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Mac-a-ghilledhiolan | Mac Giolla Fhaoláin
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Y-DNA Clusters

R-FGC5585 R-MC04 ⇒ R-MC13

Clan MacLellan: Princes of Galloway, Lords of Kirkcudbright: "Descended from Thomas Macduallan, the natural son of Alan, Lord of Galloway." 

Mac Dhiolan: An illegitimate son or bastard.

Slender 'dh' in Gaelic sounds like 'y' in English.

MACCLELLAN. Gael. Mac-a-ghilledhiolan (pron. Mac-il-iolan.) "The son of the bastard."

⇒ R-FGC5585 ⇒ R-Y87403Clann-a Bhreatannich - Clan of the Strathclyde Briton in Galloway. This clan surname is potentially as old as 1000 AD( same age as Clan McBurney from same Y-DNA cluster ). These two clan/surnames existed before most fixed surnames are thought to have started 200+ years later. These clans branch off prior to MacLellans of Galloway and provide context to their ancient Cumbric/Galloway origins.


⇒ ? Jacob, King/Lord of Galloway fl 973 ? Jacob is the first documented reguli of Galloway, not counting The British Chronicles by David Hughs( vol 2, pg 477 table 32A ) which lays out a lordship of a much older kingdom, much of which is dismissed by academics. I'm not convinced that Owain Calvus, seen below, descends from the Kings of Strathclyde patrilinearly. I speculate that Owain Calvus was a King of Galloway and potentially inherited the Kingdom of "Clutienses?" matrilineally when Owain of Strathclyde died. Galloway was probably a petty kingdom of the larger Cumbria. There probably aren't any modern historians that agree with me on this speculation, but that's what I think the Y-DNA is telling me based on the age of this Y-DNA branching in Galloway. So just to stir up some controversy, I'm making Jacob, Owain Calvus's father.

⇒ Ewen / Owain Calvus, King of the ?Clutienses( <= doesn't look like Clutienses to me ) ⇒ R-MC15 McCown/McEwen of Armakewne, Barewing/Baryown, Ewinston which became Ballmaclellan. George F. Black states in his "The Surnames of Scotland" that "The name here(M'Gowan), may indicate descent from Owen the Bald"". "Mag" is often used instead of "Mac" before a vowel, so Mac-Eoghan/Owan/Ewen may also become transcribed as Mag-Owan/M'Gowan. Need Big Y for Rorison Y-DNA match. Ruiri = Overking. Ruiri-son = Son of the King.

⇒ ? Malcolm mac Owain ?, King of the Cumbrians

Ulgric or Dovenald of Galloway?  Lead the Galwegians at The Battle of the Standard.  The Galwegians( aka The Wild Scots of Galloway ) fought bald and naked with long spears.  It makes one wonder if the bald warrior culture is because of Owain "The Bald" Calvus or if Owain Calvus participated in this warrior culture resulting in his bald moniker.  The bald warrior culture is yet more supporting evidence that Owain was of Galloway.

⇒ R-MC25 ⇒ King Fergus of GallowayGilbride Donnchadh ⇒ Alexander & Cailean/Nicholas Niall ⇒ Need Big Y for Alexander, Nichols Y-DNA matches .

Uchtred of Galloway had his tongue cut out and was castrated by his brother Gilbride.

Roland/Lochlainn Lord of Galloway

Alan, Lord of Galloway: The legitimate paternal line daughters out which leads to power vacuum for Balliol, Comyn and Bruce. Alan’s daughter Dervorguilla( heiress of Galloway ) marries John Balliol.

Thomas Macdhiolan ( Bastard Son ) Thomas married a daughter of Rǫgnvaldr, King of Man about a decade prior to the death of his father Alan. Under the old Celtic laws of Galloway he would have been the rightful heir, but Alexander II saw an opportunity to divide Galloway amongst Thomas's three legitimate half sisters and fully incorporate the independent Galloway into his Kingdom of Scotland. We need to investigate McCormick/Mack//Gilmore Y-DNA matches possible ties to lineage of Aulan{Alan?/Dhiolan?}/Ormack/Gilmore 1359 charter of Strongaskill in Glenkens.


fl 1273 Cane McGillolane ( Mac-a-ghilledhiolan - The son of the bastard - aka the son of Thomas ) . MacLellans have a Baton sinister, indicating illegitimacy, held by a knight supporter on their Coat of Arms**.

⇒ Donald fitz Cane ⇒ Donaldson Y-DNA Donald Mac Can’s chief place was on Threave Island. Fergus Lord of Galloway dwelt there and was the residence of Alan the last of the old kings of Galloway. After Bruce burned Threave Island to the ground and removed Donald Mac Cane, Bruce made Douglas the Lord of Galloway where he built the new Threave castle that stands to this day.

⇒ R-MC13 Gilbert McGillolane son of Donald, Bishop of Sodor and Man, ⇒ Acannan of Killochie Ballmaclellan ⇒ Y-DNA for Cannon. Chief of his kindred (capitaneo de total parentela sua) which were known as Clenconnan***, (RMS i, App. 2, no. 912, A & B). Erne Canny(Ironmaccannie) in 1408 may therefore be ‘the division of Cano (MacGillolane)’.

Patrick M‘Lolane - Patricius de Maklolandus? In 1305, Patrick was recorded capturing Dumfries Castle from 'The Bruce'. MacLellans, being direct paternal line descendants of Alan of Galloway, supported John Balliol claims to the Scottish throne over Robert the Bruce because John Balliol’s mother was Alan’s daughter, Dervorguilla of Galloway.  After Balliol’s overthrow at the hands of Edward I, MacLellans still opposed Bruce, helping to re-capture Dumfries Castle following the murder of the rival claimant Sir John Comyn. It's also entirely possible that the M'Lolanes believed themselves to be the rightful heirs to the throne of Scotland and we're acting in their own self interests. Regardless, with Balliol ascended to the throne of Scotland, M'Lolanes could take their rightful place as Lords of Galloway. Under Bruce, that title would fall to Douglas.

⇒ Ingram M'Gillelane, Lord of Dalcarne, was a proprietor in Forfarshire in 1373 ⇒ 1415 John M'Gillelane grants Dalcarne to his good friend Fergus Kennedy, Lord of Bonumyne to be held by the Lord Earl of Carrick in perpetuity. ⇒ 1466 Dungall inherits Balmaclellan from his father John M'Lelane.

Mathew MacLolane -1371 Sheriff of Galloway John MacLellan ⇒ Lords of Bombie.

Patrick MacLellan, Sheriff of Galloway was kidnapped and murdered by the Black Douglas, The MacLellan's kin and clansmen, the McEwens, subdued Douglas.  The late Sir Andrew Agnew, in his history of the Agnews in Galloway, states that McEwens surprise flanked the Black Douglas, with whom the besieged Agnews had a feud regarding the Sheriffdom of Galloway.

**Coat of Arms History: The Lords of Galloway coat of arms had a white(argent) lion rampant on a blue(azure) field. It's entirely possible this CoA was based on lore surrounding Ywain/Owain, a knight of the round table, or that Strathclyde's Owain was the inspiration for the Arthurian tale. McGillolanes appear to have lost all rights to this CoA as an illegitimate line. Cannons have a two-handed sword, in bend sinister on their CoA. It's possible that the claymore in bend sinister represents a bastard lineage. A Canne CoA found in Burke's Armory with two yellow couple closes on a red chevron has been attributed to Cane McGillolane by another historian, but it actually belongs to Chanons of Talaton. There has been some confusion possibly connecting the lineage of Cane McGillone through a shared heraldic ancestry with the former lairds of Gelston, the de Gevelstons. John de Gevelston had three black(sable) chevronels on a white shield. In 1319 one chevronel was removed from de Gevelston CoA. Gevelstons eventually forfeit the lands of Gelston to Boyd. Gelston then passes into the hands of Buttergask, then to McDowells, then to MacLellans. After obtaining Gelston, MacLellans use the two black chevronels on white of the original Gelston fief. Eventually MacLellans switch to black chevronels on yellow. Then in the Ulster Plantations, some MacLellans use red chevronels on yellow. The Galloway rampant lion CoA was passed to Balliol through the heiress of Dervorguilla and it was also adopted by Morvilles, by way of Alan's mother and by Gelston's prior laird the McDowells, who were the historic captains of the Galloway army. The McDowells might descend from the variant spelling lineage of MacDougals( with a similar CoAs ), Lords of Argyll who descend from Somerled whose father-in-law Óláfr Guðrøðarson married Fergus's daughter Affraic to solidify alliances. The crown on the neck of McDowell's lion, may symbolize royalty by way of marriage. Dunbar's also have the Galloway lion on their CoA through Uthred's wife Gunhilde de Dunbar. Edgar's also have what appears to be the Galloway lion on their CoA. Edzears (Edgars/Adairs) became captain of Clan MacGowin/McEwen(Mac Owain Calvus?), and although it's unclear how Edgars fit into the puzzle, it's interesting that Edzears held Bombie prior to MacLellans with a similar crest and CoA color scheme. In "The Account of the Sirname Edgar" they state that Edgars of Galloway are "supposed to have been related to the lords of Galloway, and kings of Man".

***Clenconnan has been the subject of much debate when it comes to deciphering MacLellan origins. Academics usually conclude that it translates to "Clan Conan" but fail to explain who Conan is, much less, where MacLellans came from and how they obtained their lands and power. If in fact, this was a Clan of Conan/Cune-an, it may have been a remnant clan of Cuneglasus( King Arthur? ), famed for his chariot of the bear. A Cynan/Conan has been connected to Loch Ryan(Arthur's Harbour) and the Wood of Celyddon. Cawn/Cannus was the first King of Strathclyde and it's entirely possible this was a clan named after the founder of the Kingdom. It's also easy to imagine that Trevercarcou in Balmaclellan is derived from "Trever{Settlement of} Car{Chariot} Cou{Cu/Con/Cawn/Cynan/Conan} ".

        The Britons their noble kingdom,

        Shall for a long time lose through weakness,
        Until from Armorica Conan shall come in his car,

        And Cadwaladyr, the honoured leader of the Cymry.

Clenconnan might however be Clancowan based on descent from Owain Calvus where Cowan comes from MacOwan( son of Owain ). There might have been a transcription error of 'nn' with 'w', which would be an easy mistake. More likely though, it comes from Glen Ceannan where Ceann translates to "head" or "leader" and tends to imply King and often gets angelised into "Ken". For example, the Water of Ken, Lock Ken, The Glenkens (glen of the kings) or Kenmure Castle where the Lords of Galloway lived. It would make a great deal of sense if Gilbert was Captain of Glenceannan. The -an suffix in Manx is a pluralization, so Glenceannan easily translates to become The Glenkens. Balmaclellan is in the Glenkens. The same etymology can be conjured up for Acannon( descendant of the kings ) and Ironmaccanie( land of the kings ), but it's hard to say for sure since Gilbert was a cannon(bishop) and his grandfather was named Cane.

Map Photo by Allan Milliken


MacLellans, Possibly keepers of St. Fillan's Relic the Crozier/Coigerach

Mac Gilla Fáeláin - Son of the servant of St. Fillan.


Mehin ⇒ McMahon & McMeekan Y-DNA matches ⇒ Makmaykanis?

⇒ Gilbride mac Mehin, Achostduf( Goustuf/Gustav/God's Staff )⇒ possible reference to St. Fillan's Crozier ⇒ Muntercasduf (People of God's Staff)?

Gilla Fáeláin mac Goustuf & mac Gilbride ⇒ MacLellan - Needs Big Y.

R-FGC3251 ⇒ McClure ( Macleora Dewer of St. Fillan Relics )

R-BY39757  ⇒ McCracken ( Son of the Ciogerach? )

Various clans within Carrick brought themselves under the captaincy of the Kennedies of Dunure at different times in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: the Muntercasduf, the Makmaykanis, the Werichsach and possibly the Kynchaldiis. -THE LAWS OF GALLOWAY A Preliminary Survey Hector  MacQueenSeveral of the surnames in this cluster served under the The Kennedy Earls of Cassilis. including McCracken, McFaddan, McClure and share Coat of Arms similarities with one another.  They rebelled against the monarchy of Scotland in 1526.

Compare Achostduf title of Gilbride to Accoultan title for Gille na Naem.  Gaelic word cuaill cuaille a weapon of bludgeon sort a rung a thick stick with this other known bachulls and the with which St Cuthbert drove the devil his bath Now the Earls of Atholl had same rights for their district as the Abbots Glen Dochart possessed in their territory is made clear by the law called Claremathane of William the Lyon If the Dewars office on the strength of St Fillan's staff they undoubtedly did were they not sons Cuaille... - The Celtic Monthly: A Magazine for Highlanders, Volume 9


These McLellans, match Clan MacMillan, whose origins are in Renfrewshire and Argyll.

There appears to be a 1563 coat of arms overlap with Makcleland of yt ilk: Argent a lion passant between two bars and in chief three mullets Gules and Clan MacMillan. Source: Forman’s Armorial, 1563. Same arms captioned Makcleland of yt ilk in Slains Armorial, 1565. Note there has been much confusion regarding Clan MacMillan's ancestor Cane Mac Dubgall ( R-Y77631) and Clan MacLellan's ancestor Cane McGillolane( seen in R-MC13 ) who are not the same person, nor are the origins of their McClellan lineages and clans.


MacLellans of Outer Hebrides
Mac Gille Fhialain

There are concentrations of MacLellans found in the Western Isles on Uist.  The Uist MacLellans were once known collectively as Na Faolanaich. The North Uist MacLellans are also known as Clann Iain Mhóir, after Iain Mór (John Mor MacLellan), a seventeenth-century ancestor. It is possible that this family descends from South Uist MacLellans who migrated to North Uist.

These MacLellans split with McNabs, Dewer and McClure( Macleora  Dewer of St. Fillan Relics )McNabs claim descent from one of the lay abbots of Strathfillan.  I'm not certain which haplogroup is the chieftain line of McNab.  Uist is quite a ways from Strathfillan so this line may or may not be related.  Whatever the case, there is little doubt that this is a hereditary line of dewers in the cult of St. Fillan


More MacLellans in the Hebrides

This lineage splits from MacKinnon, McPhearson, MacQuarrie and Findlay. Skene/MacFirbis has the MacKinnon genealogy as
Niall, son of Colum, son of Gillabrigde, son of Eogan, son of Gillabrigde, son of Saineagain, son of Finlaeie( first MacKinnon ), son of Finguine(Kinnon), son of Cormac( also the father of Guaire(MacQuarrie), son of Airbertaig, son of Muircheach, son of Fearchair oig... after this MacFirbis isn't consistent but in MacQuarrie version has...  mhic Beathaidh.  

McPhearson comes from Fingal( although I suspect from Fearchair Oig above ), Findlay comes from Finaelie, and McKinnion from Finguine.  All of those names are variations of fair foreigner.  These MacLellans of South Uist split from this lineage  just prior to 
Finlaeie Mac Finguine(Kinnon).  These MacLellans "might" descend from MacBeth.


Mac Gilfalyn

These MacLellans appear to have surname matches affiliated with Lothian and surrounding areas.  It's possible this line may have connections to Gilfalyn of Oxton.


Mac Giolla Fhaoláin - Potentially keepers of St. Fillan's Bell the Bernane.

This McLellan matches the surname Bell.


NW Irish McClellan branch in Galloway

These McClellans seem to split from McHargue surname which may be from Galloway.   The ancient Irish Y-DNA may indicate heritage resulting from Gall Gaidheil ( Stranger Gaels ) that ended up in Galloway with the McClellan surname.  They are potentially part of Clan McClellan of Galloway.

Clan Cleland - Non Sibi


These Gillilands appear to share distant ancestry with Clan Boyle who came to Millom, Cumberland from Beauville near Caen, in France during the Norman Conquest of 1066. After Cumberland, Boyles were keepers of several castles in Galloway Scotland. Clan Boyle ultimately became the Earls of Glasgow. It's possible that Gillilands get their name from Gaillon in Normandy and then settled near Kilbirnie in the vicinity of Y-DNA matches of Clan Boyle, Clan Lockhart and Boyds. There is likely a placename connection of "Kilbirnie" near where some Guillilands are from and "Kelburn" Castle where Boyles are from. The placename, Guliland can be found on this old map, just south of Kelburn Castle, very near "Gyles" Bay and Symington where Lockharts/Simms Y-DNA matches are from.


Gilliland of Cenel Eoghan - Ua Giollain

Under Construction( check back later ) Clans of Galloway Y-DNA Project