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Surname MacLernon - Meaning and Origin

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MacLernon: What does the surname MacLernon mean?

The last name MacLernon is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Giolla Sheáin which means "son of the servant of Saint John". This surname is derived from the region of Leinster in Ireland, where it was first established.

The surname MacLernon would have been adopted by families in Scotland and Ireland in the 16th century and is considered a sept – “a clan group sharing a common surname” – of the wider Clann Lachrin or Clann Mhuiris. These Scottish and Irish clans trace their origins to the 11th century and to the princes of Uí Fhaelain of Leinster.

The modern spelling, MacLernon, derives from the anglicization of the original Gaelic spelling and is still found in families throughout Scotland and Ireland. It is thought to be a fairly rare surname, as there were only 92 people carrying the name in Great Britain in 2018.

Those of the MacLernon clan can be proud of their ancestral heritage, for in Clann Lachrin, the motto “Serviamus pro Deo non habemus timore” became the family cry – “Let us serve God without fear”.

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MacLernon: Where does the name MacLernon come from?

The last name MacLernon is relatively rare today. It is predominantly found in Ireland, especially in County Ulster and south-west Ulster. It derived from the Gaelic Mac Giolla Earnain, meaning “son of the servant of Earnan”.

The surname is also found in Scotland, particularly in the North-East. It is derived from the same Gaelic origins as those found in Ireland. In Scotland, the historical evidence shows that the surname was found mostly in the countryside and rural areas near the border with England.

Today, there are more than a thousand people living with the last name MacLernon in Ireland, although the majority of them are found in Ulster. In Scotland, numbers are much lower, with around a hundred people having the name across the country.

Despite its rarity in some areas, the last name MacLernon still enjoys a strong following of people who proudly carry on the family name. Such are its origins, many of the modern MacLernons can trace their ancestry back to the same Gaelic roots as their Irish and Scottish counterparts.

Variations of the surname MacLernon

MacLernon is a Scottish surname stemming from the Gaelic MacFhloinn meaning "son of Flann". Variants of this name include MacLeran, MacLaren, McLeran, McLerran, McLarnon, MacFhloinn, MacLearnon, McLeron, McFerran and McLerron.

MacLernon is typically used by families descending from Clann MacFhloinn, a group of Gallovidian Scots of Viking Norwegian descent. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a number of Scottish MacLernon families emigrated to Ulster in Northern Ireland. This is reflected in the surname's more widespread use in Northern Irish counties such as Antrim, Belfast, and Down.

Spelling variants of MacLernon include McLarnon and MacFhloinn, reflecting the traditional pronunciation of the surname in Scotland and Northern Ireland. McLeron, McLeran and McLerran are variants derived from Ireland, while MacLearnon is a more recent adaptation which reflects a simplified spelling.

McFerran is a variant adopted by some families who resided in Co. Down. This spelling was usually chosen for reasons of convenience and simplicity. As such, it remains popular to this day.

Overall, MacLernon is an ancient Scottish surname with many variants and spellings. Although its use is not as widespread as it once was, it is still popular in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and other parts of the United Kingdom.

Famous people with the name MacLernon

  • Liam MacLernon: English actor known for his roles in the films, Pixie, and Handsome Devil.
  • Richenda MacLernon: British nurse and a registered midwife.
  • David MacLernon: Scottish actor known for his roles in the films, Summerhouse and Cash & Curry.
  • Harold MacLernon: American composer and Broadway and West End musical director.
  • Madeleine MacLernon: British actress known for her roles in the films, Dysmorphia, and The Touch.
  • Alan MacLernon: Australian cinematographer who earned an AACTA Award for Best Cinematography for his work in the film, The Light Between Oceans.
  • Emmy MacLernon: Canadian actress known for her roles in the films, Exit, and The Darkest Hour.
  • Dominic MacLernon: Irish stage actor who appeared in the West End production of Looking After Reflection.
  • William MacLernon: Scottish composer, conductor and former head of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
  • James MacLernon: Canadian mixed martial artist who won the Unified MMA World Championship in 2016.

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