Origin of the Name MacDonald
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name McDonald
include Donald, Donaldson and McDonell. The Clan founder was Somerled, who freed his countrymen from the Norse Yoke. He died in 1164, leaving three sons. The second, Reginald, died in 1207, leaving an eldest son, Donald, from whom the Clan takes its name. As Lords of the Isles and Earls of Ross, the Clan Donald were the greatest of the Highland Clans in Scotland , their Chief until 1493, ranking as an Island Sovereign. After the fall of the Lords of the Isles, first Glengarry, and then the Lords of Sleat held the Chieftainry. The Chief of Glencoe MacDonalds was of Royal descent and was, with nearly all his Clan, massacred by Campbell of Glenlyon in 1692. In Ireland this name is usually of immigrant origin having been brought into Ulster by settlers and gallowglasses from Scotland . Some members of the Gaelic MacDomhnaill sept adopted McDonald as the anglicized form of their name instead of the more usual McDonnell.
The MacDonald coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all MacDonald descendants.