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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
IX. The Gaels


of Moncreiffe in 1455. William Moncreiff of that ilk rode with the earl of Atholl on a raid into Northumberland in 1296.

The Clann Donnachaidh or Robertsons (Mac Raibeirt) descend from Conan, bastard only son of Henry, Earl of AthoIl (died in 1210), who granted Conan wide lands in the Rannoch district of western AthoIl. Henry was a descendant of King Duncan I, mentioned above. The Robertsons take their clan-name, which means "children (descendants) of Duncan," from their early fourteenth-century chief Duncan of Atholl. They take the family name of Robertson from their fourth chief, Raibeirt Riabhach, "Grizzled Robert" Duncanson, whose lands were erected into the barony of Struan in 1451 by King James II as a reward for the previous capture of Sir Robert Graham, slayer of James I (see under Graham). The Robertsons were a vast and powerful clan in Rannoch, and very important in the history of the district. The Serpent and Dove supporters on the arms of their chief, Straun Robertson, allude to their belonging to the Kindred of St. Columba, whose name means "dove" of the church (there is an old proverb found on the privy seal of King Alexander III, a cousin of the line of Conan, which translates "be as wise as the serpent and gentle as the dove").

The Clan MacDuff descends from Gillemichael mac Duff, Earl of Fife in about 1133. But the significance of the name Duff (Dubh) goes back to the line of Duff, King of Albany in 967, whose descendants’ patrimony was in Fife (the "kingdom" of Fife). His line, the Clan Duff, was collateral with the line of King Duff’s brother, King Kenneth II, and the two lines alternated the High-Kingship of Albany until 1034, as both lines had their ultimate origin in sons of King Malcolm I of the line of the Cineal Gabhran who had inherited the Picto-Gaelic crown (hence their traditional descent, in the female line, from Conall Cearnach, traditional ancestor of the Cruithne).

Both of these lines ended in heiresses about the year 1034: The Line of Kenneth II ending in Bethoc, who married Crinan, hereditary Abbot of Dunkeld, of the Kindred of St. Columba, mentioned above; and the Line of Duff ending in Gruoch, who married Gillacomgan, Mormaer (King) of Moray, of the line of the Cineal Loam. Their son, Lulach, was thus Chief of Clan Duff (in those presurname times of Picto-Gaelic succession) and King of Moray, and was as well a rival King of Albany. His daughter and heiress, the Princess of Moray and heiress of Clann Duff appears to have "married" Eth (Aedh, later Aodh, Gaelic form of Aethelred), Last Abbot of Dunkeld, who himself was the eldest of the four royal sons of Malcolm III (whose father was Duncan I, mentioned above, heir of the Royal line collateral to the Clan Duff) by his second wife, St. Margaret, a daughter of the Saxon King of England (Duncan II, son of Malcolm III by an earlier marriage, was the ancestor of the famous "MacWilliam" claimants).

Eth seems to have been debarred from the throne, which could have been because of a blemish (a taboo) or perhaps because he was already an Abbot.


Got this note in from F. J. Taylor ...

a h-Alasdair, a charaidh choir,

Cia mar tha sibh? Tha suil agam sin gum bheil sibh slan an drasda.

Tha do Aite-"Web" math gu leoir, ach tha aon no da beg fabhdan ann.

Ma bitheadh sibh gun an Ghaidhlig, agus air son tha mo Ghaidhlig as cleactadh, bithidh mi a'scriobhadh anns a' Bheurla cruaidh anis.

I love your Scottish sites and frequently refer interested folk to them. I have found most of your information to be excellent, but there are a few minor errata - a fault we all can claim from time to time - I myself remember instances where what I had thought was a perfect paper or treatise turned out to have errors major and/or minor! So in the spirit not of criticism, but of praise for a good product and the wish to help make it better, I write in friendship regarding one of your pages.

Re: the passage quoted below - Aodh is not the Gaelic for Aethelred, which is Saxon, and means "good counsel." For an interesting treatise on that name, see:

http://www.nipissingu.ca/department/history/muhlberger/2425/l-14me.htm

Aodh means Fire, from the old Irish name Aed - i.e.; the Firey One.

His daughter and heiress, the Princess of Moray and heiress of Clann Duff appears to have "married" Eth (Aedh, later Aodh, Gaelic form of Aethelred), Last Abbot of Dunkeld, who himself was the eldest of the four royal sons of Malcolm III (whose father was Duncan I, mentioned above, heir of the Royal line collateral to the Clan Duff) by his second wife, St. Margaret, a daughter of the Saxon King of England (Duncan II, son of Malcolm III by an earlier marriage, was the ancestor of the famous "MacWilliam" claimants).
I have edited a version of the origin for your interest from a fairly good BBC article (below), correcting or adding where needed.

le gach durachd math,

Seamus mac an tailleur

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/irish/blas/education/beginnersblas/sloinnteaodh.shtml

It is the origin of many Gaelic surnames and especially many which are common in Ulster and Scotland.

The main reason for the differences in the English forms is the fact that the name Aodh can be put into the genitive in one of two different ways after mac – it can be treated as a third declension noun and have an –a added to the end, or it can be slenderised like a first declension noun. This, happening after mac to denote son of, affects significantly the pronunciation of the word, and gives us either mac aodha, or mac aoidh.

In its various forms and pronunciations, therefore, this simple combination of mac and the name aodh is responsible for Mac (or Mc) Hugh, Kay, Key, Kee, Coy, etc. It has also been translated as Hughes, Eason and Hewson.

It is most common in Ulster, and Scotland, and it is in Ulster that another dialect change has affected the pronunciation and the English form of the name. Sometimes, before vowels and some consonants, mac changes to mag in Gaelic, the ‘c’ sound at the end changing to a ‘g’ and this change has led to the anglicised surname magee. It can be said, therefore, that McKee and Magee/McGee are both the same name, both son of Hugh, but with a slight pronunciation difference.

There are three other interesting surnames which have their origin also in the personal name Aodh. Firstly, the adjective ‘buí’, meaning yellow or sallow was added to the name, giving the surname mac Aodha bhuí, anglicised McEvoy. The next is the addition of the diminutive –án to the name, to form Aodhán, which is anglicised Aidan or (incorrectly) Ian, meaning ‘little hugh’ and is the origin of the surnames Keane and McKeane, although these are more common in Munster and Connacht than in Ulster. Thirdly, the addition of another diminutive form, to make Aodhagán, leads to the surname mac Aodhagáin, anglicised Egan, Keegan and Mc Keegan.

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