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The name McWilliam is first recorded in the twelfth century. The clan has made repeated efforts to seize the crown by force, but were finally defeated in 1215 at the beginning of the reign of King Alexander II. The line was destroyed after the daughter of the McWilliam chief was battered to death against the market cross in Forfar.

Since William was a popular name, many of those who came to be called McWilliam ('son of William') or Williamson can claim no clan descent. However, there are records of a Clan MacMhic Uileim, which claimed descent from an early chief of the Macleods, and during the 16th century the Robertsons of Pittagowan in Atholl went under the name of McWilliam.



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