South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas
Return to Machen Index
We have not been able to
identify the original immigrant for the family. There are several
possibilities. Most of these individuals seem to have shipped from
England and there are Machens found in a number of locations in England
including Gloucester, York and London. If they came from Scotland it
may have been even more distant and difficult lineage to trace. Laura
Cleveland Edwards has done a great deal of research on the various
lines of the family and lays out the problem very completely in her
recent book, "Three Centuries in America: Thomas Machen of Middlesex
County, Virginia." She states, "It is a name found in Wales and various
parts of England, particularly in Yorkshire. There were also Machens in
Gloucestershire in 15th century. The name Machen is not to be confused
with the French name Machin, although Machin is frequently a
misspelling of the name in many records. In fact, the name Machen may
be one of the most misspelled names in the U.S. with a British origin.
Other misspellings include Macken, Matchen, Micham, Macham, Mechem,
Mechem, Meachum(which is a surname in its own right), Mackham, and even
Other spellings of the
name I found in the US census records can be found as Macen, McInne,
Machin, Machan, Macken, Makin or Mackin although the family has spelled
it as Machen from the early 1700's. One early example of another
distant relation spells his name by another variation. A book published
as The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of
London, from A. D. 1550 to A. D. 1563. edited by John Gough Nichols
is interesting not only for its name but also for the status of the
individual. This Henry Machyn was a royal tailor and merchant in London
and obviously had some connection to the royal families. I have
included a few passage here to give an idea of the dialogue and
spelling used in this time period.
The XVIJ day of July
was a scresmys a Margyson be-twyn the Englysmen and Frenchemen, and
ther owre men had the beter and had good bote of cattel; and ther wher
slayne ix men of armes and xviij taken presoners of Frenche-men, and of
owrs iij takken presoners and v hurtt, by the helpe of men of Gynes and
The xxvy day of
July wa bered masteres Draper of Camurell, with ij whytt branchys and
xii stayff torchys, and iij grett tapurs, and ij dosen of skochyons of
The xxix day of
July was fechyd out of Westmynster by the constabyll of the Towre of
London, the wyche ya constabull, and browth on (blank) Waxham, the
wyche he brake out of the Towre, and wa browth thrugh London.
Machen - East back court and Whitemead Park, co. Gloucester:
descended from Thomas Machin, three times Mayor of Gloucester, buried
in that city in 1614, granted to Richard Machen co. Gloucester, 1615,
the present representative is Rev. Edward Machen, of Eastback Court and
Whitement Park). Gu. a fesse vair betw. three pelicans' heads erased or
vulning themselves ppr. Crest A pelican's head erased or
Machen, Machin, or
Machon. Same arms crest- a lion's head erased. sa. on the head a
cap of maintenance.
"pelican" - is always represented w/ her wings endorsed, neck embowed
and pecking her breast, from which issue drops of blood.
"erased"- forcibly from the body; a head, limb, or other object erased,
has its severed parts jagged.
Burk, Sir Bernard. The
General Armory of England, Scot, Ireland and Wales. Harrison, 59
Pall Mall, London. 1878
The symbol of the pelican
pecking at her breast seems to be used as a symbol of self-sacrifice.
One version has the pelican bleeding drops of blood into the open
mouths of her nestlings.
"There was a tenement of this name in the Vale of Clyde. Adam Machan
charters by Orabile, who died c.1203. Thomas, son of John of Machan,
was juror on a an inquest made by Sir Aleander Uviet, sheriff of
source: Black, George T. The
and Hist. The N. Y.
Pub. Lib., 1962 N.Y.
According to the clan guide
on the www this family is connected to the MacDonald clan of Scotland.
The Vale of Clyde is the valley of the Clyde River which runs near
Glasgow. The river also creates a bay known as the Firth of Clyde.
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