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Walker


WALKER: The Gaelic form MACNUCATOR derives from "Mac an fhucadair" ('son of the fuller(of the cloth)'), of which the old Scots equivalent is 'Waulker', derived from 'Walker', a Middle English form which comes from the Old English 'wealcere'. The form 'Walker' is also found in England, Ireland and elsewhere, and although amongst the 30 most common names in Scotland, such ancestry should not be assumed without genealogical or geographical evidence. Many of todays Walkers were originally MacNucators, but as the name prospered in many parts of Scotland devoid of Highland association, and given the widespread distribution of the occupation, it seems most unlikely that many were related, other than by continuation of the tradition of that trade within their own family. Such trade names were not patronymics, but were used for the sake of distinction within the particular clan or community in which they dwelt. In 1613-14, persons of this name in Balquidder, Perthshire were fined for reset (sheltering) of members of the proscribed Clan Gregor, and in 1655 Patrick McNowcatter was acting as procurator-fiscal for Argyll. Duncan McNowcater (alias Mcmillan) in Ballyaurgan is recorded as a witness to a Dunmore (Knapdale) sasine in 1666, and it is probable that those MacNucators (Walkers) belonging to Argyll, especailly Knapdale, descend directly from the Clan Macmillan. Several of this race are buried near Dunmore on West Loch Tarbert. Whilst the bulk of MacNucators changed their name to Walker, there was a Dundee family who retained the name Nucator. Some MacNucators followed the Stewarts of Appin in the Rising of 1745, and there is a colony of Walkers around Boisdale amd Daliburgh on South Uist. Helen Walker (d.1791) walked from Scotland to London to petition for the life of a sister who had been condemned to death for infanticide, and her story provided the model for Sir Walter Scott's tale of "Jeanie Deans". Currently there is no clan chief, nor is there an official clan tartan, but those who have Argyll ancestry and consider themselves to be members of the Clan Macmillan, use the emblems of kinship of that race as a mark of respect to the chief. Undoubtedly, many Walkers and MacNucators will be able to trace an ancestry to areas dominated by other clans, and if such association be established it is quite appropriate to adopt their tartans etc.


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