The McLaughlin Surname
| 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 English scribes.
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."
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.
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.