Monday, 10 August 2009

Gathering and Fife

For the last few weeks I have taken a 'blog holiday' for a number of reasons. First, I needed a holiday! Second, I got somewhat b(l)ogged-down in my consideration of the clan in Maxwellswalls - though I hope to return to that soon. Third, Ancestry Ireland has a worthwhile offer on to members of the Ulster Historical Foundation which has enabled me to obtain the details of a lot of nineteenth and early twentieth century marriages (frustratingly with no mothers names) which I have been trying to analyse. And last but not least I had booked to go to the Scottish Homecoming/Clan Gathering event in Edinburgh followed by a few days in the Kingdom of Fife, both of which had Family History spinoffs.

There were well over a hundred clan tents in Holyrood Park for The Gathering. McIlhagga was not one of them! I think the demand would have been too slight. However my sister and I did link on to one of them, for our grandfather William McIlhagga married a Margaret McLean. As you can imagine I have done quite a bit of research into Margaret's family. We may only be one quarter Highland Scottish, but that quarter is very important - thank you William for marrying a highlander - and as we learned from the Maclean tent, the Clan Association is open to those whose grandparents or even great-grandparents were part of that clan.

The McIlhagga Blog is not the place to go into great detail about this research (it has had its cul-de-sacs and its brick walls!) but to cut a long story short, for many years I believed that Margaret, who was born in Liverpool, England, the eldest daughter of Donald McLean a seafarer, came from an Isle of Mull family. The family did indeed farm just south of Tobermory for a full generation in the nineteenth century. However a visit two years ago to both Mull and to its neighbouring island of Coll proved beyond doubt that for many generations the family had been part of the Macleans of Coll. Partly due to the information contained in Nicholas Maclean-Bristol's book From Clan to Regiment, Six Hundred Years in the Hebrides, 1400-2000, I can now trace my McLean/Maclean line back to Allan, the second son of the Fifth Laird of Coll in the late 16th Century, a line known as The Macleans of Auchnasaul, which paradoxically was a settlement on the Isle of Mull just south of Dervaig, in an area owned by the Laird of Coll.

Some superb genealogical work has been done on the Maclean Clan which has several major lines, Coll being one of them. There is good historical record going back to Lachlan, the First Laird of Coll in the early 15th Century and behind that to the Scottish Royal Houses, hence part of my reason to visit Fife to see the tomb of Robert the Bruce in Dunfermline Abbey, which is also the burial place of Queen Margaret of Scotland. I stayed in the beautiful town of Falkland which has one of the Scottish Royal Palaces, originally a Hunting Lodge built for James V and used by his daughter Mary Queen of Scots. There are very fine portraits of both these monarchs in Falkland Palace - well worth a visit.

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