This surname is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic Macghillemhaoil, later contracted to Macmhaolain. The Gaelic prefix "mac" means son of, plus "gille", a servant, and "maol", the tonsured one. Maolain is a diminutive of "maol" and was frequently used in a transferred sense to refer to a devotee of a particular saint. The surname first appears in the mid 13th Century (see below). Further recordings include Sir Duncan Macmolane, a Pope's knight, who appears on record in Edinburgh in 1452, and John Makmilane or Makmylan who was balie of Glasgow in 1454.The Macmillan clan had possession of land near Knap, Loch Suibne, and a boulder on the shore is said to have had engraved on it in Gaelic; "Macmillan's right to knap while wave strikes rock". Church Records show the marriage of Janet McMillian to Abraham Gray on December 2nd 1721 in Inveresle, Midlothian, and the christening of William, son of William McMillian, on November 21st 1750 in Edinburgh parish. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillemor Macmolan, which was dated 1263, juror on an Inquest in Lanarkshire, in the "Acts of Parliament in Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1289. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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