The genealogical bug seems to run in my family. In 1939, my great grandfather, Rev. James A. McLachlan, wrote a 50 page summation The Several Family Groups of the family starting with his great grandfather of whom less is known than his wife, Margaret MacDonald. In fact, we don't even know his first name, but his wife's bible came to my great grandfather and set him on the track of his hobby in his latter years.
I spell MacLachlan the way I do because that's how I was told it was spelled. Great-grandpa spelled it McLachlan, but my grandfather changed it to MacLachlan from what I can tell, when he became a US citizen. On the maps I've seen of Ancient Scotland, the area around Loch Fynne was owned by the MacLachlan's, so it works for me. As close as Ireland is, I guess that's a big influence. I've found many spellings of my last name and seen it butchered by more than a few, so I really don't know if there is much difference between McLaughlin, McLachlin, MacLachlon and all the rest. Many of my relatives in Canada have told me they spell it McLachlan. Personal preference, I guess.
A brief history of the MacLachlan Clan in my own words is ridiculous since I can never keep all the names straight. My Uncle tells it well, as did my grandfather, but I think I'll copy down what great-grandpa wrote in 1939...
McLachlan is a clan of great antiquity in Argyllshire, Scotland. Their badge is the Moutain-Ash.
McLachlan Strathlachlan in in Argyllshire is believed to have been possessed by the McLachlans before or about the eleventh century. Some antiquarians are of the opinion that this amongst other old families on the West Coast has an Irish origin. And this is probable, both from the proximity of the opposite coasts, and their being inhabited by the same race of people having a common language. At an early period there seems to have been constant intercourse. We find native tribes of Ireland with precisely the same names in Scotland. It was about the period when the family declined in Ireland that the McLachlans appear in Scotland in good position. At one time they owned extensive lands in Argyllshire which are now reduced to the Barony of McLachlan or Strathlachlan. Their intermarriages are given in the manuscript of 1450, and are with such families as those of The Lords of the Isles, The King of Kerry & co.
An ancestor, Lachlan Mor was Living in the twelfth century. By tradition the clan is said to have come from Ireland, where the O'Loughlins of Meath are supposed to be their progenitors.
Aida Alain is reported the common ancestor of the Scottish McLachlans. Irish genealogists state that he was the grandson of Hugh Aiteman, the head of the family of O'Neils, Kings of Ireland. About 1230, Gilchrist McLachlan is said in a manuscript dated 1467, to have been the head of the family in Scotland. In 1308 Gillespie McLachlan sat in Robert Bruce's First Parliament.
In the ill-starred "Stuart Uprising" the McLachlans threw their fate with Prince Charles, and it says much for the popularity of Lachlan McLachlan, who was the Fifteenth Chief, that he was able to make his way from the very centre of Argyll and join the Prince in the North. On every side he was surrounded by the Campbells and other keen partisans of the "House of Hanover." He was appointed an A.D.C. to the Prince. He was killed at the battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746, when Prince Edward Charles Stuart and his adherents were defeated by the Duke of Cumberland. The battle took place on a heath four miles east of Inverness, the last conflict waged, as such, by the Scottish clans. Following that the clans were broken up by Royal edict, and their members largely scattered to "the four corners of the earth."
In 1862 the eighteenth chief was Robert McLachlan of McLachlan, one of the deputy lieutenants of Argyllshire. Previous to 1745 the clan was able to muster 300 fighting men. The present hereditary chief (1928) is John McLachlan, barrister of Edinburgh, and Argyll, and a member of the Supreme Court of Scotland. Large numbers of McLachlans migrated from Argyllshire, the home and domain of this ancient clan, to Canada and the Untied States, where they and their descendents shared in the development of their adopted countries.
The name also is found in Sterlingshire and Perthshire. One of the most celebrated persons of the name was Eden McLachlan, (1775-1882) Gaelic poet and scolar, who for a time was head-master of Aberdeen Grammar School. Another distinguished scion was Thomas Hope McLachlan, (1845-1897) landscape painter, who forsook law for art and whose picture, "Ships that pass in the Night" is in the National Art Gallery, London England.
There you have it from great-grandpa, a mostly self-taught man who was born in a cabin with one wall made from skins in the wilds of Ontario, Canada in the 1800's- or so the story goes. At any rate, his writings about the family are mostly what I used to put together my family tree. He kept pretty good track of his many brothers, sisters & assorted kin, so take a good look through the Surnames to see if one of your family members could be part of my database. I'd love to add to the collateral branches of the family.
More information is now included on my wife's side of the family, especially the Coe family. My wife's aunt is writing a book on the subject and I understand others have been written tracing my wife's grandfather's lineage back as far as the 1300's. I'd like to get the MacLachlan side back that far - I'm less interested in distant relations to kings than all the farmers & blacksmiths that really make up my heritage. (Great-grandpa was from a line of farmers and apprenticed as a wagon maker.) Anyway, here are the links.