Scottish Origins

Maitlands from Lauderdale View the Maitland Pedigrees

South West Scotland View the Maitland Pedigrees


Maitlands from Inverurie and of Kirkton of Oyne are documented. We have a pedigree of Inverurie Maitlands, and can answer queries about it. We have the book Miatlands of Kirkton of Oyne, and can answer queries.

Maitlen Maizlen Medlin

The Lauderdales of North America and of Northumberland

Mautalent to Maitland - how our name developed

Getting Started: Go to our Starting Genealogy page, where we have several articles for beginners.

Research sources

Where are the Maitlands?

There were about 3,000 Maitland families, and about 1,000 Lauderdale families listed in telephone books and electoral registers around the world in 1985. Since then, land lines hve declined and unindexed mobile phones have proliferated, so this sourse ofminformation has vanished.  With these changes the Clan Maitland Society cannot keep track of all of our family.

About 37% of recorded Maitlands - that is people with the surname, listed in phone books and electoral registers, live in Britain, 45% in North America, and 12% in Australia. Thus more live outside Britain than in Britain, and more in England than Scotland. This is testimony to a substantial migration, and to their prosperity in their new homes.

We are developing records of the main lines of the Maitland families. These are the Maitland families of the Lauderdale, Galloway and Aberdeen lines. These three lines, based on the Mautalents who settled first in Chevington around 1130, and later at Thirlestane around 1250 are thought to be the source of nearly all the present day Maitland families.

The Maitlands of Lauderdale are well recorded from the earliest periods because they were landowners, and later, in the 16th and 17th centuries were lawyers and statesmen. First settled in Northumberland, they reached Lauderdale by 1250, and are the main, senior line of the Maitlands, from whom the Earls of Lauderdale and all other Maitland lines are descended.

The Maitlands of south west Scotland, first acquired half the Barony of Tibbers, about 20 square miles in extent, near Penpont, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire in 1369, as a wedding present when John Mautalent of Lethington and Thirlestane married Lady Agnes, daughter of the Earl of March and Dunbar.     

On the 3rd January 1400 James Maitland received a charter from his brother William Maitland of Thirlestane and Lethington of the lands of Auchenbreck, at Penpont in Dumfriesshire.   Maitlands in the southwest are thus descended from James, a Maitland of Thirlestane.

The Aberdeenshire Maitlands are primarily descended from Robert Maitland who married the heiress of Schivas in 1417. Schivas is located about 50 miles north of Aberdeen just off the B9005 road between Methlick and Ellon, about 3 miles north of Haddo House. Others may well have migrated to Aberdeenshire during the 16th and 17th centuries. Our earliest record is of Margaret Maitland who married John "Jock" Gordon, known better as "Jock o' Scurdargue". She was born in about 1354 in the general Aberdeen-Strathbogie area. Maitlands of Kirkton of Oyne is an important reference work which lists the descendants of John Maitland and Janet Gregor, married in Oyne in1733. It runs to 400 pages. We are presently engaged in indexing it. For copies you'll have to try Amazon second hand books.


We have records of the Maitlands of Lauderdale and of Dumfries complete up to the middle of the 19th century. Records of the Aberdeenshire Maitlands are reasonably good up to the middle of the 18th century.

If you can trace your descent to the 18th or early 19th century, especially in Lauderdale or Galloway, then we may be able to establish a link for you, which would immediately trace your ancestry back to 1250.

We can supply a pedigree of the three main lines of the Maitlands from 1250, which is a photographic copy of the pedigree owned by The Chief. The original is over six feet long. The colour photograph is 15 inches by 30 inches. See Pedigree in the merchandise section on the Web site.

However, with the great expansion of the population in the 19th century, we are unable to trace later Maitland families, and until further work has been completed, our records in Aberdeenshire are also relatively sparse. We do not have any American or Australian records, but do have a note of the Dundrennan branch in New Zealand to the end of the 19th century.

Maitlen Maizlen Medlin

Maitlen first appears in Scotland in 1781, and Maizlen appears to be an American variant, dating from the 19th century. Because name connections are based on the consonants rather than the vowels (which often change) we assume that these are variants of Maitland. Before and even some time after the middle of the 19th century most spelling of surnames in the U.S. was phonetic -- spelled as they sounded to the one recording them. Moreover, not all of the enumerators and court scribes were native-born Americans and their spellings would differ. We regard Medlin as a variant of Maitland, if the family has a tradition of Scots origin. There are documented Medlins from England, but a Maitland immigrant could well have found his name phonetically spelled Medlin. Recent DNA testing indicates that people bearing these names are indeed of Maitland origin.

Other Variants

The following spellings are recognised by the Scots registry of Testaments (Wills) as variants of Maitland:
Maittland, Matiland, Matlaind, Matland, Matleand, Meatlan, Meattland, Meitland, Metland, Metlane, Mitland,

Lauderdales are mainly descended from James Maitland Lauderdale, the Emigrant, who settled in Pennsylvania around 1714. He is thought to have moved from southwest Scotland, where the Lauderdale name is known in the 18th century, to Northern Ireland and thence to North America.

Family tradition holds that in 1641 seven Lauderdale brothers emigrated from Scotland to Ulster, Ireland and settled in County Down, some near Gillhall at Dromore and others near Drumbo, across the Lagan River from Lisburn. See History of the Lauderdales in America Heritage, 1998,

There is another book - "The Lauderdales of Scotland and America", pub 1937, by Charles J Lauderdale which contains much information which is imaginary, and of course completely incorrect. Do disregard it.

We don't know from whom James Lauderdale, the Emigrant was descended, and he made no claims to be descended from the Earls of Lauderdale. Equally, he was firm in his assertion that he was a Maitland by origin, and this is the tradition which he handed down to his children and grandchildren and which was formally recorded by James Shelby Lauderdale in 1880. This refers to a meeting between his uncle Sam, and Dr David Lauderdale who met in 1830, and discovered that they shared a common family tradition. Another Lauderdale from New York was met in 1880 in St Louis with a similar tale.

Lauderdale as a family name, not connected with the title, first appears in the Scottish parish records in Galloway with the birth of Jean Lauderdale in 1737, the daughter of James Lauderdale at Beith, Ayr. It also appears in Northumberland in 1704.

Maitlands have lived in or been connected with southwest Scotland since 1369, and our understanding of James the Emigrant is that he came from that part of Scotland, so the combination of geography, name and his family tradition makes it almost certain that he was a Maitland by origin, and as such, related by blood to the Earls of Lauderdale, but descended from their precursors, the Maitlands or Mautl;aents of Lauderdale.

Scottish Origins

General Register Office for Scotland

This is the central registry for births, marriages and deaths in Scotland and contains parish and other records from 1553, as well as the 1883 census. It has a web site which can be searched for data from 1553 to 1900, by surname, Christian name, parish, and by event, birth, christening, marriage, death.

The procedure is to login, and pay a fee of GBP6, about US$10, by credit card which provides 24 hours of searching, and 30 downloads of information from the register, which may contain up to 20 entries each. A full copy of an entry costs GBP10, about US$16

The site is run by the British Government. I have used it to search for references to Lauderdales from 1553 to 1900, and found it quick and efficient. For more recent data, personal searches must be made at the office.

Search your surname: the GRO site lists some researchers

The BBC Scotland website provides an excellent introduction to sources of Scots genealogical information. Visit 

The Mormon Church Family Search Site

Probably the best known genealogical research site, there is no charge for use, and it has a massive index drawn from all over the world. It does, however, have many gaps, and for research into Scottish origins, the General Register Office for Scotland site is appreciably better, though it is not free.

'Time Magazine' states "The Mormon Church, officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has begun testing a new website that eventually will be a repository of 600 million names, extracted from vital records worldwide. The Mormons consider genealogy part of their mission and have the world's most extensive records. "I think it is a wonderful site," says Michael Leclerc, reference librarian at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. "It is giving the most widespread access ever to the world's largest genealogical repository."

Ellis Island records

The publishers of the popular Family Tree Maker software have sponsored a database on Ellis Island, the entry point for immigration to the USA from 1892 to 1924. 22 million names are listed at charges a fee for use of the site.

Or search the Ellis Island Archives:

Maitland Genealogy Forum

This site contains a number of questions and answers about Maitlands, and is interesting to look at from time to time. No connection with Clan Maitland Society

For more information see our Links Page for useful web sites and research resources.

Scots Ancestry Research Society

A kinsman used their services to trace his line back to an 18th century Maitland in Aberdeenshire, and hence to the main line of Maitlands. We cannot provide any guarantee on the quality of work, but kinsfolk should look at their web-site to get an idea of the services available in this area. (currently offline)

Sources Used for Research

From 1 January 1855 there have been Statutory Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths, registration in which is compulsory, and which are indexed annually on computer.

From 1841 there are decennial Census Schedules giving information about the members of every household. Up to 1891 these Census Schedules are open to public inspection,. but as only large towns are indexed (by street), it is necessary to know the address before consulting a city census. In the 1841 Census, only limited information is given, i.e. whether or not the person was born in the county, and adult ages are generally approximate to within five years, i.e. 40 means 40 - 44, 45 means 45 -49, etc.

Before 1855 there are the Old Parochial Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, which, though now in the custody of the Registrar General in Edinburgh, were compiled by local church authorities. They begin at various dates from the early nineteenth century to the late sixteenth, registration in them was voluntary and sometimes irregular, and in general they relate only to adherents of the Church of Scotland. The baptisms and marriages from the extant Old Parochial Registers of each of the 33 Scottish counties have now been indexed. However information about ancestors who were Roman Catholics, Episcopalians or members of one of the non-established Presbyterian Churches is not likely to be found in these records.

Relationships can, sometimes be traced through Registers of Testaments (deeds or inventories), many of which are indexed.

Ancestors who had heritable property (lands or houses) can be traced in the General and Particular Registers of Sasines, which go back to 1617 and in some cases to 1599, but before 1781 less than half of them are indexed.

The Services of Heirs, with decennial indexes, carry us back to 1700, and for another hundred years and more before that there is the Inquisitionem Retornatarum Abbrevatio (Retours) giving succession of heirs, mainly among owners of heritable property.

Family History Societies

Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society
164 King Street
Aberdeen AB2 3BD
Tel: 01224 646 323 Fax 01224 639 096

The Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society provides information to people whose forebears came from that area. Visit their web site:

Dumfries & Galloway Family History Research Centre
9, Glasgow Street
Dumfries DG2 9AF

Visit their web site:

Glasgow Genealogy Centre
22 Park Circus
0141 287 8364

Visit their web site:

Borders Family History Society
Caddon Mill,
Galashiels TD1 3LZ
United Kingdom

Visit their web site:

English Records
The Public Records Office at Kew in London is an outstanding research source for historians and genealogists. For research into forebears resident in England, this is a must, and the first stop for any research. The web site also has excellent links to other sources. Visit the site at The National Archives


FreeREG stands for Free REGisters. The FreeREG Project's objective is to provide free Internet searches of baptism, marriage, and burial records, which have been extracted from parish registers and non-conformist church records in the United Kingdom. The recording of baptisms, marriages and burials in parish registers began in England in 1538.

FreeREG is a part of the FreeUKGEN Project and companion project to FreeBMD, which is a database of the GRO birth, marriage and death indexes from 1837 forward. Records are to be made freely available through a search engine only, not as complete sets of data for a church. For complete transcriptions, where available, refer to the local County Records Offices, or Family History Societies.

The FreeREG database is a finding tool. It should not be considered to be proof, or that it is always 100% accurate, or contains all of the information in the actual register. Once you have found a record, then write to the relevant Family History Society or County Record Office, which for a small fee will provide a print from the register for you. In many cases you can also purchase a full transcript of the register from the FHS.

There are three FreeREG databases, one each for baptisms, marriages, and burials. Because FreeREG is a relatively new project, there are now only a few million records in the database, so you should not expect to find all your ancestors in the database yet.