The barons of Arrochar who became the chiefs of clan Macfarlane descended from the Gaelic earls of Lennox. A younger son of the 2nd Earl of Lennox was the founder of this family, Gilchrist, whose great-grandson, Parlan, in turn became the name-founder of the clan. From his son, Malcolm, onwards the surname MacFarlane became fixed. There are instances of a cadet taking his father's Christian name as surname, such as MacAllan (son of Allan MacFarlane) and Thomson or Thomason (son of Thomas MacFarlane). Many of the rank and file of the clan took other names designating their vocation, such as Stalker and Miller, while others adopted names from motives of prudence when the clan came into conflict with the authorities. As a result clan Macfarlane has many associated Sept surnames and some bearing these names were originally Macfarlanes. From the ancestral lands of Arrochar the Macfarlanes spread throughout the Highlands and to Northern Ireland. Today Macfarlanes are found around the world.
MacFarlanes world-wide are needed to take part in a study of the Y-chromosome which only males carry. [But please see paragraphs 4 and 5 below.] Given the nature of Scottish clans all MacFarlane [however spelt] males and all males bearing any of the Sept surnames of the clan are urged to take part in this important project. It is hoped that the results will reveal the genealogical ties between the chiefs, their cadet houses and the various septs.
The MacFarlane Project aims to find out what DNA says about our ancestry. Who are we and where did we come from? We know that our clan chiefs descended from the earls of Lennox but can we confirm that the earls and their ancestors the mormaers of Lennox descended from the kings of Munster? Do all those with the surname MacFarlane, any variant, have a common ancestor? Can we identify cadet houses? Which associated Septs were originally Macfarlanes? DNA testing will help us find the answers to these questions and more.
Our host lab FamilyTreeDNA.com has the world’s largest yDNA (direct male line ancestry) and mtDNA (direct female line ancestry) database and tests more yDNA markers and mtDNA markers than any other lab in the world, and now they also offer the new autosomal block DNA testing. What is autosomal block DNA? It is the DNA found in blocks between the yDNA of your direct male line and the mtDNA of your direct female line, so now any male can test for the full range of his DNA and any female can do the same! Autosomal block testing will enhance DNA evaluations and provide additional insight into the relationships between individuals with any DNA match (yDNA or mtDNA) up to 6 generations back (and possibly as many as 9) thus better defining branches in a family tree.
Because of the new Family Finder DNA test we can now accept anyone who descends from a MacFarlane (of any variant spelling) or someone with a Sept surname (any variant) within six generations; this overides the old limitation to participation by males only bearing these surnames. Please check the list below to see if you find your surname there. To participate meaningfully in this project, you will need to share your ancestry back to the earliest known MacFarlane/etc. in the form of a pedigree chart, family group sheets, or a GEDCOM file. You do not need to be a member of any of the clan Macfarlane societies in the world to participate, although you may wish to make such an association in order to many more of your probable kin.
Allan, Allanach, Allanson, Allison, Arrell, Arrol, Barclay (in Ulster), Bart, Bartholomew, Bartie, Bartson, Brice, Bryce, Caa, Callander, Caw, Condey, Condeyie, Condy, Cunnison, Galloway (in Stirling), Grassick (in Montrose), Grassie (in Aberdeen), Greusaich, Griesch (in Aberdeen), Gruamach, Kennson, Kinnieson, Kinnison, Knox, Leaper, Lechie, Lennox, MacAindra, MacAllan, MacAllen, MacAndrew, MacAndro (in Dunbarton), MacCaa, MacCause, MacCaw, MacCondey, MacCondeyie, MacCondy, MacEach, MacEachern, MacEoin, MacErrachar, MacErracher, MacFarlan, MacFarland, MacFarlane, MacFarquahar, MacGaw, MacGeoch, MacGilchrist, MacGreusach, MacGreusich, MacInally, MacInnes, MacInnis, MacInstalker, MacIock, MacJames, MacJock, MacKindlay, MacKinlay, MacNair, MacNaiyer, MacNayer, MacNeur, MacNider, MacNiter, MacNoyer, MacNuyer, MacRobb, MacWalter, MacWilliam, McFarlan, McFarland, McFarlane, Michie, Millar, Miller (in Dunbarton), Monach, Monachock, Nacfaire (in France), Parlan, Robb, Smith (in Dunbarton), Spruell, Stalker, Thomason, Thomson, Weaver, Webster, Weir, Williams, Williamson, Wilson, Wylie, Wyllie.
Please use the link below to learn more: