1. With reference to contributions by King Malcolm III Canmore (r.1057-1093) towards strengthening the clan system, Frank Adam (op. cit. p 16) states, "The Chronicles of Scotland relate that 'He (Malcolm) was a religious and valiant king; he rewarded his nobles with great lands and offices, and commanded that the lands and offices should be called after their names.' It is not to be supposed that he did this specifically, but he did bring about a state of progress wherein the chiefs of tribes came to be named from, or gave names to their duthus, and began to use such names."

I have searched with some difficulty to come up with another Highland Clan that has been named after its territory instead of its chief or its duthus. While doing so, however, I came across a most interesting explanation for the name of the Black Isle, which is neither black nor an isle. "T'Eilean Dhubthaich", meaning St. Duthus' Isle, somehow became recorded as "T'Eileen Dubh", the Black Isle. Further substantiation of this possibility lies in the fact that pilgrims, including King James IV, used to cross the Black Isle on their way to St. Duthus' Shrine in Tain. Since this shrine was the duthus of Clan Ross and held the relics of their revered saint, is it not unusual that no-one bears the name of "Duthus" according to the edict of King Malcolm III? Isn't it beyond comparison that the name of "Ross" pays homage to the land of its origin? [In my humble opinion, this is quite unique in all of the annals of Scottish History!]

2. John Scott Keltie (1840 - 1927) was a Scottish geographer. He was an editor of The Statesman's Yearbook (1883 - 1926), and author of A History of the Scottish Highlands and Clans, 1874.

3. Smibert, of the mid 19th century, is among a handful of Scots, including Logan before him and the Smiths around the same period, who may be considered experts when it comes to tartans and plaids. Nobody will dispute the fact that Smibert became adept at counting the particular arrangements of stripes and bars and threads. Furthermore, he was probably inspired by the sudden glorification and fictionalization of so-called "Highland traditions, culture, dress, etiquette, weaponry, etc." Sir Walter Scott had been very popular and the "gentry" in particular could make a writer or a Scottish "expert" very rich (if he played his cards correctly).

4. Allow me to share with all genealogists and Clan History enthusiasts, a note of frustration from one Campbell historian who suddenly discovered the obvious. The reference is from the Spring, 1992 Clan Campbell Society Journal, North America, on page 22.

NAMES ASSOCIATED WITH CLAN CAMPBELL - "The list of 'septs' put out up to now were, in most cases it now appears, not originally compiled by any clan Chief or historian but by the manufacturers of tartan for the purpose of linking as many people to known tartans as possible so as to increase trade.

Until recently, books on Clans and tartans containing 'Sept Lists' were sometimes considered to be largely tourist fare, and consequently, their purported information was put out most often without any input from the clans involved. This is one reason why most show the wrong Campbell tartan and why the facts behind the 'Sept Lists' are only now being investigated by clan historians and genealogists.

The result is that very little serious research has been done into the question of what came to be 'Sept Names'. One instance of a connection of a name to a clan cannot be used to argue that all of that name belong to that clan."

I repeat the following caveat ...

As though it wasn't enough that these purveyors of invented plaids and counters of fictitious setts profited from the ignorance of fellow Scots while drumming up business to rid themselves of surplus stock, they fancied themselves as historians ... and were often quoted as experts by their lazy contemporaries (in the wake of Sir Walter Scott). Sad to say, some of those faulty histories of clans are currently repeated by some who have been duped into believing that they are true. Let the reader be wary.

The fact is that, for most Highland Clans, their great history in Scotland ended with Culloden and the Clearances.

J. Douglas Ross ;~}


© J. Douglas Ross Email: <jdr(at)greatclanross(dot)org>