McFarland Surname Origin
The son of Pharlan, or Partholan, the Gaelic for Bartholomew. Malcom McFarlane, descended from Alwyn, Earl of Lennox, founder of the clan McFarlane, lived about 1344, in the reign of Malcom IV., King of Scotland. Tradition gives the following fabulous origin of the name. A nephew of one of the old Earls of Lennox, having killed, in a quarrel, his uncle's cook, was obliged to flee the country. Returning after many years, he built a castle upon an island above Inversnaid, in the Highlands, where he, and the island after him, received the appellation of Farland. Hence McFarland, the son of him who came from the Far-land.
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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