Who are the PATTERSONs?
Frank Adam, in his book The Clans, Septs & Regiments of
the Scottish Highlands (Johnston & Bacon, Stirling, Scotland,
Eighth Edition, 1984, First Published, 1908), includes in
Clan MacLAREN septs:
MacPATRICK. -- In bonds of manrent given by the MacLARENs to
the CAMPBELLs of Glenurchy in 1559, and also in
1573, occurs the name of "MacPATRICK". PATERSON is
but a Lowland rendering of the same name. MacPHATER and MacFEAT
are equated with PATERSON.
Alan McNie, in Clan MacLaren
Cascade Publishing Company, Jedburgh, Scotland, 1986) includes
under associated names of Clan MacLAREN:
MacFATER, MacFEAT, MacPATRICK and MacPHATER, Gaelic variables of
PAT(T)ERSON. Many PAT(T)ERSONs with early origins in MacLAREN
county are considered associated names. The name PAT(T)ERSON
is one of the most frequently occurring surnames in Scotland.
Note that McNie does not use the term sept. I understand
that sept is really a misnomer when applied to the Scots (it is an
Irish term). What are normally called the septs of a clan consist
of a variety of surnames -- some spelling variations of the clan
name (such as Law in our case), some other families that sought
the protection of a larger clan, and some that actually derived in
some fashion from the parent surname. According to Margaret
MacLaren (mother of our Clan Chief), the latter is the case for
PATTERSON. In The MacLarens, A History of Clan Labhran (Lowe and
Brydone Ltd., Thetford, Norfolk, Great Britain, Second Edition,
1976) she discusses the Septs of Clan Labhran:
group includes the largest and best known sept of the clan the
PAT(T)ERSON, with the Gaelic variations, MacFATER, MacFEAT, MacPATRICK
and MacPHATER. The earliest reference to a PATERSON is to Duncan
PATERSON who was implicated with other MacLARENs in the killing
of the Vicar of Balquhidder in 1532. He may be the Duncan, son
of Patrik M'EWYN V'LAURANE mentioned in the Bond of Manrent of
1559 but both Duncan and Patrick were favourite MacLAREN names and it
is not possible to make a positive identification. There were of course
PATERSONs from other parts of Scotland who were not MacLARENs
but those from Balquhidder and Strathearn belong to Clan Labhran.
So the origin of the PATTERSON surname in Clan MacLAREN
could be from descendants of this Patrick MacLAREN (PATTERSON means son of
Patrick). Or the PATTERSON surname could have risen a number of
times from various Patricks in Clan MacLAREN. In any case, the
PATTERSON surname is long associated with Clan MacLAREN.
Margaret MacLaren makes an interesting point in the
paragraph above. She notes that PATTERSON is not necessarily
a MacLAREN surname. Philip D. Smith, in Tartan For Me!
(Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1992,
Expanded Fifth Edition), shows PAT(T)ERSON associated with four
other clans -- LAMONT, MacAULAY, CAMPBELL, and FARQUHARSON.
In these cases, the surname most likely also arose from a son of a
Patrick. Frank Adam does give some explanation for the name
PATTERSON in three of these four other clans. For Clan LAMONT, Adam
MacPATRICK, PATRICK . -- The above are aliases
of the LAMONTs, descended from Baron MacPATRICK, who was the
ancestor of the LAMONTs of Cowstone.
For Clan MacAULAY,
MacPHEDRON, MacPHEIDIRAN. -- By both Buchanan the
historian, and MacIan, the MacPHEIDIRANs are alluded to as a sept
of the MacAULAYs of Ardincaple, Dunbartonshire.
For Clan CAMPBELL, Adam has:
MacPHEDRAN. -- The name
of a small Argyllshire sept, whose ancestor, Dominic MacFEDERAN,
was, by the 1st Lord CAMPBELL of Lochow, granted the lands of
Port Sonochan on Loch Awe, along with the office of "porter
and hereditary ferrier" (i.e. "Ferryman").
Adam, in his discussion of the septs of Clan FARQUHARSON,
does not show any PATTERSON, or any surname that could be
translated as PATTERSON. Therefore, I don't know where Philip
Smith derived the association of PATTERSON with Clan FARQUHARSON.
Finally, given the frequency of the appearance of the
PATTERSON surname, I suspect that this surname also arose
at other times and places in Scotland.
surname has a number of spelling variants, as can be seen from the
discussion above. (Remember, not too long ago spelling was a
creative art, especially when an English speaker tried to write down
Gaelic names!) Smith does list a number of such variants associated
with Clan MacLAREN. These are:
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Patterson/MacPatrick Surname Genealogist
If you are a Patterson by
any name and are of Scots descent, you are eligible to join the Clan
MacLaren Society of North America.
drop by the Clan MacLaren tent at a Highland Games or
download an application from the "Membership Information"
page on this site, or join on-line through the "Join CMSNA"
link on this site. Don't forget -- when you join, please provide a
copy of your genealogy so we can add to our records