The following is the real history of the McLaurins and McLarens

"In ancient days the Bishops of Argyle made Lismore their fertile and peaceful abode, and there the forefathers of Duncan McLaren lived for generations." Duncan McLaren, MP, 1800 -1886.

Duncan McLaurin’s clergy ancestors lived at Balimackillichan, just to the northeast of St. Moluag’s Cathedral property on the Isle of Lismore. Laurence the Bishop of Argyle was an abbot from the indigenous tribe of Lismore and the adjoining abbey lands called Appin, this tribe described as the “slaves of Christ”, MacVicars, M’Olchallums, then later also MacLay and McLaurin lives as far as the parishes of Ardchattan Kilmichael and Kilmartin to the north shore of Loch Awe.

This clergy tribe of Loarn, is now thought to be the heirs of Saint Moluag the patron saint of Cenél Loairn. Nearby are the ‘Laity’ readers, known as the Mhic Laeich who descend from ‘Fin’ the ‘lay son of Fearchar’ who probably lived at Bachuil, where Niall Livingstone of Bachuill lives, “Keeper of St. Moluag’s Crozier” and Chief of the McLeas’ and Livingstones’. Niall Livingstone of Bachuill, the only Saint Columba heir, out of thousands from the district of Loairn, to be recognized as a Clan Chief within the Cenél Loairn. Quite an honor.

“Dominican bishops such as ‘Laurentius Dei gratia epifcopus Ergadie’ and Andrew were, like Màrtainn of Argyll, probably local men who were unlikely to have regarded the western seaboard of Scotland as ‘missionary’ territory.” MacDonald, Iain. The Northern World : Clerics and Clansmen : The Diocese of Argyll between the Twelfth and Sixteenth Centuries (1). Leiden, NL: Brill, 2013.

Laurentius Dei gratia epifcopus Ergadie’s descendants and followers in Argyll and Kintyre included:

Vicar Laurancii at Kilmartin, 1355

Vicar Laurancii at Ardchattan, 1420

Vicar  Dugal Cristini Laurencii at Kilmichael, Glassary, 1436

Vicar Donald Dominici Maclaurante at Kilkerran, Kintyre, 1456

Vicar Johannes M’Lern, 1466.

A Family Divided

Let me be perfectly clear, the well distributed and widely published story of the Clan MacLaren origin being in medieval Balquhidder, Strathearn cannot be substantiated and does not withstand casual scrutiny of an academic standard. There is not a single historical record to support the narrative distributed by the Clan MacLaren Society of Scotland and their leader Donald MacLaren Jr. This fictional clan history and Chief's genealogy  originated with James Logan and Danile McLaurin two  19th century colleagues and writers published in "McIan's Costumes of the Clans of Scotland". This decades ago discredited fiction is still doled out by the current McLaren clan chief and his society courtesans, inducing the innocent casual enthusiast to visit Balquhidder “the clans homeland.”

"a perversion which, by its persistence, wide publicity, and the high position of the parties interested, ultimately became accepted as the actual truth." Alex. K. Stewart, of Achnacone. Appin, Feb. 14th, 1905.

They are perfectly aware of the truth, but they are determined to continue the scam to preserve a single mans counterfeit Scottish Clan. This heavily bankrolled by Americans activity extreme to the point of desecrating Culloden with the name “MacLaren” carved into the Appin Regiment Marker on the battlefield where thirteen Appin McLaurins were killed and then two years later in 2009 attempting to exhume Rob Roy MacGregor’s body from the Balquhidder kirkyard.

The McLaurin family territory in Lorn was divided in 1470. The Lordship of Lorne where the McLaurin ecclesiastical families had lived for centuries, was divided by Colin M’Gilleasbaig M’Conochy Campbell, first Earl of Argyll between Dougal M’Iain M’ Robert Stewart of Appin I and Colin M’Conochy Campbell of Glenorchy I, this declaration, divided the family Labhruinn's territory and eliminated many of the MacDougal holdings in Appin and parts of Ardchattan.

In the early and mid 1500's many McLaurin families were induced to move into Perthshire, with most living on the Tay River from Strathfillan then northeast to Atholl. A few families were placed in Balquhidder by the Glenorchy Campbells.

It was Grey Colin Campbell of Glenurchy who first assigned the Makolcallums’ as part of the kin-group he described as V’Lauranes in a 1559 Bond of Manrent. Because of Glenorchy, we have a fairly complete four generation genealogy of McLaurin men contained in three Clanlawren Bonds of Manrent. The 1559 bond contains the descendants of the first McLaurins to arrive in Balquhidder in 1512 and perhaps Malcum M’Olchallum one of the three sons. 

First McLaren arrives in Balquhidder in 1512. Malcolm M’Olcallum V’Laurane settled at Invernenty, Balquhidder in 1512 along with four MacIntires who are also from Lorn. It appears that Malcolm Maklawryn and Gilbert Makyntyr are paying a reduced rate for the woodlands which other tenants have the right to use without destruction. A forest conservation program in place by the Campbells. The Clann Dubhghaill Cheire MacGregour’s also lived at Invernenty and nearby Drumlich, the two families would intermarry frequently, but there were problems, the MacGregors attempted to displace Invernenty MacLaurins with violence and perhaps were successful in the 1550s. Resulting in the Coule Keir MacGregors required to sign a Bond of Calpes to Campbell of Glenurchy in 1559 as punishment.

At Stirling, on the first of June in the 512th year [ie 1512]. Innernenty; £6 13s 4d, with the consent of William Stewart who had the same in fee-farm, is now assessed to the underwritten tenants just as is particularized above, that is to say,

To Donald Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,

To John Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,

To Gilbert Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,

To Duncan Makyntyr, 1s for one markland and a 40 shillings land, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,

And to Malcolm Maklawryn, 1s for one markland and a 40 shillings land, With this condition, that the rest of the tenants of the Lord of Buchquhiddir shall have licence to take timber for their necessities, without destruction [of the woodland], And for entry of a new infeudation £40, out of which sum £13 6s 8d is to be paid by the said tenants, and £26 13s 4d by the said William Stewart. (transcribed from Rotuli scaccarii Regum Scotorum Vol. VIII, Pg. 638)

It appears that Malcolm Maklawryn and Gilbert Makyntyr are paying a reduced rate for the woodlands which other tenants have the right to use without destruction. A forest conservation program in place by the Campbells. 

Malcolm’s son Malcolm M’Olcallum elder and grandsons (with the same names of course) are in the 1559 bond, with their great grandsons in a 1606 bond to Campbell of Glenurchy, which gives us where they lived. In the 1559 Bond, there are six other family groups of V’Laurane the MacPatricks, the MacAllens, the MacDougalls, the MacEwens, the MacDuncans and the MacJohns, with John the servant of Cristine the last of name are all the clan MacLaurin. You can track the names, in the three bonds, most names contain three generations such as Nicoll M'Ane VTatrick Moir (Nicol son of John son of big Patrick) in the 1573 ClanLawren Bond to Glenurchy. The Balquhidder MacLaurin history is for another time.

8 November 1559 Clanlaurane homage transferred to Campbell of Glenorchy from the Duke of Argyll. This very important legal document pertaining to Clanlaurane and the only one written in the royal burgh of Sterling, on 8 Nov 1559 confirms that several McLaurane families from Kilmartin Parish south of Loch Etive in Argyll, had moved into Perthshire. Two weeks later on 21 November 1559 at Balloch on Loch Tay in Perthshire, Alexander McLaurane and his followers from Kilmartin parish gave their Bond to Colyne Campbell of Glenurchy. This document is one of two, that directly contradicts the legend that McLarens had been in Perthshire since the time of Kenneth McAlpine, it also eliminates any notion of a Strathearn origin for Clanlaurane before the early 1500’s. 

“WE Archibald Erie of Ergyle . . . grantis ws to haif gevin ... To our traist cousyng Colyne Campbell of Glenurquhay and his allis male the manrent homage and sendee quhilk our predecessouris andwe had and hes of the haill kyn and surname of the Clanlaurane and their posterite togidder with the uptaking of thair calpis . . . Prowyding the said Colyne obtene . . . thair consent . . . thairunto . . .

In witnes of the quhilk thyng to thir presentis subscriuit with our hand our propir seill is affixt at the burgh of Sterueling the aucht day of Nouember the yeir of God M v and fifty nyn yeiris befoir thir witnes Johne Campbell off Inuerlevir Johne Corswell persone of Kilmartyne and Andro Quhit. And this we gif for the gud and faythfull sendee that the said Colyne hes done to ws. ARD. ERGYLL.” Black Book of Taymouth 

In the 18th century many of the indigenous Appin McLaurins that had remained in the original homeland, along with related Livingstones, MacKenzies, MacDougalls, MacColls and Stewarts, including a handful of "Culloden Veterans" emigrated to Richmond County, North Carolina in 1790 where they flourished. In North and South Carolina there are more Scots living today than in Scotland itself.

McLaurin, MacLaurin, McLaren, McLerran, McLarran, McLarine, McClaren and more are all found in historical and genealogical records for the same persons surname, especially in the United States. This makes research more difficult, compared to researching names Campbell, McDonald, Stewart, McColl or McCall for example. And like Sherry says, "they are all named Hugh".

In 1781 John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn of Edinburgh, matriculated chiefly arms described as. “BEARS Argent a Sheepherds Crook Sable, CREST a Lady from the middle upwards ifouing out of the Wreath in her arms a Child both proper and habited Vert, MOTTO Bi'se mac ant' Slaurie, SUPPORTERS two Britons proper Matriculated. Rc Boswell Lyon Dep"

The lady with child in a green habit is the ‘Mother Church and children’

John McLaurin’s "Sheepherds Crook Sable" is a reference St Moluag’s Crozier” on the Isle of Lismore. more accurate description "a bishop's crook in pale sable--M'LAURIN, Dreghorn", eludes to his ancestor Laurence de Ergadia on Lismore circa 1300, as the Keeper of St. Moluag’s Crook.

John MacLaurin was well versed in family history, his father Colin MacLaurin, had hand delivered to the Advocate Library in Edinburgh, what is known today as MS:1467, which he had collected that contained his ancestors genealogy “Clann an Aba Uaine”, ‘the Children of the Green Abbot’. 

"Mr. MacLaurin presented to the Society from the Reverend Mr. Malcolme an old Irish Manuscript ", "This is a clear description of the 1467 ms," Ronald Black, 2011

John’s direct lineage contained a long line of Protestant Reverands from the University of Glasgow. My ancestors were the Episcopalian cattle droving Jacobite sympathetic Appin and Ardchattan McLaurin cousins.

Seventeenth century testaments in the National Records of Scotland and other legal documents including John’s matriculation, link these contradictory McLaurin families who fought against each other during the siege of Edinburgh in 1745. Colin MacLaurin a volunteer cannoneer aiming at the invading twenty-seven Appin McLearans in the Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment.

Lyon Court Arms of John MacLaurin

Coat of Arms of historic Clan Chief John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn, 1781 The Shepherd's Staff that of St. Moluag. The Lady with child draped in green an image of the 'Mother Church' on the Isle of Lismore. With Crowned Britons holding Tridents, indicates they were kings of the sea.

Clan Crest Badge with motto

"A lady from the middle upwards ifouing out of the Wreath in her arms a child both proper and habited vert.". Motto translated as "Be Thou the son of the Crook. The 'crook' is the hearth chain holding the cooking pots, a very deep meaning, ie the only chain in the home.

All the McLaurin McLaren MhicLabhrainn McLearan McVicar McClaren Labhruidh Lawrie MacLaurine MacRorie MacLarine McLaurence McClaurine MacLerran V’Lauren Paterson Mclerran MacLaren Mclaren MacLawrence McClarin Labhrann McClaran Mac Laren Mclarrin McLarrin MhicLabhruinn McClarren MacLaurin Maklawryn Lowrey MacLerran Ni Labhradha Lamrainn McClerren MacLaurin McClerren McClaran McClarion MacRory Maclaren Mcclarence  McClarence McLearan McClearn McLarnan Laurentius McClerhan Mcillerin McClearn McLairens McLaurie McClaring MacRauri McLawrin.

Introduction excerpt from my book on the McLaurins true history.

So why yet another Clan McLaren history?  Well..... because I longed for more history than what was offered in the clan history books that are available. I have read them all, including “The MacLarens” by Margaret MacLaren, James Logan’s “The Scottish Gael” and “McIan’s Costumes of the Clans of Scotland”, Frank Adam’s “The Clans, Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands“, George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire’s “Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia”, Sir Thomas Innes of Learney “The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland”. I even managed to acquire a photocopy of Daniel MacLaurin’s “History in Memoriam of the Clan Laurin” that he self published in 1865.

Each of these books have in common a McLaren clan history with hardly any variation from one another and certainly no new research on the authors part. They all seemed to be repeating the first author James Logan’s “McIan’s Costumes of the Clans of Scotland” from 1845. Over the years new ‘facts’ did appear but there were no sources cited which created skepticism. As a result I started my own research which the rapidly expanding internet made posssible even from Lubbock, Texas. Along the way I made contact with Ronald Black whose comment below confirmed what I was beginning to suspect. Other Scottish scholars were generous with their time and I began to realize that there are two clan histories in Scotland the ‘real history’ which some academia is aware of and the ‘completely fictional history’ contained in the above list of books, which continues to flourish to promote Scotland’s tartan and tourist industries.

“With the outstanding exceptions of David Sellar and Alastair Campbell of Airds, Lyons and their courtiers tend to make things up, and to be associated with popular glossy books on the clans, not with serious history.” Ronnie Black, ,

These clan histories are based on passages from the novels of Sir Walter Scott and R. L. Stevenson, outright fabrications and lazy errors and they should be ignored entirely. So be suspicous if the authority on McLaren clan history repeats the sentence quoted below it is a complete fabrication, with absolutely no basis in fact.

“Balquhidder and Strathearn has ever been known as the country''of the Clan Laurin” James Logan 1845

What you will discover from the following pages, is that there were three separate geo-political kin-groups that were identified with the name “son of Laurence”. The smallest of the three, being the Balquhidder/Strathearn group. From this knowledge we now know that most McLarens did not come from Balquhidder or Strathearn, most immigrated from where the largest number lof McLaresn ived in Breadalbane on the River Tay, or from Lorn in Argyll on the west coast, which includes the parishes of Appin, Ardchattan and Kilmartin primarily.

The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs in Scotland freely admits on their website that the modern clan culture is  based on novels. James Logan actually cites Sir Walter Scott’s Waverly novels as the source for the well know Balquhidder McLaren - Stewart of Appin alliance, another myth that still flourishes unchecked which recently resulted in a dishonorable McLaren narrative at the Culloden Battlefield.

"The clan system as we know it today was created over the course of a few years in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. At its heart were the novels of Walter Scott who triggered an extraordinary revival of interest in the Highlands and Highland history."

The most important fact that I have come to realize, is that the McLaurins originated in Lorn which most academic historians agree on. However, the legend that they left during the time of Kenneth MacAlpine in the ninth century for lands given to them by Kenneth MacAlpine in Strathearn is incorrect, there no records that support that claim. Also, concerning the two earliest known individuals in Perthshire, Abbott Labhran of Achtow who is the eponym of the Balquhidder MacLarens and Laurin of Ardveich, the former never existed and the latter was not a McLaurin at all.

The fact is the first McLaren in Balquhidder did not arrive until 1512, much later than claimed. This knowledge requires us to reexaminationexamine MacLaren history, because now that we know the facts, the rest that followed makes even less sense than previously and does not withstand basic scutiny.

This volume is mostly a collection of historical document transciptions or images of the documents, the result of a fifty years of research resulting in what I believe to be an accurate record of the McLaurin family. Many of them are legal documents that would withstand judicial review. Every day more historic documents are being released and available online. So if you want to check on something simply do a “search” online and you will probably see my source. They are usually well past the Ads, so scroll down a page or two. 

My journey started in 1967 with a letter from Banks McLaurin Jr., who along with James Hudson McLaurin formed the Clan MacLaren Society U.S.A to publish their and other contributors research into a cohesive family history. Over the next decade they published the “Quarterly” forty-four of them, typically of about 30 pages in length. It was not too many years into the project that they realized that the name “MacLaren” had been a poor choice for the Society as they found that the American McLaurins from Lorn had nothing to do historically with the Perthshire McLarens. This work is my first attempt at publication and it is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, I had to draw the line at some point. There is a lot more history out there, like the prosecution of James of the Glens, the truth said to lie in Stewartsville Cemetery in Laurinburg, North Carolina. The massive amount of Campbell records at Inverary Castle need close examination. There is much yet to be learned.


A HUGE thank you for the wonderful McLaurin book, Vol.1. A great job and certain to be on interest to many! Salute to you for your excellent, tireless, and often thankless task! Bill Caudill, Professor of Music, Director of the Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Laurinburg, NC

Thank you all for your encouragement and the prodding to make my McLaurin and McLaren research available after all of these years!  Hilton McLaurin



Origin of the Family

A Challenge

Cenél Loairn

Laurence de Ergadia, Bishop of Argyll at Lismore

Bishop Laurence and Robert the Bruce

In Ancient Days

Vicar Labhruinn, Kilmartin, Glassary 1355

Vicar Labhruinn, Kilbodan (Ardchattan), Lorn 1420

Vicar Dubhgall mac Ghille-Chríost Mhic Labhruinn, 1436

Donald Dominici Maclaurante, Kilkerran, Kintyre, 1456

Vicar Johannes M’Lern, 1466

The Campbells "Conquest or keip thingis conquest."

The Dugald McLaurin of Ardveich, Strathearn legend

Account of the murder of John Stewart, Lord Lorne

Appin Land Transfers

Islemen invade Duror and Appin

Tiree McLaurins

V’Prior or McVicars son of the clergy


16th century Campbell of Glenorchy’s Clanlaurane or ‘Ganglaurane’

M’Olchallum (Slaves of Jesus) V’Laurene first arrive in Balquhidder

Patersons or V’Tatricks

Vicar Johannis McLauren of Balquhidder murdered

Balquhidder McLaurins massacred, maybe?

8 November 1559 Clanlaurane homage transferred from Earl of Argyll

21 November 1559 Alexander McLaurane and others Bond

A different calendar year before 1600

Balquhidder MacGregors bind themselves to Campbell Glenurchy

Balquhidder V’Laurane men give Bond to Campbell of Glenurchy

1561 Clan Lawren in its entirety accept Campbell of Glenurchy

McLaurin sept Clann MacGille-Cheallaich MacGregor

1563 Kill all MacGregors

Clan MacIntyre Transfers Homage to Campbell of Glenurchy

John Stewart 5th of Appin signs Bond of Manrent with Campbell of Glenurchy

One hundred thirteen men of ClanLawren endorse Campbell of Glenurchy

“The Roll of the Clannis”

Campbell Servitors

 Johne M'Olcallum murdered by the Stewarts of Glenbuckie

1594 Bond by Loch Tay, Patrick Mcconill Wiklawrent to Campbell

In 1606 the M’Olcallum V’Laurane sign their last Bond to Campbell

Clan Laurin Servitors in Campbell of Glenurchy Records

The Fairies

Duke of Atholl’s Feudal system gradually replaces Campbell Clan Syatem

Archibald M'Ilvoyll M'Lowrin from Glencoe caught with MacGregors in 1611

Theft - Slaughter - Fire=raising - Oppression, & c. 1613

The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland...

1638 Lairds of Glenurchy Rollis of Able Men with their Armis

The Civil  Wars

A Decree against Clan Gregor men dated 1649 includes McLarens


17th century Atholl Vassals

John McLaren killed

The Battle of Killiekrankie or Roinn Rhuari

1699 Appin McLaurins

18th century Atholl Vassals

1713 McLaren piper to the Duke of Atholl


McLaurins and Stewarts in the 1715 Rebellion




Rob Roy MacGregor

Traditions of the Stewarts of Appin

A second account from the Dewar Manuscripts

Charles Stewart of Ardshiel

Donald MacLaren of MacLaren attempts to exhume ‘Rob Roy’

Fergusons of Auchleskine, Balquhidder

McLaurins in the 1745/46 Jacobite Rebellion

Balquhidder MacLaren Rebels

The Kirkton Meeting

The Kirkton Muster

Donald McLaren of East Invernenty correspondence

Post Culloden Balquhidder

Fourteen reasons

Balquhidder McLarens in the Jacobite Army

Stewart of Appin Clan Regiment Order Book

Mr. McLaurin’s Journal

Appin McLaurin Rebels, who survived and where they came from

Post Culloden Invernayhle’s List of Casualties

Post Culloden, Appin’s List

Campbell of Stonefield, The Appin Regiment List

Appin Culloden Survivors

Morag McLaurin Kidnapped and Sold

1753 Mayhem

Leckine Burial Ground, The actual McLaren Cemetery

December 17 1774, Neil McLaren from Ballmachelican murdered


Colin MacLaurin

John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn, Clan Chief, Humanitarian, 1734 - 1796

Joseph Knight slave case heard in 1778      

1781 Chief of the McLaurins



Moir NcGunan, 1685

Donald McLaurin, 1686

John Dow McClaurine, 1693

John McClaurin, 1694

John McLaurin in Corriblickag in Glencrenn, 1725

Rev. John McLaurin, Kilmodan 1698

Niccoll McLaren, 1685

Janet NcLauchlan late spouse of Donald McLaren, 1686

John McLaren, 1688

Patrick McLaren, 1688

Rob Roy MacGregor alias Campbell, 1735

Argyll Parish Records


Abbot Labhran of Achtow

Ragman Roll 1296

MacLaren history

The Stewarts of Appin add to the McLaren alliance myth

James Logan’s MacLaurin heraldry mistake

The MacLaren motto Creag an Tuirc comes from another error

Finlay McNeil/Neilsoun - Loch Tay

Because of these numerous mistakes

MacLaren Er MacLaverty Genealogy

Medieval McLaurin Genealogy based on the MS:1467

Traditional Scottish Naming Patterns

Coire Bliochdaig, Glen Creran to North Carolina McLaurins Genealogy

Vol II will be about the McLaurin emigrants to North America

Large groups and single families emigrate from Scotland to North America

List of Resources

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