Just had a long comment from Graham Evan MacDonell, Principal Researcher at The Great Glen Genealogical Research Centre. It was in response to my MacDonnell of Keppoch Ancestors – Historical Revisionism Revisited post, and he rightly points out that it doesn’t matter whether our ancestors were titled or not, or owned land, etc. Can’t really argue with that but the sad truth is that it’s much easier to trace ones family history if they were titled and/or owned land.
If I take my own direct family I’ve only managed to go back to my great great great grandfather George Goldsmith Kirby, and possibly his mother and father with some help from a genealogist who was commissioned to go back further, but now seems to have disappeared without completing his brief. I doubt I would have been able to go much further with my McDonnells ancestors if they weren’t considered to be of Keppoch by some, or at least of that ilk.
So in the great scheme of things it matters not a jot whether my ancestors were Keppoch Chiefs or not, as I’m only distantly related and have no claim on their lands and titles. Certainly, some of my Keppoch ancestors such as Alexander of Culloden were considered to be chiefs at the time. What Graham’s comment doesn’t help me with is whether my ancestors Angus ‘ban’ Macdonell of Inch and my great great great grandfather Angus MacDonnell were considered to be Keppoch Chiefs by their clan, and if not, then what was their status? The reason I ask is that there are some sources that claim they were Keppoch Chiefs and other which say they weren’t, and can’t say I’ve really understood how the decisions were made and who made them at the time.
Maybe Graham’s “For Aught Yet Seen” book will help clarify things when it hits the shelf, and I’m looking forward to reading it, although not sure his comments about middle aged Yanks, Canucks, Aussies and Kiwis will win friend and readers in those circles ;-)