The Scottish and Irish surname MacNab is an anglicized form of the Scots Gaelic name Mac an Aba(dh) ‘son of the abbot’. In Scotland, monasteries often had hereditary lay abbots, who were not bound by rules of celibacy. The MacNab's seem to have originated at the monastery of St. Faolan in Strathfillan. In a genealogy of the Macnab's in 1467 we find Gillafaelan who founded a 7th Century monastery in the region named as one of the early chiefs. Other interesting recordings include that of Robart Gynnab, a Scots prisoner of war in Colchester in 1396, whilst Archibald McNab was a lieutenant in the 42nd regiment of foot, who died in New York in 1767 during the American War of Independence.