Scotland a Nation by Alice Claire MacDonell

It’s been a while since I last posted on here, but I just wanted to share a short film made by Janet Baker about my 3x great aunt Alice Claire Macdonell (of Keppoch). She was a poet, Bardess to the Clan MacDonald Society, self-proclaimed Chiefteness of the Keppoch clan and contributor to the Celtic revival movement. Her poem Scotland at Nation was a plea for Home Rule for Scotland and the eliminating of the constant use if the word ‘English’ for ‘British’ which she felt threatened and entirely swamped the Scots existence as a nation. This formed part of her involvement in a movement seeking historic truth in the teaching of Scottish history in Scottish schools.

I am hugely grateful to Janet for putting this short film together. Alice is buried in Hove North Cemetry not far from where I now live in grave where the headstone has no epitaph. From what I understood she would have liked to have been buried in the ancestral graveyard at Cille Choreil, where I think her mother and possibly her father are both butired. Not sure that would be possible now and if I was more flush I would try and get an inscription for her headstone, but maybe that’s a fund that could be put together with help from Keppoch and other branches of Clan Donald. In the meantime, I have included her poem Scotland at Nation below:

Continue reading “Scotland a Nation by Alice Claire MacDonell”

Generation 5: Paternal 3x  Gt. Grandparents…

In theory, there should be 32 ancestors in this generation, but two ancestors (Fitzherbert and Mary Wright) in the last generation were siblings so shared the same parents. And we can’t confirm the natural father of our great grandmother Annie Birtwistle (née Hartley), so that branch is currently a dead end. That means we not only have a duplicate pair of ancestors at this generation, but also a missing pair.  And so there are actually only 28 possible ancestors we can currently trace in this generation.

Continue reading “Generation 5: Paternal 3x  Gt. Grandparents…”

Another MacNab (of Innishchewan) generation?

My McNab Ancestors Update post has create a lot of discussion. It mentions a letter written to the Clan Macnab Society in 1909 by Archibald Hearne McNabin in which he claims that the title of Clan Chief and being a descendant of John MacNab, of Shenaghart in Kintyre, and later of Sherrabeg in Badenoch, who is my 4 x great grandfather. The letter explains how John was the oldest son of Duncan, who was the oldest son of Alexander McNab, who commanded the clan through the Jacobite Rebellion. It also claims that heads of the other branches served under him, because the chief was in the Royalist (anti-Jacobite) army. Whether Alexander is the same MacNab that accompanied my ancestor Angus Ban Macdonell of Inch with the Bonny Prince during his wanderings after Culloden is not clear.

It appears that there are new papers from a reliable source that show that my 4 x great grandfather John MacNab, of Shenaghart, etc, was born in Callander 25 Jun 1765. There’s a John Macnab on shown as being baptized in Callander Jun 27, 1765, son of Duncan McNab and Christian Wright. So I’m guessing this is the same John son of Duncan.

Records also show that Duncan & Christian were married in Callander April 27, 1752; he of Callander parish; she of Aberfoyle:

Four children have been found as follows:

  • Mary baptized Feb 23, 1753
  • Margaret baptized Sep 3, 1754
  • Alexander baptized Oct 13, 1755
  • Margaret baptized Nov 24, 1756

These MacNabs are apparently a cadet branch of the MacNabs of Innishchewan. It’s not clear why they were in Callender, although they may have moved a bit after Culloden. It’s possible that Alexander being the name of the first born son confirms that Duncan’s father was Alexander – and if they did follow the naming tradition, then Duncan’s mother was likely Margaret. In any event, it’s another one tiny step closer to solving the MacNabs of Innishchewan mystery.

Garion owned by Ramsays


Susan Griffiths is one of my Ramsay cousins. We share common Ramsay and Hamilton ancestors. Basically, William Ramsay of Barnton the Edinburgh Banker is my ancestor. Peter Ramsay the Inn Keeper and Stabler is Susan’s ancestor. I think they are the sons of George Ramsay, Merchant and Stabler in Edinburgh who married Agnes Thom, but there is a family tree that shows that Peter and William were the sons of a Peter Ramsay (see more here). Peter the stabler was William the banker’s older brother and I’m not sure, but I think he also ran the family coaching business.

William the banker’s son George married the Hon. Jean Hamilton. Peter the stabler’s son William married Jean’s sister Bethia. They were the daughter’s of Robert Hamilton6th of Wishaw and Susan Balfour. I’m descended from George and Jean, and Susan is descended from William and Bethia along with many of her cousins that follow this blog. Continue reading “Garion owned by Ramsays”

Portrait of Jean McNab with her grandson Duncan Campbell

Portrait of Jean McNab with her grandson Duncan Campbell

Neil Campbell has been in touch. He is the direct descendant of Jean McNab (abt. 1684-1760) and Patrick Ban Campbell, and kindly sent through this portrait of Jean holding her infant grandson Duncan Campbell. Duncan had no children so Neil is descend from his eldest brother, Sir James Campbell 2nd of Inverneill. Jean McNab was the daughter of Alexander MacNab, 9th Laird, 13th Chief and Elizabeth Menzies. It’s not quite clear as yet how Jean might be related to my ancestor John MacNab (1765-1847/8) of Shenaghart in Kintyre, and Sherrobeg in Badendoch, a cadet of the family of Innisewen. But I’ve been in discussion with Lorraine Smith in Canada about a number of possible theories (see my McNab Ancestors Update post).

Continue reading “Portrait of Jean McNab with her grandson Duncan Campbell”

McNab Ancestors Update

Loraine Smith from Canada has been in touch and reminded me why I started this blog. It looks like she’s solved the mystery about my McNab ancestors. My great great great grandmother was Christina McNab. She was the only daughter of John MacNab of Shenaghart in Kintyre, and Sherrobeg in Badendoch (see more here).

Turns out that Loraine’s great-great-granny’s brother, Dr. Robert McNab, started a scrapbook on clan matters (he was also, incidentally, one of 3 named by William Anderson in The Scottish Nation c. 1862 as next heirs to the Chiefship). Within that scrapbook is a copy of the letter written to the Clan Macnab Society in 1909 by Archibald Hearne McNab. AH McNab claimed the title of Clan Chief; and he was a descendant of my great great great great grandfather John McNab of Sherrabeg, etc. Here is what AH McNab has to say about his ancestry:  Continue reading “McNab Ancestors Update”

The Trotters of Mortonhall

Mortonhall near Edinburgh

While I try and come to terms with my ancestors’ role in slavery in the West Indies my cousin Hamish Maclaren has added some new branches to the collective family tree of Maclarens, Birtwistles and Many Other Families that he’s been building at Rootsweb. He’s managed to help me go back a few more generations with the genealogical dead end I’d mentioned in my earlier posts, this includes John Trotter, 1st of Morton Hall going back to Thomas Trotter, of Catchelraw: Continue reading “The Trotters of Mortonhall”

The digital portrait collection

The Wedding of Giles Simon Kirby and Angela Mary Julie Birtwistle 1952

This post is a version of my Genealogical dead ends revisted post, but it’s about the photograps and illustrations I’ve found of my ancestors rather than just their names. I’ll do one about places sometime, and also about biographies, etc. I have set up a photostream on FlickR so you can see all the images in a slideshow, and I will link to the individual photos from the names of ancestors I have identified below.  Continue reading “The digital portrait collection”

Aonghnas Mac Dhomhnuill – sketch

Angus Macdonell 20th Chief of Keppoch
Angus Macdonell, xxi of Keppoch?

I’ve been reading the Macdonald Bards from Medieval Times by Keith Norman Macdonald, M.D. It was published in 1900 from papers by Dr Macdonald that had originally appeared in The Oban Times. It includes the following ‘sketch’ about my great great great grandfather Angus MacDonell, where he is referred to as “xxii of Keppoch” and having represented “the chieftainship from 1831 until the time of his death”: Continue reading “Aonghnas Mac Dhomhnuill – sketch”

Mansfield, Ramsay and related banking families

Portrait of William Ramsay of Barnton (1732-1805) by Sir Henry Raeburn

I’ve been avoiding writing up this chapter of my Scottish ancestors from Edinburgh for a few years now because it involves some transcription from one of the only books/journals I’ve bought for this project: ‘From James Mansfield to Ramsays, Bonar & Company: some notes on the story of a private bank‘, by Zella Ashford, in ‘Book of the Old Edinburgh Club‘, vol 6 (2005). Continue reading “Mansfield, Ramsay and related banking families”