Machen Families
Scotland, England, 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 Machir."[Edwards. p1]

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.

Origin of the Machen Names from England
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.

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.

Origin of the Machen Names from Scotland
"There was a tenement of this name in the Vale of Clyde. Adam Machan witnessed two
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 Lanark, 1262-63".

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.
Mcdonald plaid MacDonald Tartan



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web pages created by Elroy Christenson- - last updated 8/10/10