Thursday, July 25, 2019

Who are the Argyll McLaurins?

The McLaurins and McLarens from the Isle of Tiree, Appin and Ardchattan parishes in Argyll are not Balquhidder or Strathearn MacLarens according to the Lyon Court, YDNA and the historical record. 

The Argyll McLaurins did not come from Balquhidder as supporters of Dougal McLaurin of Ardveich, Strathearn in the mid 1400s, who later became Dougal Stewart of Appin I. A story that is found in many Scottish history books, it is the other way around.

Dougal McLaurin was actually raised on the shores of Loch Etive, Argyll just a few miles east of Dunstaffange Castle the residence of his father Sir John Stewart of Lorn, where his ancestors had lived for hundreds of years, since the time of the Dalriadic Cénel Loairn. Loch Etive is also from where in the 1790s several McLaurins left for North Carolina on the ship Mary Ann.

Court of the Lord Lyon in Scotland

John MacLaurin, Lord Dreghorn, undifferenced chiefly arms 1781

BEARS Argent a Sheepherds Crook Sable.
St. Columba's staff, now in the possessesion of Livingstone of Bachuill.
CREST  a Lady from the middle upwards issuing out of the Wreath in her arms a Child both proper and habited Vert
MOTTO Bi'se mac ant' Slaurie (son of the hearth hook)
SUPPORTERS two Britons proper
Matriculated 6th of October 1781."

"In granting him [Major Donald MacLaren] the appropriate arms, with supporters, the Lord Lyon makes a distinction between the MacLarens of Balquhidder and Strathearn, and the MacLarens [MacLaurins] of Tiree, whose arms and descent are, his Lordship holds, those of a different race" Sir Thomas Innes of Learney 1957

Sir Thomas Innes of Learney is the Lord Lyon who awarded Major Donald Maclaren the Chiefship of the Balquhidder and Strathearn MacLarens in 1958. This means the current Chief Donald MacLaren of MacLaren and Auchleskine has over reached his authority by claiming that Argyll McLaurins and McLarens are members his clan, which we are not. According to legal documents that would withstand judicial review the Carolina McLaurins are the same as the Tiree MacLarens described above by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney.

And more recently

"As you descend from the Tiree Maclaurins I can see no reason why you should not use a  crest badge taken from the crest and motto of that Maclaurin recording but, of course, no-one has made up title to these arms last recorded in 1781 and thus this branch has had no recognised chief for nearly 250 years.

Yours sincerely
Elizabeth Roads"

Mrs. Christopher Roads, LVO, FSA.,
Snawdoun Herald,
Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records,
Court of the Lord Lyon,
HM New Register House,
Edinburgh, EH1 3YT

By definition of the Court of the Lord Lyon Clan McLaurin is an armigerous clan. An armigerous clan is a Scottish clan, family or name which is registered with the Court of the Lord Lyon and once had a chief who bore undifferenced arms, but does not have a chief currently recognized as such by Lyon Court.

The chart below is taken from the Scottish DNA Project
webpage, which shows that there are many, many men with a wide variety of surnames that are closely related according to their STR Markers. Since the percentage of illegitimate children in Scotland of centuries past was so high, some scholars estimate as high as 40% were ‘natural’ and not ‘germain’ children. The result is that there are a lot of closely related men with different surnames.

The majority of Argyll McLaurins have a DYS-576 Marker value of 17, the last column on the far right. The majority of Balquhidder and Loch Tay McLarens have a DYS-576 marker value of 18, and a few 19's.

The Historical Record

Three branches using a form of 'son of Laurance' by the mid 1500's

In 1470 the Lordship of Lorne, where the soon to be called 'McLaurin or son of Laurence' ecclesiastical families had lived for centuries was divided by Colin M’Gilleasbaig M’Conochy Campbell, first Earl of Argyll between Dougal M’Iain M’ Robert Stewart of Appin I and Colin M’Conochy Campbell of Glenorchy I, this declaration, divided the family Labhruinn's territory and eliminated many of the MacDougal holdings in Appin and parts of Ardchattan.

In the early and mid 1500's many Argyll McLaurin families were induced to move into Perthshire, with most living on the Tay River from Strathfillan then northeast to Atholl. A few families were placed as tenants in Balquhidder by their Campbell chief the Earl of Argyll.

It was Grey Colin Campbell of Glenurchy who first assigned the Makolcallums’ as part of the kin-group he described as V’Lauranes in a 1559 Bond of Manrent. Because of Glenorchy, we have a fairly complete four generation genealogy of McLaurin men contained in three Clanlawren Bonds of Manrent. The 1559 bond contains the descendants of the first McLaurins to arrive in Balquhidder in 1512 and others that followed all probably closely related.

The first McLaren arrives in Balquhidder in 1512. Malcolm M’Olcallum V’Laurane settled at Invernenty, Balquhidder in 1512 along with four MacIntires who are also from Lorn. It appears that Malcolm Maklawryn and Gilbert Makyntyr are paying a reduced rate for the woodlands which other tenants have the right to use without destruction. A forest conservation program in place by the Campbells. The Clann Dubhghaill Cheire MacGregour’s also lived at Invernenty and nearby Drumlich, the two families would intermarry frequently, but there were problems, the MacGregors attempted to displace Invernenty MacLaurins with violence and perhaps were successful in the 1550s. Resulting in the Coule Keir MacGregors required to sign a Bond of Calpes to Campbell of Glenurchy in 1559 as punishment.

At Stirling, on the first of June in the 512th year [ie 1512]. Innernenty; £6 13s 4d, with the consent of William Stewart who had the same in fee-farm, is now assessed to the underwritten tenants just as is particularized above, that is to say,
To Donald Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,
To John Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,
To Gilbert Makyntyr, £5 for two marklands and a half, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,
To Duncan Makyntyr, 1s for one markland and a 40 shillings land, to be paid in respect thereof annually, with part of the marts,
And to Malcolm Maklawryn, 1s for one markland and a 40 shillings land, With this condition, that the rest of the tenants of the Lord of Buchquhiddir shall have licence to take timber for their necessities, without destruction [of the woodland], And for entry of a new infeudation £40, out of which sum £13 6s 8d is to be paid by the said tenants, and £26 13s 4d by the said William Stewart. (transcribed from Rotuli scaccarii Regum Scotorum Vol. VIII, Pg. 638)

It appears that Malcolm Maklawryn and Gilbert Makyntyr are paying a reduced rate for the woodlands which other tenants have the right to use without destruction. A forest conservation program in place by the Campbells. 

Malcolm’s son Malcolm M’Olcallum elder and grandsons (with the same names of course) are in the 1559 bond, with their great grandsons in a 1606 bond to Campbell of Glenurchy, which gives us where they lived. In the 1559 Bond, there are six other family groups of V’Laurane the MacPatricks, the MacAllens, the MacDougalls, the MacEwens, the MacDuncans and the MacJohns, with John the servant of Cristine the last of name are all the clan MacLaurin. You can track the names, in the three bonds, most names contain three generations such as Nicoll M'Ane VTatrick Moir (Nicol son of John son of big Patrick) in the 1573 ClanLawren Bond to Glenurchy. The Balquhidder MacLaurin history is for another time.

8 November 1559 Clanlaurane homage transferred. This very important legal document pertaining to Clanlaurane and the only one written in the royal burgh of Sterling, on 8 Nov 1559 confirms that several McLaurane families from Kilmartin Parish south of Loch Etive in Argyll, had moved into Perthshire. Two weeks later on 21 November 1559 at Balloch on Loch Tay in Perthshire, Alexander McLaurane and his followers from Kilmartin parish gave their Bond to Colyne Campbell of Glenurchy. This document is one of two, that directly contradicts the legend that McLarens had been in Perthshire since the time of Kenneth McAlpine, it also eliminates any notion of a Strathearn origin for Clanlaurane before the early 1500’s. 

“WE Archibald Erie of Ergyle . . . grantis ws to haif gevin ... To our traist cousyng Colyne Campbell of Glenurquhay and his allis male the manrent homage and sendee quhilk our predecessouris andwe had and hes of the haill kyn and surname of the Clanlaurane and their posterite togidder with the uptaking of thair calpis . . . Prowyding the said Colyne obtene . . . thair consent . . . thairunto . . .

In witnes of the quhilk thyng to thir presentis subscriuit with our hand our propir seill is affixt at the burgh of Sterueling the aucht day of Nouember the yeir of God M v and fifty nyn yeiris befoir thir witnes Johne Campbell off Inuerlevir Johne Corswell persone of Kilmartyne and Andro Quhit. And this we gif for the gud and faythfull sendee that the said Colyne hes done to ws. ARD. ERGYLL.” Black Book of Taymouth 

In the 18th century many of the indigenous Appin McLaurins that had remained in the original homeland, along with related Livingstones, MacKenzies, MacDougalls, MacColls and Stewarts, including a handful of "Culloden Veterans" emigrated to Richmond County, North Carolina in 1790 where they flourished. North and South Carolina where there are more Scots living today than in Scotland itself.

McLaurin, MacLaurin, McLaren, McLerran, McLarran, McLarine, McClaren and more are all found in historical and genealogical records for the same persons surname, especially in the United States. This makes research more difficult, compared to researching names Campbell, McDonald, Stewart, McColl or McCall for example. And like Sherry says, "they are all named Hugh".

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