Origin of the Name McGillin
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives. Variants of McGillin include Gillen, Gillen, Gilligan, O'Gillan, Gillan, Galligan and MacElgunn. This name in Irish is from the native Gaelic O'Giollain Sept who were of the Cenel Eoghain and located in Counties Sligo, Donegal and Tyrone. These names can also be derived from the MacGiollagain Sept of County Derry who often anglicized their name as McGillligan.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. Irish septs and clans that are related often belong to even larger groups, sometimes called tribes.
Their territory in the 16th and 17th centuries was known as MacGilligan's Country and Magilligan Strand is still a feature marked on modern maps. In an important despatch in 1608 it was noted that the MacGilligans were one of the three chief Septs of Coleraine under the O'Cahans. The Gaelic word from which Gillen, McGillen and McGilligan are all derived is 'giolla', meaning 'lad'.
The McGillin 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 McGillin descendants.