Tuesday, November 13, 2007

PERTHSHIRE. Atholl Highlanders, Atholl, Blair Castle, McConaghy coat of arms

 MacConaghie, McConaghy
Two Roots:
Robertson: Duncan, MacDhonnchaidh, MacConachie, McConaghy, M'Connachie
Campbell of Inverawe

We sleuth on.

Blair Castle, Atholl, home of Atholl Highlanders, the Duncan Connection,  Perthshire, Scotland

Family history is not an obsession here, but an interest.  We are looking for roots of McConaghy, that being one of the three heritage clusters we enjoy, ending up in Ireland: 1.  this McConaghy heritage, Donegal-Ulster;  2. a Norse Scariff-Scharfe heritage, Kilkenny and Clare; and  3. Normans, Trillick, Guy de Brien, William Brien, a Brien cluster.

All may well be debunked as we go. For anybody with an interest in names, start at a simple one, http://www.houseofnames.com/, but check the results elsewhere as well. McConaghy - Scotland's west coast, and the Hebrides. Find what you want to find, and believe it, or not. MacConachies leaving Scotland and becoming McConaghys in Ireland, not necessarily part of the Plantation at all, and in about 1650, says our Venerable Family Archivist, Violet. We trust her completely. You may want to document on your own, if you do not know Violet.


1.  The name may be spelled various ways - including "McConaghey"; and McConnaghy, early Donegal land records.

  In our family, the "e" was added by Maurice McConaghey to the McConaghy that his brother used.  Both appear in the histories, both were in the military in World War I.  We finally found Lt. Maurice McConaghey in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, buried from WWI at Arras, France, see France Road Ways, Somme WWI Royal Scots Fusiliers.  The search for Maurice was blocked for a time until we learned of the different spelling he creatively applied.

The McConaghy Clan. Who?  Not in the limelight, but durable.

2.  Dalriadan roots.  The name goes back in the mists to the time of the ancient kings of Ireland, to that group -- Dalriadans -- who were pushed to the Antrim area and from there, as Scotties, settled Scotland, see this account glorifying one particular family but touching on the overall history, at a MacKay site, Dalriada, at http://www.magma.ca/~mmackay/dalriada.html

Blair Castle, Atholl, home of Atholl Highlanders, Scotland

59BC - 409 AD.  Two Celtic (are we sure these were Celts??) groups occupied Scotland, then Caledonia, says the Magma site.  The Picts and the Bretons. Rome never conquered them, never made that area part of the Empire. After Rome fell, other invaders entered Caledonia:  the Scots, from the area known as Dalriada (Antrim-ish), Ireland, who appear to have gone to Kintyre and Argyll; and Angles, from Germany. 
Names of the ancient Dalriadan kings are listed in sources like the Book of Ballymote, and the Pedigree of the Scottish Kings, and Annals of the Four Masters, with reliability questionable after time and tweakings, but a start.  See the Magma site. In time, the Scots kingdom in Ireland surpassed in size and influence the Irish Scots, and the Scots -- ah, the name appears about 500 -- set up firmly at Argyll, ancient capital of Dunadd. Hill Fort at Dunadd.  See photo at http://www.clan-duncan.co.uk/dalriada.html.  Duncan. Clan Donnachaidh. Are we right so far?
So this is an ancient clan - among the Dalriadan clans, even if not kings (rats), those who were pushed to the northeast rim of Ireland under pressure from other invaders. McConaghy is known also as Clan Donnachaidh, from Gaelic "Donnachadh Reamhar", or - here is a good one, Duncan the Stout. How about King Duncan in Macbeth? 11th Century.  See http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/Scotland-History/DuncanandMacbeth.htm

3.  An ancient king of Dalriada in Scotland was also one Dunchad mac Conaing -- not a far cry from McConaghy there. Must be so. And soon the kingdom of the Dalriada extended to Atholl. See http://www.clan-duncan.co.uk/dalriada.html
Sometime, all these to be looked up for black sheep.

4.  Duncan the Stout was one of the Celtic Earls of Atholl, and the top photo is Blair Castle in Atholl, home of the Atholl Highlanders, and near Queen Victoria's favorite little town, Pitlochry, see http://www.scotland-calling.com/forts/blair. Begun in 1269, its appearance now is largely from 18th century remodelings.
Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite forces attacked here 1745-`746.  Mary Queen of Scots in 1564, and Queen Victoria who bestowed on them formal regimental colors, to that they are the only private army in Europe. Mostly bodyguards now. Grounds are some 145,000 acres. The Duke of Atholl - Dukes were second only to the King.
5.  Atholl Highlanders

1777-1783- During this period, the Atholl Highlanders, the 77th Highlanders, or the 77th Regiment of Foot, were established, then sent to Ireland, then involved in a mutiny against going to the Indies, then disbanded, and reorganized later. See http://www.coghlan.co.uk/athole.htm. Here is the military tartan, part of the Murray, Murray of Atholl - http://www.regiments.org/tradition/tartans/murray-a.htm

6. Pomp and Circumstance

1839-Present - Queen Victoria's award of Regimental Colors.  See them and listen at http://www.usahpd.com/tunes.htm. Do an images search for them On Parade yet.

7.  Modern

World War I: The Atholl Highlanders fought in South Africa, then to France at Delville Wood, and at the Somme, Ypres, Arras, in particular, see http://www.jocks.co.za/history.htm. For an excellent photgraph and history book on the Somme, see "The Somme, Then and Now - A Visual History<" by Duncan Youel and David Edgell, Dorling Kindersley 2006. This is a commemorative volume, with histories of regiments that fought there from different parts of the world.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Place names, language

Any map in the US may well show a place name that derives from Scotland, or another country where the immigrants from it settled and wanted to feel at home. Scotland, Connecticut. Paris, Maine. Berlin, Connecticut. Toledo, Ohio, etc. Around Philadelphia, for Welsh derivations, see Bryn Mawr.

For Scotland, see //www.st-andrews.ac.uk/institutes/sassi/spns/index.

Go to the home page at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/freefun/didyouknow/placenames/.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bannockburn - Robert the Bruce; Templars?

This site reports that there have been lasting tales of Templars assisting Robert the Bruce here at Bannockburn. See The History of Central Europe, at //mysite.du.edu/~etuttle/misc/europe.htm#Mong. Scroll down to the Crusades section, and also read there the saga of Robert the Bruce's heart. For Bannockburn and the great victory of the Scots over the English, even though the struggle would continue, see //www.braveheart.co.uk/macbrave/history/bruce/bannock.htm. Bannockburn is near Stirling Castle, see post.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Inverness - not far from Culloden

This is the place where the World Highland Games returned to Scotland in 2007 after 12 years, says the New York Times July 24, 2007, in the "outdoors" section. The games consist of throwing stones, huge hammers and weights, and something called a caber. A caber is a pole tossed end over end. Twenty feet long, 123 pounds, says the article (by Joshua Robinson). Americans increasingly are joining in.

The article provides a history - games dating from the 11th Century, where bystanders to a long race where the king was searching for the fastest man, amused themselves with the various tossings. From there the sport moved to clan chieftans and royalty watching at the gatherings.

And websites. See www.highlandgames.net. And the brouhaha at Glasgow, www.glasgowhighlandgames.com. For your own trip, here is a schedule Scotland-wide: /www.albagames.co.uk/Highland_games2000.htm

Monday, January 08, 2007

Battle of Culloden; and Bonnie Prince Charlie

Culloden - the place of the battle that Bonnie Prince Charlie, a champion of the Jacobite Cause, lost to some 9000 English troops, led by the Duke of Cumberland. 1746.

The Jacobite rebels were crushed by King George II's troops.

This was the last battle fought on British soil, and dashing Scotland's hopes of independence. See http://www.electricscotland.com/history/culloden/index. It is also known as "Bloody Culloden." See www.highlanderweb.co.uk/bloody/culloden/home. From here, the Bonnie Prince fled to Skye.

Culloden Battlefield, Scotland

The battlefield is comprised of pathways and stone markers. Here is where Clan Campbell fought.

There is a fine, winding, narrow, woodsy memorial pathway through the battlefield, with worn headstone identifications where the clans had fought. We spent a fine morning looking up old family names. Relatives or not, the hunt was on for every McClure or McConaghey, Mac or Mc, and all the related clan septs, including (f0r us, we think) Campbell, MacLeod, Black, MacGregor. Most Scots have the Mac spelling, but some have the Mc, and the earliest Irish were known as "Scotties," so the names are back and forth. Read about "Remnants of the Roman Empire in Britain," at http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch26. - scroll down to the section entitled, "Independence and a Celtic Revival in Britain." That addresses the early Scotties.

A site to track the clan septs, or subdivisions -  see http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/septs.

By way of update to 2013 now, Scottish Life magazine Spring 2013 reports that there will soon be a new Culloden Battlefield Trail, 5 miles long, a circle network of paths.  It will be easier to range around Balloch and Culloden Woods to the moor where 1500-2000 clansmen were killed.

Add stations telling history and tales, along with poetry by one Aonghas MacNeacail, from Skye.