Allan of Scotland
Allan History
In Scotland the name is considered of dual origin, the first coming from Alwyn, a name favoured by the ancient Earls of Lennox and secondly, from the popularity of the name among the Bretons who accompanied William the Conquerer in his invasion of England in 1066. In the ensuing years many of these nobles migrated North to found great Scotish families, among whom were the Royal House of Stewart. A symbolic origin, as in Aluin (sparkling), has also been suggested, but such would be more appropriate to the various streams & rivers which bear that name - some may have derived their name from residing near such a feature. As the name became popular in two distinct cultures it strengthens the case for the dual origin and places the onus on the individual to establish ancestral links before clan association is claimed. In such context the name has traditionally been linked to the Macfarlanes and Macdonalds of Clanranald - the former through their early association with Eardom of Lennox, the latter from the fact that 'MacAllan' (sic) is the Gaelic title borne by their chiefs. Many of the MacAllans, Allansons & Allans who settled in Aberdeenshire were descended from the son of a MacFarlane chief who had migrated there when his clan was proscribed in the 16th century. Many of similar names who settled in the Lowlands are descended from Clanranald Macdonalds. As with many surnames derived from the patronymic tradition, quite distinct lineages have evolved throughout the country and the possibility of ascertaining their individual origins are masked by time. The name has also been linked with the Mackays of the far North, and some have association with the island of Bute in the Clyde estuary where, through contraction, it is derived from MacAllan, and frequently takes the form 'Callan'. No chief has been determined for the name and clan allegiance would be decided by evidence of descent from ancestors who had clan associations. Where a link can be traced marks of allegiance such as Crest Badge, Tartan etc. of the clan may be adopted, but, lacking affiliation, it has become established practice to select a 'universal' pattern, such as 'Black Watch', 'Caledonia', 'Hunting Stewart' or 'Jacobite'.
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