| The personal name "Lochlan" or
its variant in Irish, "Lachlan," forms the
basis for the surname MacLochlainn (genitive form),
meaning "son of Lochlan," commonly anglicised
to MacLaughlin or MacLoughlin; or from "Mag,"
the variant form of "Mac," to MacGlaghlin,
MacGloghlin, etc. In Scotland the name most often takes
the form "Maclachlan," but is routinely
anglicised to McLaughlin in other countries. Contrary to
popular belief the form "Mac" was never limited
to Scottish usage but was the original Irish form,
abbreviated to "Mc" or "M'" by
The forms "McLaughlin" and "McLoughlin" are simply variants, based on the Irish variants of "Lochlan" and "Lachlan." The "au" form is today much more common, particularly in the north of Ireland, but the "ou" form may be found there as well. The "ou" form is more common in Connacht, Leinster, near Dublin and in the south of Ireland.
The McLaughlins of Donegal based their surname on an ancestor named Lochlan, who lived about 1020 A.D. His grandson was Domnall MacLochlainn, the High King of Ireland, who died in 1121 A.D. This Domnall MacLochlainn is referred to in the "Annals of Ireland" as both "Domnall Ua Lochlan" and "Domnall Ua Neill," indicating he may have been the first of this line to assume the surname MacLochlainn. There is some supposition that Lochlan may have been the son of a Viking princess, although there is no support for this theory in the Annals of Ireland.
Many interpretations have been advanced for the surname MacLochlainn, which is commonly said to have been of Norse origin, including "men of the fiord-land or lakes, strong at sea and sons of the sea." But these interpretations are based on the Irish root "Loch" meaning lough or lake and are clearly of Irish origin. In the ancient annals of Ireland, however, the homeland of the Norse invaders of the 9th and 10th centuries was invariably referred to by the annalists as "Lochlan," often found in the text as "Tir na Lochlannaigh" or the "land of the Norsemen."
Norse scholars influenced by the
work of Marstrander believe the name "Lochlan"
was a corruption of the Norse "Rogaland," a
region of Norway from which many of the first Norse invaders
of the western isles emigrated. According to Marstrander, on
an Irish tongue "Rogaland" would become Rochlann which would
later become "Lochlann" under the influence of the second "L"
and a folk-entymological association with Loch (Gaelic for
lake). Irish experts (Woulfe and MacLysaght) indicate
"Lochlan" was a Norse personal name, but there is no
support for this thesis in traditional Norse genealogies and if
the name did originate as a personal name amoung the Norse it did so
in Ireland. Many have suggested that the name
"Lochlan" therefor indicates intermarriage with
the Norse and this may well have been the case,
particularly in those families which were amoung the
first to adopt the name.
Incidences of the MacLaughlin surname appearing throughout Ireland in 17th century documents. 1. Co. Donegal 1659 Census Inishowen Barony McLaughlin 63 McGlaghlin 76 Barony of Boylagh and Bonagh McGlaghlin 14 2. Londonderry Co. Londonderry City and County McLaughlin 04 Terkerin Barony McLaughlin 19 Kenaght Barony McLaughlin 30 3. Tyrone County Hearth Money Rolls 1665 Omagh Barony Longfield Parish Philip McLaughlin of Sopgaly Edmond " " Drumra Parish Donold oge McLaughlin of Cullbuke 4. Antrim County 1659 Census Baronys of Dunluce Carey and Kilconway McGloughlen 13 State Papers 1663 "The whole barony of Cary was by proviso set out for the payment of part of the Marquis of Antrim's debt, but was set out to .... " List of names includes: George McLaughlin 5. Westmeath County 1659 Census Barony of Clonlonan McLaughlin 10 Barony of Moygoishe Loughlin 07 6. Kings County 1659 Census Barony of Garriecastle titulado: Terence Melaghline, gent. townland: Gallen Barony of Phillipstowne titulado: Richard Loughlin, Esq. townland: Clontrell 7. Leitrim County 1659 Census Barony of Drumaheir and Rosclogeer McLoghlen 32 8. Roscommon County 1659 Census Barony of Boyle McLaghlin 08 Barony of Moycarnan MacLoughlin 05 Barony of Ballentabber O'Melaghlin 11 titulado: Neile O'Melaghlin, gent. townland: Cloonbellagh 9. Sligo County 1659 Census Barony of Tyreragh McGillaghlen 03 Loghlin 06 Barony of Tyrerell McLoghln 15 Barony of Culavin and Tiregh McGillaghlen 06 Loghlin 06 10. Wexford County 1659 Census Barony of Shelbyrne Loughnan 08 11. Kilkenny County 1659 Census Barony of Gawran McLoghlin 11 Loghman 06 12. Limerick County 1659 Census Barony of Owny McLoghlen 05 Persons transplanted in Ireland 1653-54 O'Hart "Landed Gentry" City and County of Limerick McLoghlen, Faylen " Mary " Thomas Loghlen, Catherine Ny " More Ny 13. County Clare 1659 Census Barony of Burren McLoghlen 07 O'Loghlen 06 titulado: Bryen O'Loghen, gent. townland: Coskerine Barony of Tulla McLoghlen 12 Barony of Bunratty Mcloghlin 10 14. Tipperary County 1659 Census Barony of Clanwilliam McLoghlin 11 Baronies of Eliogurty and Ikerim Loghlen and Meloghlen 10 Barony of Iffay and Offay McLoghlen and Meloghlen 10 15. Longford County 1659 Census Barony of Ardagh McLaughlin 15 16. Louth County 1659 Census Barony of Atherdee McLoghlin 11 17. Dublin County 1659 Census Barony of Balrothery Loghlin 09 "An Inquiry into the ownership and tenancy of lands owned by the religious houses of the city of Dublin" "The Reformation in Dublin" 1536-1558 "Town of Mareton - two messuages, 40 ac. arable, occupied by McLaghlyn and McLaghlyn Oge, worth p.a., 40s." Special Report on Surnames in Ireland Matheson 1909 Based on the birth indexes of 1890 (five entries and upwards) Surname total births By Province Principle Counties McLaughlin 391 Leinster 62 McLaughlin: About 75% in (var. McLoughlin) Munster 7 Antrim, Donegal & L'Derry; Ulster 228 a few in Tyrone; very few Connacht 94 very few elsewhere. McLoughlin: Chiefly in Dublin, and Connacht, but found generally throughout Ireland. O'Loughlin 40 Leinster 12 Principally found in Clare Munster 21 and Dublin. Ulster 3 Connacht 4 Loughlin 57 Leinster 18 Loughlin: Principally (var. Laughlin) Munster 7 found in Leitrim, Dublin, Ulster 22 and Kilkenny. Connacht 10 Laughlin: Principally found in Tyrone & Antrim Loughnane 13 Leinster 1 Munster 6 Ulster 0 Connacht 6 Loughman 9 Leinster 4 Munster 5 Ulster 0 Connacht 1 Loftus 34 Leinster 3 23 in Mayo Munster 2 Ulster 0 Connacht 29 Lawton 10 Leinster 1 7 in Cork Munster 7 Ulster 2 Connacht 0 Principle Names (by Province and County) Births in 1890 Ulster Donegal: Gallagher 196; Doherty 160; Boyle 102; O'Donnell 102; McLaughlin 81; Sweeney 50. L'Derry: Doherty 80; McLaughlin 68. Tyrone: Quinn 40; Mullan 39; Kelly 38; Donnelly 34; Gallagher 34; McKenna 33; Campbell 32; Hughes 31; Wilson 30; McLaughlin 29; O'Neill 29. Fermanagh: Maguire 44; McManus 30; Dolan 23; McGovern 23; Johnston 22; McHugh 20; Cassidy 17; Wilson 15; Thompson 14; Elliot 13; Irvine 13; McLoughlin 12. Connacht Leitrim: Kelly 30; Reynolds 30; Flynn 20; McLoughlin 20. Sligo: Brennan 31; McLoughlin 28. Surnames by Province Ulster Connacht Munster Leinster McLaughlin 228 McLoughlin 94 McLoughlin 7 McLoughlin 62 O'Loughlin 3 O'Loughlin 4 O'Loughlin 21 O'Loughlin 12 Loughlin 22 Loughlin 10 Loughlin 7 Loughlin 18 Lawton 2 Loughnane 6 Loughnane 13 Loughnane 1 Loughman 1 Loughman 5 Loughman 9 Loftus 29 Loftus 2 Loftus 3 Lawton 7 Lawton 1 Donegal Leitrim Clare Kilkenny Tyrone Sligo Cork Dublin Fermanagh Mayo Tipperary Longford L'Derry Roscommon Limerick Louth Antrim Meath Down Westmeath Monaghan King's Co.