Before the 1745 Jacobite Rising, the general usage was
the Gaelic spelling MacLochlainn and the name of the clan was Clann
The anglicization after the middle of the 18th century
of the Gaelic MacLochlainn brings about the customary pronunciation of
MacLachlan and the common Irish spelling McLoughlin. The Scottish
"loch" and the Irish "lough" have a similar
pronunciation in the dialects of North West Ulster and the West of Scotland.
The name is the same whether the anglicization of the
Gaelic name starts Mac, Mc or M', O' or omits the prefix and continues with
Lochlainn, Lachlan, Lachlin, Lauchlin, Lauchlan etc.
The Irish spelling was frequently MacLaughlin,
Maclaughlan or MacLoughlin and in some areas MacGloughlin, McGlockling or
The spelling may look grotesque but is easily grasped
as being the phonetic response of a local official to a strange accent from
an immigrant who often could not read his own name.
Spelling is a guide but not a reliable guide as to
origin. One glance at the geography will show why there has been for
centuries a two-way movement between Northern Ireland and the West of
Scotland.Until about a hundred years ago it was easier to travel by sea from
Argyll to Ulster than overland into the Lowlands of Scotland!
In the early sixteenth century in the settlements in
Ulster of James 1 there were MacLachlans from Scotland. In the mid
-nineteenth century there was a reverse flow of Irish immigrants to Glasgow
and the industrial lowlands.
Many registrars in Scotland changed MacLaughlin to
MacLachlan. The reverse took place in Australia, Canada and the United
States; many registrars changed MacLachlan to MacLaughlin. Some localities
omitted entirely the prefix Mac, Mc, O' etc as being superfluous.
The Clan MacLachlan Society has used the spelling of
the chief's family when referring to the Clan except that the Society has
used capital L as being the accepted usage for 99% of the families.
The spelling preferred by an individual family is used in all our records.