Is John de Yle (1st Lord of the Isles) Macdonald historically significant

+9 votes
I believe John MacDonald (Macdonald-91) is historically significant. He was the head of Clan Donald. His second wife is Lady Margaret Stewart (there are several name variations to choose from in WikiTree), d/o King Robert II Stewart (also with several name variations) and Elizabeth Mure.

My question is Part A: is it an issue that his name is spelt "Macdonald" which is an accepted spelling vs the now more common spelling "MacDonald". This would apply to other Mac... clans as well i.e. Maclean vs. MacLean.

Part B: Going back further in time when surnames were not commonly used would we still call these individuals by their common modern surname. John  (Macdonald-91), his father Angus Og, grandfather Angus Mor and great grandfather Donald all prefered to be known as "de Yle" which meant (of Islay, their island home). Donald's father was Reginald and he and his brothers are styled "MacSomerled" (meaning son of Somerled) their father being Somhairle Mòr MacGillebride (son of Gillebride). and on and on.

For my two cents worth I think these individuals should be referred to by their historically accepted names "de Yle", "MacSomerled" and so on.  I do like the way Macdonald-91 captures the old and the new but his descendants should Macdonald or MacDonald. This would have a great affect on who gets merged into whom.

I apologize for the verbiage, it's late and perhaps I'm thinking too much
in Policy and Style by Eugene Quigley G2G6 Mach 7 (78.1k points)
retagged by Eugene Quigley

4 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
Yep, clan chiefs are definitely HSAs, under the Scottish Clans Project.

As a general rule, we use the names people used for themselves, rather than what we find more convenient. The one place where we've deviated from that is with nobles who don't really have last names, in which case we use the name of their house, or lacking that, a name given to that dynasty, etc. Some people are of the opinion that we should expand that practice to other groups, like these clans, where the last names are not passed down from father to son, but personally I feel that's going too far into applying our western naming conventions where they don't belong.

My 2 cents! :)
by Liander Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (444k points)
selected by Keith Baker
+2 votes
I would say yes. Follow this link to an article about him. Probable have to copy and paste in browser address bar.,_Lord_of_the_Isles-macdonald-historicaly-significant
by Living Wilcox G2G6 Mach 1 (19.0k points)
I tried the link and it did not take me to the artice I read. Go to and search

John de Yle (1st Lord of the Isles) Macdonald the first sight in the search should lead you to the artice.
+1 vote
John and his Ilk led several rebellions against the king.  A good book is Scotland by Magnus Magnusson.  A section on the Lords of the Isles runs from about page 231 through 241. The website  electricscotland is very good for brief clan histories and genealogies.
by Living Evans G2G6 Mach 3 (37.8k points)
+1 vote
I do belive I'm going to be slightly controversial here based on oral history rather than  emprical evidence . I hope no offence is taken as i ramble in attempting to answer your questions.

Part A.... remember I'm not trying to be offensive just offering an alternative opinion!  

Yes it is an issue! how McDonad, Mcdonald, Macdonald and MacDonald are spelt,

WHY? well some say it shows your lineage (however not possible to prove if names are changed or written incorrectly). Its patriotic and cultural to maintain your ancestrol fathers name (meaning which clan we are from) Its AN HONOUR and to correct people in the spelling shows solidarity to your clan.

Part B. well this is an easy one my grandfarther was John however he was called Iain which means john (Gaelic) however not sure if it just sounds like john when shouted by one very drunk granny and therefore has been interpreted that way over the many years (?? leave that one open for debate). if your a john and called john then it is as it is the same goes for ian your and ian not a john. Therefore this would matter for the same reasons as above in Part-A.


Tapadh leat (thankou) x
by Katherine Hossack-Ross G2G Crew (550 points)

Failte Caitriana, (Welcome Katherine)

Not at all controversial. All opinions are welcome. Are you working on some Scottish Clans?  I agree with what you said when talking about most 'normal' families.

My question pertains specifically to the families of the Chief and the cadet houses. There should be consistancy there. For instance, the MacDonnells of Glengarry stems from  a branch of the Clan MacDonald. Some people that have put their MacDonnell ancestry on Wikitree  have used the surname MacDonnell all the way back to the 1300s. What many don't know is that the family name continued as MacDonald until the patent of nobility was granted to Aeneas, the ninth of Glengarry, who succeeded his grandfather in 1645, and was raised to the Scottish peerage, in 1660, by the title of Lord MacDonell and Aros.So all these MacDonnells before 1660 should be changed or merged into MacDonald. Another example of this is in the royal house of Stewart. Many use the surname Stuart but that did not come into use until the reign of Mary Queen of Scots.

The chiefs never seemed to use Mc it is always Mac however they also seem to favour Macdonald as opposed to MacDonald. I really don't understand that as Donald as a Christian name is always capitalized. Right now, if we change a surname from "D" to "d" it creates a new profile number. I need to ask Chris if there is a way around this.

Thanks for your comments!


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