McAlonan, Macaloney and Maloney (or Moloney / Meloney) are Related Names: Independent sources in Canada and Scotland have confirmed that McAlonan and Macaloney are related names, and our y-DNA results so-far have shown that an Antrim Maloney and one other Maloney are very closely and recently genetically related to several Macaloney/McAlonie members. A McAlonan has recently decided to take the y-DNA test which should confirm, or otherwise, the connection between these three names in county Antrim. There are some Malanophy's/Melanophy's in County Fermanagh who are thought to be derived from the Sil Maelanfaid or modern Malanophy's/Melanophy's of Counties Galway, Tipperary & Clare.

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How today’s McAlonan’s / McAlonen’s / McLonan’s, Moloney's/Maloney's and Malanophy's/Melanophy's of Ulster living in N. Ireland, USA, England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are related to the Macaloney / McAloney and other Ulster-Irish and Highland-Scottish kindred's, and whether they were ethnically Gaels, Ulaid/Erainn, Cruthne/Picts, Viking’s or Briton’s will be researched as we add more DNA tests from McAlonan’s, McAlonen’s, McLonan’s, Moloney's/Maloney's and Malanophy's/Melanophy's with your help by taking the FamilyTree DNA test registered under this Maelanfaid program.


History: During the 17th & 18th Century some Macaloney’s planted themselves in Co. Antrim, N. Ireland. There they appear to have ‘Irished’ their name to MacAlonan / McAlonen / McLonan. However, when they emigrated from Co. Antrim to Canada & USA and back to Scotland in the 19th Century, many of them are documented changing their name back to Macaloney / McAloney / Mcalonie  ('Englished' versions of MacMaelanfaid).  An example of the McAlonan -> Macaloney name change is the Antrim born Robert McAlonan and his father John McAlonan shown in the Birth Certificate to the top-left. Below it are the same two individuals listed in Robert's Marriage Certificate where Robert and John are now surnames 'Macaloney', and Robert's brother Samuel is surnames 'Macalony'. The same name change occurred with most of the McAlonan's coming to North America, whereby they changed their name from McAlonan/McAlonen to McAloney/McAlonie [10].


MacLennan & MacGiollaAdamnain?  Is McALonan and its variants an ‘Irished’ version of Macaloney or from the Scottish MacLennan family (MacGill-Fhínneín), or from some other Ulster source such as MacGiolla-Fhínneín? This Maelanfaid FTDNA project will help confirm this.

Despite the hard evidence that many Macaloney’s in Scotland and North America were once Ulster McAlonan’s who were originally planters from Scotland that changed their name from Macaloney to McAlonan or Moloney after arriving from Scotland, the possibility remains that the name McAlonan was an existing Ulster name or another Scottish name, and that some Macaloney’s sought to hide behind this exisiting, more Irish sounding or less controversial name, McAlonan. As regards the Scottish Clan MacLennan hypothesis, it has been suggested McAlonan may be a variant of MacLennan, which itself is derived from MacGill-Fhínneín, the son of the devotee or follower of St. Finnian. However, the name MacLennan in Ireland is not reported in MacLysaght’s comprehensive work[1], nor Bell’s similarly thorough book on Ulster surnames[2], and The  Irish Times surname index which lists occurrences of the name from 1847-1913AD, lists only 9 MacLennan / McLennan births in Ulster during the entire 66 year period [3]. By comparison there were 107 McAlonan / McAlonen births in the same timeframe. There were also  86 Macaloney / McAloney births during the same time. Thus, the Scottish MacLennan does not appear to have a significant presence in Ulster.

The name MacGiolla-Fhínneín does, however, have a local and native Irish provenance according to both MacLysaght and Bell. This name is anglicised as MacAlinion or MacAleenan. If some of the McAlonan’s were not Macaloney’s who 'Irished' their name to McAlonan, might the remaining McAlonan’s be connected to these MacGiolla-Fhínneín’s aka MacAlinion’s / MacAleenan’s? This family is descended from Giolla-Fhínneín O’Muldory, who was a Fermanagh King, planted there in medieval times by the O’Donnells of Donegal, but was then replaced by the MacGuire’s [2]. Thus, one would expect to see them most strongly in Fermanagh rather than Antrim, unless there is a documented migration after being purged by the MacGuire’s? However, Livinstone in his ‘Fermanagh Story’[4] says they continued on as Lords of Muintir Pheodacháin during the MacGuire period (1300-1600 AD). He also says they anglicised their name to Leonard of whom there were 137 voters in Fermanagh in 1969.  MacLysaght shows them domiciled in the border area between Donegal and Fermanagh. The Irish Times Ancestors shows no MacAlinion’s at all but 174 MacAleenan’s born from 1847-1913. However, these were exclusively localized to counties Armagh and Down, with none in Co. Antrim or even Fermanagh. Unfortunately, the name Leonard and the similar sounding Lennon may be of little assistance because these are said to derived as an anglification from several different, unrelated Irish names, as well as representing some in-coming English Leonard’s. As such there were 5,562 Leonard births in Ireland from 1847-1913 but only 8 in Co. Antrim, further indicating that Leonard and McAlonan are not connected. Thus, the hypothesis that McAlonan’s is a variant of MacGiolla-Fhínneín does not inspire much confidence. However, in addition to comparing your McAlonan / McAlonen DNA signature with the Macaloney’s we will collaborate with the Leonard FTDNA program as well as Ulster and Irish FTDNA program’s to see if there are any McAlonan signature matches to other names elsewhere.

In 'The Irish Times Ancestor surname index' they suggests that McAlonan [5] may be derived from followers or devotees of Saint Adamnan. The name is hypothesized to be derived from the devotee of St. Adamnan the coarb of St. Columba and abbot of Iona. Adamnan is a diminutive form of Adam. The Irish spelling for the descendants of the devotee of St. Adamnan would be Mac Giolla Adhnamhnáin. Irish Times Ancestor say the name would be most prevalent in Ulster and Scotland, suggesting it became the name MacLennan. However, as discussed above the MacLennan hypothesis does not offer much promise at all. Since they give the anglification of this saint as St. Eunan, this suggests the modern name Mac’ilunan (from MacGiolla Adhnamhnáin) or Macalunan (from the possibly but not documented older pre 12th century form MacMhaol Adhnamhnáin), with an emphasis on the ‘oo’ syllable, rather than McAlonan with its ‘o’ sylable. Might the modern name McAloone / McAloon be a version of this whereby the diminutive Adamnan was reduced back to Adam, whereby our hypothesised name Mac'ilunan and Macalunan become Mac'ilun and Macalun. With the emphasis on the syllable 'oo' these names then correspond with the actual modern Ulster names McAloone / McAloon. Authors such as Livingstone and MacLysaght have struggled to identify the true root of this McAloone / McAloon name. None of them however, have associated it with McAlonan or Macaloney.  

Isle of Man connection?  St. Adamnan has an association with the Isle of Man and the church of Kirk Lonan in the the Parish of St. Lonan there. Furthermore, one source reports that the Kings of Man of Godred Crovan's dynasty were descended from Godred Crovan who himself was a Gall-gael (i.e. mixed Viking-Gael) came from the island of Islay in 1079 AD. In the process he and his leading men took and settled the Northern half of Man [9] and may well have brought a reverence for St. Adamnan whose monastery of Iona is immediately adjacent to Islay. King Godred Croven of Man later retired to and died on Islay in 1095 AD.  In fact St. Adamnan’s church in the Northern part of Man is also known as Lonan old church[6]. Thus, in Manx Gaelic, St. Adamnan church must have been named after a devotee of Adamnan called Gill-Adhnamhnáin which was anglicized to Lonan, whereby the ‘Gill’ was shortned to ‘‘ill’ and then to ‘L’. All this is suggestive of there having been some people called MacGill-Adhnamhnáin, given that one usually see’s this ‘ill’ or ‘L’ truncation of ‘Gill’ in the context of ‘MacGill…’ names. Whereas there do not appear to be Lonan’s or McAlonan’s in the Isle of Man, Craine [7] reports an ancient MacGillowney name in the Isle of Man said to come from the Manx Gaelic name MacGiolla Dhomhnaigh which was worn down to MacGillowney, and then to Lowney, Lewney, and Looney. In early times the name was found in the Parish of Lonan, and in 1500 a Patrick MacGillony or MacGillewney owned land in a part of the Parish called Amogary, land that was long known as Ballalooney or Ballalewney [i.e. Looney’s village]. At the time he was the only Looney or Lewney owning land in Isle of Man. In 1650 AD, the then Looney owner appears to have sold the land. In reviewing this, we believe Craine was incorrect in assigning the name MacGiolla-Dhomhnaigh (son of the devotee or servant of the Lord) rather than MacGill-Adhnamhnáin. Thus, the names MacGillewney, Lowney, Lewney, and Looney are from the devotees of St Adamnan. The occurrence of MacGillony is believed to be a 'worn down' miss-spelling single occurrence with no connection to the Scottish Clan Maelanfaid name MacGillonie. In any event, these Manx names appear to have been an uncommon local name, and therefore not a strong contender as the source of the Antrim McAlonan’s.


The ancient Clan Maelanfaid do not appear to have had any physical association with Islay (and by inference to Man) in the 11th century however, many modern-day Macaloney's / McAlonie's after leaving Lochaber came via Islay in the 17th century before relocating to Antrim by the 18th century, as evidenced by one of the Family Bibles recorded by Margaret Tuttle in her McAloney's of North America [8]. Even a potential marriage between the Islay-based Lord of the Isles brother, Celestine of Lochalsh and the Glendessary MacPhee kindred of the Clan Maelanfaid, which may have led to a Maelanfaid marriage train relocating from Lochaber to Islay, would not have occurred until the 15th century.

So in conclusion, the McAlonan’s and some non-roman catholic Moloney's/Maloney's of Co. Antrim, Ulster are known to be related to the McAloney’s of Antrim and represent an ‘Irished’ version of the Scottish name, Macaloney / McAlonan, probably necessary as a result of the religious wars.


However, it is likely that most Moloney's / Maloney's are of a non-Scottish, non-Maelanfaid origin originating from County Clare, Ireland which is known to be the domicile of this illustrious Irish clan. Further y-DNA research will help determine if there is any possible link between the Co. Clare Moloney's/Maloney's (Gaelic Maol-Domnaigh) and the proposed ancestors of the the Clann Maelanfaid, the Sil Maelanfaid who lived immediately adjacent to the Moloney's / Maloney's in south County Galway, County Claire, and North County Tipperary.


Some McAlonan’s may possibly come from another Irish or Scottish source? The McAlonan's probably do not have a connection to the Scottish MacLennan’s. Although unlikely, they might possibly have a connection to the native MacGiolla-Fhínneín’s of Fermanagh whose name has been anglicised to MacAlinion, MacAleenan, and Leonard. A connection to similar sounding, uncommon Manx names also seems unlikely.  


By participating in this international Clan Maelanfaid project via submitting your cheek swab sample to FTDNA Clan Maelanfaid Project, we will work with you and other McAlonan / McAlonen’s/Moloney's to confirm which of these scenario’s actually applies to your name. To do this, please click on the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.

[1] Irish Families: Their Names, Arms, and Origins. 3rd Edition. 1972. Edward MacLysaght. Pub: Crown Publishers Inc., NY.
[2] The Book of Scots-Irish Family Names. 1988. Robert Bell. Pub: The Blackstaff Press, Belfast.
[3] http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/surname/index.cfm?fuseaction=Births&Surname=MacLennan&UserID

[4] The Fermanagh Story. 1969. Peadar Livingstone. Pub: Clogher Historical Society, Clogher.
[5] http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/surname/index.cfm?fuseaction=Births&Surname=McAlonan&UserID=  

[6] St. Adamnan’s Church, Lonan search on Wikipedia downloaded 25Oct2015: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Adamnan%27s_Church,_Lonan
[7] Craine, quoted from OzarksWatch Vol. V, No. 4, Spring 1992: The MacGiolla Dhomhnaighs, or MacGillewneys, or Looneys of The Missouri-Arkansas Border By Donald R. Holliday.

[8] The McAloney Family of North America. Margaret Tuttle. 1999. Private publication available at the Parrsboro N.S. museum.

[9] North Men: The Viking Saga 793-1241. 2015. John Haywood. Pub: Head of Zeus Ltd, London.

This would appear to explain how a Moloney member of our project has near identical y-DNA to several of our Canadian, Scottish and USA McAloney/Macaloney members and is consistent with his Antrim ancestor being in the Freemasonic Lodge in Antrim.

Cultural memories do get propagated over several generations: a Nova Scotia McAloney reports that on Saint Patrick's day she was told by her father to remember she was Scottish and not Irish, despite their ancestors coming from Antrim, Ireland in the 1800's. Another US McAloney said his father told him to keep a swath of orange fabric in his pocket on Saint Patrick day, to remind him of his 'Orange'  roots!


Free Masonry. Both Free Masons (or Masonic Lodge) and the Orange Lodge are fraternal organizations whose members meet in a 'lodge'. Other than this coincidence, there is no political connection between Freemasonry and the Orange Lodge. Modern speculative freemasonry (as opposed to ancient operative stone masonry) with its moral, philosophical, philanthropic, non-religious fraternity was started in Scotland circa 1598 AD and then propagated around the World by the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland during the 18th - 20th centuries. Relevant to our research, membership of the Freemasons was not allowed by the Pope for Roman Catholics and therefore in Ireland and Scotland became a preserve of non-Catholics. For an Ulster-based Moloney to be in the local Freemasoic Lodge means he was non-RC whereas most Moloney's/Maloney's in Ireland and elsewhere would most likely be RC. Interestingly, it is a not uncommon occurrence for Scottish, Canadian and US Macaloney/McAloney descendants of those in Antrim to be in the Freemasons, and coincidentally, one of the last MacGillonies of Strone in Lochaber, Scotland, Captain Donald Cameron of Strone, was the Most Worshipful Master of Fortwilliam Lodge No. 43 (founded 1743). In fact he held the Chair no less than 4 times between 1791 and 1816 and two of his contemporary Past Masters were Ewan Cameron of Fassferm and Duncan MacPhaile, two other proud Maelanfaind names from Fortwilliam, Lochaber. The present author is an Entered Apprentice Freemason in Cadder Argyle Lodge 147, Scotland where his great-grandfather was a Master Mason and nephew recently held the Chair. His great-grandfather was born in Antrim and may possibly have been raised as a Master Mason there. More research in to the contributions that Clan Maelanfaid ancestors may have made to Free Masonary is certainly merited and may well assist in making further family connections as we have seen here with our Antrim Moloney brother.



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These Scottish Maelanfaid arose as a kindred in the 8th century, whereas other great Scottish names such as MacDonald, Campbell, Stewart, Robertson and Murray did not arise until the 12th through 14th centuries. By the 15th century the Scottish Maelanfaid formed the famous Jacobite Clan Cameron. See the Scottish Maelanfaid tab for more details.

Below, is a land lease record from Rasharkin Parish, Co. Antrim showing that an Elizabeth McAlonan and her deceased husband or father, Robert, went by the name Cameron, circa 1786 (this assumes that she was not a McAlonan who by coincidence married someone by the name of Cameron). Given that there is extensive evidence of the Macaloney's being part of Clan Cameron, and often interchanging their name with Cameron when leaving Lochaber, this lease record is further supporting evidence that the McAlonan's, or at-lease a significant portion of them, were Macaloney's.

Clan Maelanfaid DNA

Religion: A sensitive but relevant topic is that of religion. Today, many MacAlonan's and Macaloney's may be Roman Catholic (RC) but many more are non-RC such as Protestants, Baptists, Episcopalian, etc. It is believed the planted Macaloney's who settled Antrim from Scotland, 'Irished' their name to McAlonan and Moloney to fit in better with the local, predominantly RC, populace. It may actually be that they did this to avoid persecution because a number of Macaloney's appear to have been very active in the Loyal Orange Lodge, as evidenced by the Ballymena Memorial Arch to Sir Knt. Bro. Alexander McAloney, shown below.














Many of the Macaloney's who left Antrim to return back to Scotland were protestant and active in the Orange Lodge. Of those Macaloney's who went to Canada and the USA, Mrs. Margaret Tuttle, in her comprehensive treatise The McAloney Family of North America [8], showed that the 11 families who are the source of most N. American Macaloney's all changed their name from McAlonan to Macaloney, and that all of them were non-RC. In fact, one of their ancestors was reported to have spent time in a dungeon in Antrim! With such a prominent Orange Lodge martyr(?) as Sir Knt., Bro. Alexander McAloney as well as a relative (Alexander or another McAloney?) being put in a dungeon, it is no wonder that other less staunch Macaloney relatives would 'Irish' their name to McAlonan or Moloney to avoid persecution and/or retribution.