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OTHER FORMS: MacMillan, Macmillan, McMillen, McMillan
CONTRIBUTOR: M.F. MacMillan on 9/4/2014
Meaning & History
A Scottish family name. The origin of the name is said to derive from the origin of the Scottish Clan MacMillan. The progenitor of the Clan was said to be Airbertach, Hebridean prince of the old royal house of Moray. Airbertach had a son named Cormac, who was a Bishop, and Cormac's own son Gilchrist or, in Gaelic, Gille Chrisosd, the progenitor of the Clann an Mhaoil, was a religious man like his father; and it was because of this that he wore the tonsure which gave him the nickname Maolan or Gillemaol. As a Columban priest, his head would have been shaved over the front of his head in the style of St. John, rather than at the vertex of head (the dominant style in The Church of Rome). This distinctive tonsure is described in Gaelic as 'Mhaoillan'. The name MacMillan thus literally means, "son of the tonsure".