What is the proper last name for ancestors of Macdonald clan?

+8 votes

Want to clean up some duplicates pertaining to the Macdonald /MacDonald Clan and I’m running into difficulty trying to identify the  proper family name of the earliest members.

Angus Mor Macdonald (1249-1296) is the son of Donald. This Donald is the progenitor of Clan Donald and would never have been referred to as Macdonald as it is from him that the name comes, “son of Donald”.

Some profiles identify Donald and his ancestors as “Lord of the Isles” [[Lord Of The Isles-3|Donald Lord Of The Isles]] but this is a title and not a true last name. Other profiles use the Norse style of naming “Donald Ragnaldsson” [[Ragnaldsson-1|Donald I Ragnaldsson]] which I also have doubts about. Old records seem to show these early Macdonalds  referring to themselves as “de Yle” which apparently means ‘of Islay’ which was their island home and I wonder if this should not be the suggested last name with the other names and titles listed in the biography. Another option would be to refer to Donald as “mac Ranald” and Ranald as “mac Somhairle”.  Somerled was known by his Gaelic name, “Somhairle Mòr MacGillebride”.

Any advice on which route to take?

in Policy and Style by Eugene Quigley G2G6 Mach 7 (74.9k points)
recategorized by Keith Baker


I have no advice, but am thrilled to see you asking this question and the background information you bring along with it.  Of course, there are similar problems with the Stewarts, the Bruces, the Fitzalans, Fitzwalters, etc.

This is a great place and time to be discussing and deciding these matters as we are beginning to prune down the number of duplicates....

My hope is that several of you with some depth of background and resources on the topic will lead us to a clear and workable solution to untying this Celtic knot!yes

1 Answer

0 votes
Try the website   electricscotland.com  for official clan citations and history
by C E G2G6 Mach 3 (36.2k points)

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