‘Se seo trusadh de stuth nach buin am measg gin de na duileagan eile. Ged a tha sin ceart, tha an cuid as mogha de na cuspairean ceangailte ri eachdraidh sinnsireachd.


29 responses to “Archives

  1. Don MacFarlane

    September 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Scots Slaves in Seventeen Century Masachusetts
    From Noni Brown

    Many Highlanders were pressed into service by their clan chiefs as part of a ragtag royalist army formed to defend Scotland and the newly-crowned King Charles II against Oliver Cromwell . While all the Scottish army had in mind was to avoid conquest of Scotland by England, King Charles hoped to regain the English crown and so he pushed the Royalist Scots south across the border towards London.

    Cromwell pursued the Scottish rabble and outnumbered it, exhausted and running out of supplies as they were, just outside the the city of Worcester. Cromwell’s final attack early on September 3, 1651 finished with up to four thousand Scots lying dead and ten thousand more captured, with minimal casualties on Cromwell’s side. The King escaped to exile in France but few of the Scots who survived ever returned home. At temporary prison camps in London and other cities, many of the prisoners died of starvation, disease and infection. Those that survived met one of several fates:

    • A thousand prisoners drained fens in East Anglia
    • 1500 were shipped out to the gold mines of Guinea
    • others were sent to labour in Barbados and Virginia
    • 272 Scots were herded aboard the John and Sara, bound for New England

    Interesting Highland Surnames from the Raggle-Taggle Army
    Rosse= Ross
    Micknab = MacNab
    Macknell = MacNeill
    Mackonne = MacEwen
    Macklude = MacLeod
    Mackalester = MacAllister
    Mackfarson = MacPherson
    Mackandra = MacAindrea (Anderson)
    Mackontoss = MacKintosh

    • Don MacFarlane

      September 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      Some Royalist Clans during the Civil War 1644-

      Most of these clans were either just North of the Highland Line or Lowland. By being supporters of the Kings Charles they were opposed to Oliver Cromwell and his Parliamentarians. Their opponents in Scotland were called Covenanters whose primary purpose was to secure freedom of worship.

      Ultimately, the part of the Covenanters extended far beyond this initial purpose and the so-called Highland Host saved the day for Cromwell at the deciding Battle of Marston Moor in West Yorkshire. The support of the Royalists for King Charles I encouraged the Irish to rebel as well and this brought rebellion to Cromwell across two fronts. This rebounded badly against the Irish as it brought out of Cromwell the worst of his atrocities such as at Drogheda in County Louth.


  2. Waxwing

    April 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    ‘The Sea is Wide – New Celts from Old Horizons’

    500 Copies of ‘The Sea is Wide’ have already been downloaded from this site free of charge, proving its appeal to family researchers. From now on in (as of April 1, 2013), the volume can be downloaded (PDF format is the best option) at a cost of £6 (US$9)from

    Alternatively it can be downloaded at the much cheaper cost of £2 (US$3) on giving a donation to the Derry charity, Children in Crossfire, at

    To secure the cheaper purchase, please post the request on this page under your pseudonym if preferred, with perhaps any genealogy query for good measure. Upon receipt by Waxwings (my pseudonym) of any such request, and confirmation to Waxwings from Justgiving of a donation to Children in Crossfire, Waxwings will temporarily unblock the Smashwords site to enable the free download.

    Although Smashwords favours the ePub format, for downloads the PDF version seems to work better, fully preserves the formatting and more closely resembles the appearance of a normal book. All that is lost in the PDF version is the technicolour but it reads just like a Kindle.

  3. donfad

    May 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Proceedings against Jacobite Prisoners 1745

    ‘Besides the trials at Southwark, other trials took place at Carlisle and York, chiefly of prisoners taken at Culloden. Early in August, no less than three hundred and eighty-five of these unfortunate beings had been brought to Carlisle; but as the trial of such a great number of persons, with a view to capital punishment, might appear extremely harsh, a proposal was made to the common prisoners, who formed the great mass, that only one in every twenty should be tried according to lot, and that the remainder should be transported. This proposal was acceded to by a considerable number.

    The commission was opened at Carlisle on the eleventh of August, when bills of indictment were found against a hundred and nineteen persons. The judges adjourned to the ninth of September; and, in the mean time, they repaired to York, where the grand jury found bills against seventy-five persons confined there. The judges resumed their sittings at Carlisle for the trial of the prisoners there, on the ninth of September, on which, and the two following days, the prisoners, against whom bills had been found, were arraigned. Bills were found against fifteen more on the twelfth, making a total of one hundred and thirty-four.

    Of these, eleven pled guilty when arraigned; thirty-two entered the same plea when brought to trial; forty-eight were found guilty, of whom eleven were recommended to mercy, thirty-six acquitted, five remanded to prison till further evidence should be procured, and one obtained delay on an allegation of his being a peer. The judges resumed their sittings as York on the second of October, and sat till the seventh. Of the seventy-five persons indicted, two pled guilty when arraigned, fifty-two when brought to trial, and sixteen were found guilty, four of whom were recommended to mercy. All these received sentence of death. Five only were acquitted.

    Of the ninety-one prisoners under sentence at Carlisle, thirty were ordered for execution; nine of whom were accordingly executed at Carlisle on the eighteenth of October. The names of these were Thomas Coppock, (created bishop of Carlisle by Charles), John Henderson, John Macnaughton, James Brand, Donald MacDonald of Tyerndrich, Donald Macdonald of Kinlochmoidart, Francis Buchanan of Arnprior, Hugh Cameron and Edward Roper. Six were executed at Brampton on the twenty-first of the same month, viz; Peter Taylor, Michael Delaird, James Innes, Donald Macdonald, Peter Lindsay and Thomas Park. The following seven suffered at Penrith, viz. David Home, Andrew Swan, Philip Hunt, Robert Lyon, James Harvey, John Roebotham, and Valentine Holt. Seven out of the thirty were reprieved, and one died in prison. All those who were executed underwent the usual process of unbowelling.

    On the first of November ten of the prisoners condemned at York suffered in that city. The names of these were Captain George Hamilton, who had been taken at Clifton, Edward Clavering, Daniel Fraser, Charles Gordon, Benjamin Mason, James Mayne, William Conolly, William Dempsey, Angus Macdonald and James Sparke. And on the eighth of the same month, the eleven following suffered the same fate, viz. David Roe, William Hunter, John Endsworth, John Maclellan, John Macgregor, Simon Mackenzie, Alexander Parker, Thomas Magrinnes, Archibald Kennedy, James Thomson and Michael Brady. The work of death also closed at Carlisle on the fifteenth of December by the immolation of eleven more victims, namely, Sir Archibald Primrose of Dunnipace, Charles Gordon of Dalpersy, Patrick Murray, Alexander Stevenson, Robert Reid, Patrick Keir, John Wallace, James Michel, Molineaux Eaton, Thomas Hays and Barnaby Matthews. Out of the seventy-seven persons who thus suffered, it is remarkable that, with the solitary exception of Lord Kilmarnock, they all maintained to the very last the justice of the cause for which they suffered’.

  4. Don MacFarlane

    March 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    One of the three MacDonald brothers from Glenuig giving it hell for leather on the bagpipes in a Transatlantic Session. Danny Thompson, the bassplayer at the back, seems to be finding it all a bit torturous. He is a lover of most music but he obviously finds this to be a bit of a racket – not so Jerry Douglas and the other Good Ole Boy at the front.

  5. Caroline Peacock

    March 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I find your information fascinating.

    Would you please give your considered opinion regarding a question that I have? My ancestor, Norman McCraney (his North Carolina marriage certificate was signed this way), born on the Isle of Skye in 1792, immigrated to Robeson County, North Carolina. However online I cannot find any reference to McCraneys (of any spelling variation) in the region of Skye.

    Several tartan specialist lists (the Scottish Tartan Authority and Houston Kiltmakers, especially) show Macranie and variant spellings as belonging to Clanranald or the MacDonald clan (not Sleat). Since Skye is so close to Clanranald territory, I can believe that Norman McCraney’s family may have been a member of that sept.

    My question is this: Do you have an idea where in northwestern Scotland the Macranie/Macraney family group of Clanranald was probably based?

    I would appreciate any bit of information anyone has.
    Thank you,
    Caroline Peacock
    Hammond, Louisiana

    • Don MacFarlane

      March 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      A range of posts on the web (a sample below) all seem to point to Jura as the place of origin of the MacCraneys:

      Post from Billie Shaw Powell from Texas

      I would like to recommend the book: The People of the Parish of Jura, Scotland, 1506 – 1811, by Scott Buie. I found it very useful in researching my Shaw and McCraney lines.

      Post on MSN Family from Regina Cranney from Albany NY

      ‘My name is REGINA CRANNEY and I have done extensive research (with the help of a genealogist) into my CRANNEY family.

      Originally we all came from the Sept MacCrane (McCrain) of the Clan MacDonald from the Isles of Jura and Islay in Scotland. Our Coat of Arms for CRANNEY/CRANEY/CRANNY/CRANIE is the exact same coat as the one for the McCrain/MacCrain/McCrane/McCrain Sept of the Clan MacDonald.

      I wrote to the president of the MacDonald Clan in America and explained what information I had found. He verified that ALL SPELLINGS originally came from MacCrane and, as part of the Clan MacDonald, we have the legal right to wear the tartan of that clan and the badge and crest.’

      Post from Vickie McCraney Brackin

      ‘I went into the old parish records for Scotland, looked at every christening record for McCraney or McCranie and every one of them came from the Hebrides, 99% from the Isle of Jura and the other 1% from a couple of the other islands, Islay and Colonsay. It apparently was a very isolated sept and came under the protection of the MacDonald clan. I can also tell you that even in Scotland they used McCraney and McCranie interchangeably’.

  6. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Lineage of Lords of the Isles
    Courtesy of Patricia Lelievre

    Pre 1100
    Tuathal the Legitimate
    Goidelic chieftan who founded a principality in Meath with a stronghold on the sacred hill of Tara in Ireland ca. 50-99A.D.

    Conn of the Hundred Battles, High King of Tara, Ireland

    Cairbre Riada MacCormaic of the Liffey, passed over for kingship of Tara, Ireland.
    Founder of the Dalriadic race after famine forced him and his followers to leave Munster. He established a petty kingdom around Dunseverick in the North of Ireland between the Antrim mountains and the sea which became known as Dal-Riada.

    Eochach Dubhlein MacCairbre, born in Northern Ireland. He married Aelach, daughter of Ubdaire, who was born in Alba (Scotland) and to whom he had three sons, the ‘three Collas’.

    Colla Uais MacEochach, born in Northern Ireland and died ca. 337. Known as the Great Colla, he founded Clan Cholla. He aspired to the High Kinship in Tara in Ireland but he was defeated by a cousin and forced to flee with his two brothers to his mother’s people in Alba (Scotland) possibly to Colonsay. He returned to Ireland and won swordland among the old clans of the northern Ulaidh where they founded a small kingdom called Oriel (or Oirghialla).

    Post 1100
    Somerled MacGillebride was born in Scotland and he died in 1164. As Ruler of Argyll, he was buried in Iona, after being murdered at Renfrew in Scotland by his nephew, Maurice MacNeil. This was come-uppance for Somerled as he had plotted with this cousin to overthrow Olaf, Maurice’s foster brother, and to wed Olaf’s daughter, Ragnhilda. This was double-jeopardy as Olaf had already allied with Somerled by killing King Godfrey of Man by putting out his eyes. After defeating Godred of Man, Somerled received all the Isles south of Ardnamurchan and he expelled the Norsemen from the Western Isles.

    A daughter of Gillies MacSomerled married Domhnall MacRanald of Kintyre, the progenitor of Clan MacDonald who became Lord of the Isles, a title which he claimed through his grandmother, Ragnhilda, after royal permission had been granted by King Magnus of Norway. Domhnall later plundered the town of Derry in Ulster, pillaged churches and invaded the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal.

    More of the same – treachery, murder of close relatives and pillaging – behaviour normally associated with the Vikings, continued to be the norm for the next few hundred years and MacDonalds were no better than the rest. According to this account, their claim to be the ‘noblest and the oldest’ of the Scottish clans appears not to stand up to scrutiny?

    • donfad

      May 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      Biblical Lineage of the Celts

      Celts are supposed to be all descended from the following grandsons of Noah – Magog (sons were Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah) and Gomer (sons were Elichanaf, Lubal, Baath, Jophath and Fachochta), both sons of Japheth, son of Noah.

  7. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 1:01 am

    From Angus MacMillan
    Do forgive me but before anyone absorbs this traditional descent as gospel, it is completely wrong as it applies to the chiefs of Clanranald from Somerled on. Many of the clan are surely of Conn descent but Somerled was evidently from a Norse ancestor who had taken over Oriel; i.e. Godfrey of Oriel. The Clan Donald claim was that Somerled’s Norse name was simply from a Norse mother. The existing chiefs of the various branches of Clan Donald, including the present Captain of Clanranald [and a number of traceable cadet lines] have all been DNA tested and every one is of matching Norse descent. Many clan members, however, have tested compatible with the Gaelic lines represented by Conn and his like.

  8. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Unless I have picked up wrong this genealogy from Patricia Lelievre (posted on the PEI Island Register site), Somerled MacGillebride was not of Clanranald. Because that lineage only came later through marriage of his granddaughter to Domhnall MacRanald and because Domhnall MacRanald was a grandson of Ragnilda of Norway, you would expect the subsequent Clanranalds to have both Gaelic and Norse lines? But, again speaking in ignorance, is it that the DNA testing only picks up on male strains, hence the proof that the Clanranalds are of Norse descent, not Gaelic? The Norse descent through Domhnall MacRanald does not stack up because his Norse lineage was ‘only’ through the female side?

    Alex Woolf has written on the Origins and Ancestry of Somerled and he warns against the ‘received version’ of the origins of the clan as perpetrated by MacDonald historians. I might invite also Patricia Lelievre to post a reply to sort out the confusion.

  9. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:59 am

    From Angus MacMillan

    Somerled was the grandfather of Donald, name father of Clan Donald, in fact of the chiefs of the various lines of MacDonalds and MacDougalls etc that threw up. It has always been clear that there was something wrong in the Clan Donald claim to chiefly descend from the Collas as it was not only Somerled, who was claimed to derive his name from a Norse mother, but his several times great grandfather who had a Norse name, Godfrey. Godfrey of Oriel was imported from Ulster to protect the backs of the Dalriada kinglets when they took over the northern and southern Pictish kingdoms and, for greater security, it seems, moved their centres of operation to Dunkeld/Atholl on the arrival of the Vikings in about 800 AD. It was descent from Godfrey that gave Somerled his claim to leadership in the west and that now sees him credited with clearing the Vikings from Argyll and the islands. In this context of a claim to leadership of the Gaels, a claim to Gaelic descent from the Collas is easy to understand. Just by way of a diversion, it was descendents of Bishop Cormac, a descendant of MacBeth via Airbertach, who regained most of Argyll [from Loch Awe and Loch Fyneside across to Dunoon and the Clyde] with Somerled and the MacSorleys very much an island and littoral force.

    The significance of the Y-DNA tests I mentioned was that they apply to the main line descent, i.e. to Lord MacDonald, Clanranald, Keppoch etc. They trace the male lineage only. The male haplotype is passed direct and with only the odd mutation from father to son. Not a single man with a paper descent directly traceable to Somerled has shown up as a descendant of Colla or indeed with the typical R1b1 Western Atlantic results; all those present descendants are R1a descendants of Vikings. There is absolutely no doubt that, whatever his maternal, grandmaternal etc. lineage, Somerled and, barring a non paternal event, his father Gillebrigte were of Norse descent.

  10. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:58 am

    A quick scan at Woolf’s paper seems to support Angus’s version of how the MacDonalds portrayed their heritage, some of it factual, some of it made up. From the Four Masters of Ireland (835) – with modern Gaelic and English translations in brackets – comes ‘Gofraid mac Firgusa, toiseach [chief of]Airgioll, do imtict [dh’imich, ‘went’] go hAlbain[to Albainn (Scotland)] do nirtugad [neart a thug do, ‘to support’] Dhail Riada [Dalriada], tre forgonrad [?, ‘at the request of ‘] Chionaite mic Ailpin [Kenneth MacAlpine]‘. This appears to strengthen the claim, based on the Orkney Saga and other sources, that Clann Somhairle emphasised their Gaelic rather than Norse lineage when it suited them – as a political manouevre to assert their right to sovereignty over the Western Isles? This claim relied on their descendancy from Gofraid Ui Imair (also known as Gofraid mac Firgusa), as their ancestor(s) had been kings of Dublin, the Isles and Northumbria.

    The general gist of the Woolf paper is that a lot of fabrication went on, originating with the MacDonalds themselves, who sometimes stressed their Gaelic and at other times their Norse lineage, depending upon what suited. Perhaps not too surprising at a time when murdering close relatives was de rigeur. The verifiable patrilineage given for Somerled is said to go as follows – Somerled, Giolla Brigide, Giolla Oghamnan, Solamh, Mergach, Suibhne, Niallgus, Maine, Gofraid, Fergus. The rest of the lineage, which traces back to Colla Uais, is perhaps fabricated – Carthann, Carthend, Erc, Eochaidh, Colla. There is no mention of the MacDonald clan stemming from Domhnall MacRanald as presented in Patricia Lelievre’s account.

  11. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Founder Scots DNA

    Having another quick scan at Patricia’s lineage for Somerled, it seems to agree in substance with that proposed by Alex Woolf – with some exceptions, but with enough in common to support the hypothesis that Somerled’s lineage was largely Gaelic viz. common ancestry through Gillebrigte, Niallghus, Gofraid, Fergus, Eochaidh and Colla. This broad consensus skips various generations that are points of disagreement between the two accounts.

    There seems little room in either of these accounts to allow for Norse ancestry, which is suggested comes through Domhnall MacRanald’s Norse grandmother. This also means that Somerled is two steps removed from being progenitor of the MacDonalds – in his capacity as grandfather of the son of his daughter and Domhnall MacRanald (actual progenitor of the MacDonalds). This of course does not rule out that Somerled’s mother or grandmother may have had an affair with a Viking! Perhaps not so outlandish a suggestion as the menfolk were free-and-easy with handfest marriages and the likes. Why should the womenfolk be expected to be faithful?

    An alternative account is that Domhnall MacRanald was a grandson of Somerled, not a son-in-law once-removed. Another niggle I have about all of this (as an ignoramus in this field) – were Gofraid Ui Imair and Gofraid mac Firgusa one and the same or not (I assume Gofraid Croban was someone else entirely viz. King of Man)? The general sense is that there are acknowledged holes in the genealogical accounts when one goes back so many generations, even for the likes of people as famous as Somerled who had full-time bards and family historians at their disposal.

    Some proponents of Y-DNA Testing on the other hand, but not all, would claim that none of this really matters and that their method is infallible,even when the line is interrupted by many generations. The probability that two people who match 22 of 25 male markers share a common ancestor in 200 years is 10%; in 400 years is 45% and 600 years is 74%. Somerled is claimed to be second only to Genghis Khan in having 0.5 million verifiable male descendants and the fact that four or five generations of his descent, one thousand years ago, are unknown does not matter, except as a hole in historical record. Professor Bryan Sykes of Oxford claims to have the last word as his research team reports that Somerled is indisputably Norse, not Gaelic. Matrilineal DNA findings do not appear to enter into this equation at all.

    Somewhere in the middle of this debate you have the likes of Professor Catheriine Nash whose book ‘Of Irish Descent – Origin Stories, Genealogy and Politics of Belonging’ ISBN 10:0-8156-3159-6 has a whole chapter on Celtic DNA and it might be worth a read for a deeper understanding of the issues.

  12. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Galloglach (Gallowglass) MacDonalds
    The unwary reader is invited to spot any deliberate mistakes – Answers supplied later!

    Frank Everett McDonald’s yDNA-established family tree attempts to merge the historical lineage set out by Patricia Lelievere and others with scientific claims that the MacDonalds are indeed of Irish descent from Colla MacUais rather than of Norse blood. The story goes that Colla MacUais was banished, together with his brothers, to the Western seaboard of Scotland by their cousin. They returned not long after to head up the Galloglachs (Gallowglasses), a Hebridean warrior-force which conquered Ulster and established the kingdom of Oriel in Fermanagh and Monaghan. There is a linear connection of MacUais with Norse blood by this account but only through the marriage of his x17 grandson, Somerled, to Effrica, daughter of Olavus, King of Man. Somerled acquired through that marriage the designation of King of the Isles but his successors squandered this position over the next three generations.

    A further Irish connection for MacDonalds is said to be through Angus Og MacDonald, GGG-grandson of Somerled, ancestor of all MacDomhnaill Gallóglach families. He later married Ann O’Cathan, daughter of Sir Guy O’Kane of Dungiven in County Derry (reference is made to the O’Cahan Dowry by Angus MacMillan in an earlier post). Angus Og is not to be confused with his father-in-law, Alasdair MacDougall, who married a Comyn and so was a Balliol supporter, nor with Alistair’s son, John Brachach (Angus Og’s brother-in-law and cousin) who hunted the Bruce around Galloway with bloodhounds in 1308.

    So far, so good, but there are different versions on the internet as to what happened. Some versions claim that Alistair MacDougall, as a pro-Balliolite, became Admiral of the Western Seas and Baillie of Kintyre, after being given a charter by the King Edward II of England to monopolise commerce with Ireland. Others attribute that these honours and monopolies fell to Angus Og’s younger son Angus, after the older brother, Alistair MacDonald, turned coat against Bruce and thereby forfeited his possessions and titles to his younger sibling.

    Either way, an end was brought to overlordship by the Statute of Iona which included measures such as: households of chiefs were to be reduced and kept up at their own expense, not at that of the tenantry; “sorning” or living at free quarters on the poor people was to be punished as thieving; every gentleman was to send his eldest son, or, failing sons, his daughter, to be educated at school in the lowlands at his own expense, that they might learn to speak, read, and write English; the use of fire-arms was forbidden under all circumstances so as to end the Islanders’ “ monstrous deadly feuds”; and bards and other idlers were to be forbidden.

  13. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:43 am

    A forum of the type to which Angus refers can be found at RootswebGenealogy. Fortunately or unfortunately, their experts seem to disagree just as much as other people do on the reliability and limitations of Y-DNA genealogical testing. Some say that the so-called Viking phenotype is as much a legend as the old Sagas – that there are as many R1a1a DYS388=10 haplotypes in Ireland (more than 20%) as there are in Norway (28%). They also advise caution and not to ‘rashly assume’ that all DYS388=10 men form a single coherent cluster with a single founder.

    The R1a1a haplotype appears not even to be the most predominant in Norway. It is specific to the area of Norway surrounding the Oslo Fjord which includes Viken (from where Vikings get their name) and other petty kingdoms adjoined to Oslo – Vingulmark, Raumarike, Vestfold, Ostfold and Rinerike. These Vikings appear to have been a different genetic and psychogical breed from most other Norwegians and many of them could not accept the overlordship of the Danes. So they settled in the Western Isles of Scotland.

    I will leave the final pronouncement upon this interesting topic to Mark MacDonald of the Clan Donald Society. He reassures that Clan MacDonald, as with most other clans, is a ‘broad church’, with at least as many members of Irish pedigree as there are of Norse.

  14. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:42 am

    From Angus MacMillan

    The original statement was a repetition based on tradition/claim that Somerled was descended from the Collas. That is simply wrong as far as male descent is concerned [unless all the provable descendants, such as the present Clanranald, are the result of (presumably separate) non paternal events], It does not matter whether Somerled carried the haplotype associated with him as a result of infidelity, or a directly Norse or Irish Norse ancestor. He cannot be both R1a and R1b, as the two streams divided some thousands of years ago. As for the plea to matrilinear descent, he may well indeed (almost certainly did) have a portion of Gaelic ancestry; that may for all we know have included the Collas, but does not alter the fact that he cannot have had the male father-to-son ancestry that started the discussion. Papers, however learned, that seek to clarify the traditions, and/or make sense of them, are simply irrelevant to this debate and they will, no doubt, be revisited in due course.

  15. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:40 am

    From Patricia Lelievre

    A matrilineal DNA test would be a far better way of determining lineage. But there are many a nay sayer who think that belonging to a certain family name (i.e. MacDonald) is more important than actual historical accuracy. I am sure that there were many slips ‘under the blanket’ in all those generations and the line is not so smooth as some believe. Women are definitely not the innocents they would have proposed to be at any time in our history of human reproduction.

    A large part of the world’s population (women) are not represented by a patrilineal Y chromosome test. An X chromosome test would represent a far greater number of descendants and would widen the field to include Celtic, Norse, Gaelic, etc. races. The amount of DNA used in testing refers to .01% which leaves some margin for error (mutation) in every 15 to 50 generations. A second test using the X chromosome would be more accurate.

  16. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:37 am

    From Andrew MacEachern

    I find it highly dubious that all R1a DNA can be considered Norse. There are some glaring if small but relevant differences. Where you see DYS459a as being 8 and YCAiia and YCAiib being 19/21 it does appear Norse. BUT the vast majority of Norse R1a has DYS459a as 9 if YCAiia and YCAiib are 19/21 or 19/23. Out of 110 Y-search records for Scandinavian R1a or R1a1 yDNA, 59 have results for DYS459a. 3 of these show 8 and 56 of them show 9. This is an exceptional statistical difference. This makes the vast majority of Norse R1a DNA non-“MacDonald compliant”. You can see in Y-search ID 2Y9KT, it is stated that this is the Old Norse Modal with DYS459a being 8.

    If you compare this “modal” to every other Scandinavian R1a1 or R1a listed on Ysearch, you will find that this modal is not supported by the evidence. The vast majority of Scandinavian R1a1 or R1a yDNA listed on Ysearch has DYS459a = 9. The vast majority of Scots / Isles R1a and R1a1 is DYS459a = 8. There is a Scots R1a1 with DYS459a = 9 and YCAiia and YCAiib = 19/23. This is also represented in large numbers of Irish R1a1. This DNA blatantly matches the Norse modal. It also matches clan names known as being Norse, such as the MacLeod and the MacKay. The quantity of R1a1 of DYS459a = 8 and YCAiia and YCAiib = 19/21 in Ireland is very very limited.

    History seems to be ignoring the Gaels. I find I can’t.


  17. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:35 am

    From Andrew MacEachern

    For the SNP testing, male MacEacherns are not needed, but for yDNA STR, yes. In my part of the tree we have two L176.1+’s. (This part of the haplotree is ancestral to Clan Donald branch). I have asked others in the ancestral section of the tree to test. They are in a different branch to me. However I am sure they will be positive as we have a common ancestor, sometime from 0 to 500AD. As far as I know all Clan Donald who are 16/8 and 19/21 who have been tested are positive for this SNP. As far as I know all 15/9 and 19/21 who have been tested are negative. The same can be said for the branch that is ancestral to the 15/9 who show 19/23.

    As to the MacEacherns. Here is the story. The DNA shows MacEacherns who are MacDonalds. There are MacEacherns who are R1b1b2. My research indicates these are centered on or are ancestrally from the Islay area. These are the MacEacherns who so fervently claim a sept relationship to Clan Donald South. So yes I would like to map out the MacEacherns, especially any Kintyre ones.

    I am a Morvern MacEachern. It would appear (anecdotally) that I am related to our “clan” chief who was murdered at Dunaverty (Kintyre) in 1647. The majority of Alexanders and MacAlisters (Kintyre names) have a common ancestor with me, about 300 or 400 years ago. This may be through Sir Andrew MacEachern Reverend at Ardnamurchan 1505AD.

    Although the document does not state it in the 15/8 branch we find some lowland clan names such as Homes, Swinton, Gordon and a few Campbells (Craignish I presume). There seems to be an interesting “history” in the DNA which does not at times conform with “common knowledge” history. Stay tuned for part 2.

  18. Don MacFarlane

    August 16, 2010 at 12:33 am

    From Andrew MacEachern

    Anatole and I are also trying to pin the L176.1+ SNP tail on the haplotree. It appears that this SNP may have appeared in my branch which is ancestral to the Clan Donald branch. The 15/9 and 19/21 Scandinavians do not have this SNP, so at the moment we believe the date for its birth to be from 500BC to 500AD.

    Anatole Klyosov and I have recently published a research article on Scotlands R1a1 Clansmen. The article titled “Scotland’s R1a1 Highland Clansmen, DNA Genealogy and the search for Somerled”. It has been published as part of the Proceedings of the Russian Academy of DNA Genealogy. Scroll through the document for the English articles.

  19. Angus Macmillan

    April 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    There is just one place associated by name with Airbertach and that is Dun Airbertach on the coastla road south of Oban. It is close to where tradition has MacBeth and his successors having a base at Barbreck. As for Bishop Cormac, his headquarters in the west were at Killespickerell, the modern Taynuilt between Lochs Awe and Etive.

  20. Don MacFarlane

    February 13, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Airbertach, Progenitor of the MacMillans
    From Clan MacMillan Website

    The MacMillans are one of a number of clans – including the MacKinnons, the MacQuarries, and the MacPhees – descended from Airbertach, a Hebridean prince of the old royal house of Moray who according to one account was the great-grandson of King Macbeth. The kin of Airbertach were closely associated with the Clann Somerhairle Ri Innse Gall (“Kings of the Hebrides”), the ancestors of the MacDougalls and the MacDonald “Lords of the Isles”; and like their allies their interests in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries ranged throughout the Hebrides and the western coastal regions of the Scottish mainland, and into Ireland. Though most of the clans certainly descended from Airbertach were associated with the Inner Hebrides (Tiree, Iona, Mull, Ulva and Colonsay) some others claiming the same descent were later settled inland along the strategic corridor that connects Lorn – the mainland region opposite those islands – to Dunkeld in Perthshire, where Airbertach’s son Cormac was the Bishop in the early twelfth century. Tradition connects the MacMillans with a number of different places in the areas associated with Airbertach’s kindred: Glencannel on Mull; Craignish in Lorn, Leny and Loch Tayside in Perthshire.

  21. Don MacFarlane

    February 5, 2009 at 7:38 am

    From Douglas MacKinnon

    I was sad to read that a local landlord ordered the demolition of the stately but ruined Lanrick Castle, the home built by John Murray Mac Gregor, Bt, 18th Chief of Clan Gregor.

    I was also very interested to read that the 10th Duke of Atholl, “Wee Iain” Murray, died a bachelor (I have heard he was gay). On his death bed, he formally disinherited his South African cousin, John Murray, who has succeeded to the title of 11th Duke, but has no right to Blair Atholl castle or the Atholl dukedom which has all been placed in a charitable trust for the residents- a noble example to other landlords, I suppose. These two Dukes are the direct descendants of the 1st Duke who was a leading Jacobite during the “15” and later rebellions. I have read that one of the Atholl dukes was attainded, but the dukedom later restored to the family by the British crown.

  22. Don MacFarlane

    January 14, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    The little I know about the history of the early Irish church is that it followed the Roman tradition as a result of the Synod of Whitby. The dispute was about the celebration of the Easter festival, not about Christmas. See

    However, I anticipate that better-informed people will shortly enlighten me.

  23. Don MacFarlane

    January 14, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    From Douglas MacKinnon

    I understand that the Celtic church celebrated the Sabbath on a Saturday, refrained from eating pork, and followed other Judaic and Non-Roman Catholic traditions, which is why the Pope formally instructed King Henry II of England to “reform” the Irish Church ca. 1170, and bring it into line with Rome- an event which gave the English an excuse to occupy and colonise Ireland.

    I stand to be corrected, but I have read that the Celtic Church has it’s origins in the 1st century Christian sect in Jerusalem which was Judaic and was headed by people who knew Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Yosef personally (”Jesus”). Yehoshua appears to have been the Martin Luther of Judaism. He founded an Orthodox Jewish sect which was seen as a threat by the established Hebrew San Hedrin and the Saducees who betrayed him to the Roman government of Judaea who crucified him for political reasons (Yehoshua was a blood prince of the House of David).

    This original 1st century Jewish sect became a political rallying point for Jews who wished to throw off the Roman yoke and, after the Roman sacking of Jerusalem (AD 75, AD 135), this early church was suppressed by the Romans who invented their own religion which was a hybrid of Hellenist (Greek) Christian traditions and Roman pagan traditions. This Roman church arose out of the farcical Council of Nicaea which was organized by the Emperor Constantine to bring uniformity and order to the hundreds of fractious Christian sects which existed at the time and which posed a threat to political stability within the vast Roman empire.

    If you study the research by Clint van Nest, a former ordained Baptist minister who converted to Judaism, the Roman, Protestant and Greek churches don’t bear any resemblance to the 1st century Jewish sect founded by Yehoshua and his “disciples’ and family members. (see “the Netzarim Jews’ on the web). I understand that the suppressed church went underground and later re-emerged in Syria, Egypt, Gaul, and some say Ireland- where it became the foundation of the Celtic church. Of course St Patrick went along way to bring this early sect in line with Rome, but it was only the suppression of the Celtic Church by order of Henry II of England that saw the arrival of orthodox Roman Catholicism in Ireland.

    Christmas is entirely a pagan tradition which has nothing to do with the true date of the birth of Yehoshua/Jesus, but does celebrate the date of birth of one of the Roman gods. Even the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol. It is a nice time of the year where family are brought together and should be a time of Thanksgiving- as the Americans like to call it, but it has nothing to do with Christianity or Judaism.

    • donfad

      May 29, 2011 at 10:46 am

      The Pamphlet Wars 1701-14

      These papers are a sample from the University of Kansas that set the general tone of what was happening in Scotland immediately before the first Jacobite Rebellion. How much of this high-level debate, as opposed to the on-the-ground evangelising of the Franciscans in the Hebrides, went over the heads of the general mass of people in the Hebrides and Highlands is open to conjecture.

      Reply to the Oath of Abjuration (27)

      This pamphlet was from one who had had enough of the extremists and argued against the lack of common-sense, nit-picking, humourlessness and self-righteous work of the Hepburnites. It sought to show that the Oath could be taken in good conscience by men [no mention of women] of conviction.

      Scotland in Hazard of Bondage (47)

      This warned Protestants in Scotland of the hazards to their religion of having a Catholic monarch rule over them.

      A Converse of Presbyterians (87)

      More extreme Presbyterians did little to make accommodation easy. They were almost as opposed to the idea of a sucessor who was Lutheran as they were to a Jacobite.

      The Dangers of Popery (96)

      Highlanders, whether Episcopalian or Catholic, were all identified with Jacobitism. This pamphlet was written in 1714 but it was maybe off the mark as many Highland clans did not join the Jacobite cause.

    • susan McLaughliln

      October 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I only know enough to tell you, definitively, that the practices and beliefs of early followers of Christ, as communicated by The Early Church Fathers in writing, clearly prove that the Holy Catholic Church’s current practices and traditions and beliefs are completely consistent with those of the first and second century followers of Christ. It is a mistake, from the Christian perspective, to reduce the analysis of Christ to the political. As is today, politics is only a piece of the puzzle and not necessarily the best and most accurate piece of the puzzle.

      • Don MacFarlane

        October 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm

        The fact that there are so many Christian churches in existence and that they separated on matters of faith, perhaps politics as well in at least one instance (Anglican), suggests to me that:

        1. All churches are correct in their beliefs and have split over trivia.
        2. All churches are wrong and some are more wrong than others.
        3. A select few (perhaps even just one – take your pick!) are correct in their beliefs and the rest are just plain wrong.

        For my money, it does not matter to which church a person belongs (or even none) as ‘by their fruits shall ye know them’ Matthew 7:16. Enough harm has been done in the cause of religions that few would miss them if they were disinvented in their present forms. They all seem to glorify division, self-righteousness and martyrdom – the bitter strife between Sunni and Shia Muslims being a current case in point.


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