What is the origin of the last name Mcfarland?

The last name Mcfarland traces its origins back to Scotland, specifically the Gaelic region, where it first emerged as "MacPharlain," meaning "son of Parlan." The name is a patronymic, denoting descent from a prominent male ancestor named Parlan. Over time, "MacPharlain" evolved into different spellings, including MacFarlane and McFarland, as families migrated and settled in various English-speaking countries. Today, Mcfarland remains a popular surname predominantly found in Scotland, Ireland, and their diaspora.

Countries of origin for the last name Mcfarland

The surname Mcfarland is a Scottish and Irish surname with deep historical roots. It is derived from the Gaelic language and has multiple variations and spellings, including MacPharlain, MacParisland, and MacFarlane. The name Mcfarland can also be seen as a toponymic surname, as it originated from the names of places in Scotland and Ireland. The analysis of this surname reveals intriguing insights into its etymology, distribution, and historical significance.

The etymology of the surname Mcfarland can be traced back to its Gaelic origin. The prefix “Mac” indicates “son of,” indicating that the bearers of this surname are descendants of an ancestor named Farlan. The name Farlan itself has uncertain origins, but it is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word “fearghal,” meaning “man of valor” or “brave warrior.” This suggests that the early bearers of the Mcfarland name were associated with bravery and strength.

The distribution of the Mcfarland surname reveals its prevalence in both Scotland and Ireland. In Scotland, it is most commonly found in the region of Argyll, where it can be traced back to the medieval Clan MacFarlane. The clan played a significant role in Scottish history and was associated with the lands around Loch Lomond. The Mcfarland surname is still prominent among Scottish descendants today, with concentrated populations found in areas such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.

In Ireland, the Mcfarland surname is primarily associated with County Donegal, particularly the Inishowen Peninsula. The surname is believed to have arrived in Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th century, when Scottish settlers were encouraged to relocate to Ireland. As a result, the Mcfarland name became integrated into the fabric of Irish society and has continued to be passed down through generations.

The historical significance of the Mcfarland surname is reflected in various notable individuals who bear this name. One such example is W. G. McFarlane, a prominent Scottish historian known for his extensive research on medieval Scotland and the MacFarlane clan. His contributions have shed light on the historical context and importance of the Mcfarland surname.

In conclusion, the surname Mcfarland holds a rich history and cultural significance in both Scotland and Ireland. Its Gaelic origins, distribution in specific regions, and association with notable individuals all contribute to the unique identity and legacy of this surname. While there is much to be known about the specific genealogical connections and stories of Mcfarland families, the analysis of this surname provides a solid foundation for further exploration and understanding.

Interesting facts about the last name Mcfarland

  • The surname Mcfarland is of Scottish origin.
  • It is derived from the Gaelic name Mac Pharlain, which means “son of Parlan” or “son of Bartholomew”.
  • The name Mcfarland is primarily found in Scotland and Irish communities.
  • Many Mcfarlands migrated to North America during the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly to the United States and Canada.
  • There are several variations of the Mcfarland surname, including Macfarlane, MacFarland, MacPharlane, MacParland, and McPharlane.
  • The Clan Macfarlane, associated with the surname, has a rich history in Scotland and played a significant role in Scottish politics and conflicts.
  • The Mcfarland surname is relatively common, with numerous individuals bearing the name worldwide.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Mcfarland include American football player Fred McFarland and journalist Elizabeth Mcfarland.
  • The Mcfarland name is occasionally used as a given name, particularly in the United States.
  • The surname Mcfarland has a strong connection to Scottish clan heritage and Scottish identity.

Name Rank


There are around 41300 people with the last name Mcfarland in the US

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