The name Anderson meaning "son of
Andrew" although widespread in Scotland is also found in Europe particularly in
Scandinavia. In the Highlands the form MacAndrew is more commonly found and this family is
thought to be connected with the Clan Anrias, a sept of Clan Ross who were also associated
with the Clan Chattan federation from the beginning of the 15th century. In the Kinrara
manuscript it is claimed that the MacAndrews came to Badenoch from Moidart about 1400. The
first recording of this name appears on the Ragman Rolls of 1296 when David le fiz Andreu,
Burgess of Peebles, and Duncan fiz Andreu of Dumfries were among those to swear allegiance
to Edward I. One famous member of the family was John MacAndrew of Dalnahatnich - Iain Beg
MacAindrea, Little John MacAndrew, a bowman of note and terror of all who fought against
him; the family is, however, more renowned for its members' intellectual achievements.
Aberdeen born Alexander Anderson was acclaimed as a brilliant mathematician in Europe when
he published his works on geometry and algebra in Paris between 1612 and 1619. His cousin
David Anderson of Finshaugh also had a fine mathematical brain and was known locally as
"Davie-do-a'-things"; his best known achievement was to devise a method of
removing a large rock which had been blocking the entrance to Aberdeen harbour. The family
talent was passed on to a grandson, James Gregory, the inventor of the Reflecting
Telescope. A later generation included James Anderson (1739-1808 ); his article on
monsoons, for the first edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" predicted,
with remarkable accuracy, discoveries made by Captain Cook before he had returned from his
expedition to announce them! Prominent Anderson families are Andersons of Dowhill, Wester
Ardbreck in Banffshire and Candacraig in Strathdon. Arms were awarded in the 16th century
to Anderson of that Ilk, but his family has not yet been identified as the leading family
and as a result, the main house is considered to be that of Ardbreck.
ANDERSON or ANDREWSON simply means son of Andrew, and it must be understood that the prevalence of this surname throughout Scotland supposes that Andrew was early adopted as a popular Christian name - probably due to St. Andrew being our patron saint. Consequently, many families of quite differing origins now bear the name. Anderson is also a Lowland rendering of the old Gaelic personal name Gillaindreis (servant/devotee of (St) Andrew), and MacGillandreis is of like origin. The Clan Ross are sometimes called Clann Aindrea (the race of Andrew), and Gillanders, as a surname, is often equated with Ross, being a frequently found amongst the early Ross', whose descent was from Fearchar Mac-an-t-Sagairt, a Hereditary Abbot of Applecross. Early in the 15th century, another family, the Clan Andrish, natives of Moidart (not far from Applecross), reputedly founded by a Donald MacGillandrish, settled at Connage in Petty, and became embodied into the Confederation of Clan Chattan, under its Mackintosh Chief. In course of time their name was anglicized as MacAndrew. Though the Andersons are sometimes given as a sept of Clan Ross the idea that all are of Highland origin and share a common ancestry is quite absurd. NO clan connection should be assumed without additional evidence and such may be acquired through a compilation of one's personal ancestry. Many Andersons who trace an ancestry to Islay were once Macillandrais' who anglicised their name. In its present form the name is common in Aberdeenshire where we find the Andersons of Downhill, and of Candacraig in Strathdon, whereas, in Banffshire, the Andersons of Wester Ardbreck are long established. It should also be remembered that the name is also common outwith our shores, particularly in Scandinavia, and Andersons settled furth of Scotland should look to their ancestry before claiming Scottish descent, far less clan association.
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