Mac "D" , Mac "d" or Mc ?


Thanks to Roddy Macdonald for sending us the following story he once heard. Roddy claims no academic validity for the following, but it does provoke thoughts on the spelling of MacDonald. 



 Hi Charles


I enjoyed your site and was interested to read your bit on the spelling of "Mac" names. I regret I have to disagree with you as a Macdonald (the High Chief of Clan Donald Lord Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald would appear to disagree also as he always spells his name with a lower case 'd'. The story I heard was that MacDonald was a translation of the strict patronymic ie 'my dad's name was Donald' whereas Macdonald was a translation of the generic Dhomnallach ie 'of the sons of Donald' being descended from the eponymous Donald MacRanald 'ic Somerled.

 Just thought I'd throw that one in!

 Yours aye

 Roddy K Macdonald

Edinburgh, Scotland


Visit Roddy's Home Page



And thanks to Jim McLean for sending us his thoughts on the subject. 


Hi Chuck, I was interested to read your peice on spelling of Mac names. My research over the years shows that during Victorian times when printing became very popular and common, Mac was abbreviated to an open quote, i.e. an apostrophe facing inwards like a small c, so that any Mac names would look like M'Lean, for example. This would explain why the small c was adopted and why it always appears on the top half of the line. You will find in some books printed during the 18th and 19th century have both spellings for the same name e.g. M'Gillvery and MacGillvery. My own family has both spellings, my father being McLean and his brother being MacLean, as no doubt my Grandfather had been celebrating too much when he registered the births!!


 Jim Mclean



 If there is anyone with additional thoughts or knowledge on the proper spelling of Mac names, please email me and I will add a more pages.

Thank you,

Charles J. MacDonald

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