The earliest of the name on record of this Scottish surname appears to be Roland MacGaghen of Wyggeton, who rendered homage in 1296. In 1377 Morice M'Gaychin and others were granted a safe conduct to travel into England, at the request of Archibald Douglas, lord of Galloway. The lands of Callones in Galloway, were pledged to Fergus M'Gachyn in 1460, and Fergus M'Gachyn appears as a witness in Wigtown in 1490. The name has numerous variant spellings which include MacGEACHAN, MacGEACHEN, MagGACHAN, GAUCHANE, GAUCHIN, KAIGHAN and KAIGHIN. 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'. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists. Later instances of the name include Johne McGachyn who was a witness at St. Andrews in 1463 and a John M'Gachand was recorded in Ayrshire in 1536. Sir John M'Gathan was a notary public in Irvine in 1540. Translation of arms: Or (yellow) denoted gold, meaning wealth. The hand in heraldry was a pledge of faith, sincerity and courage, and gules (red) denoted military fortitude and magnanimity. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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