In this series of articles, I’ll share what I have uncovered so far about my Scottish, Irish, and Polish lineages and how they all connect. Check out Immigration to America—Lowell, Massachusetts for the previously posted Ancestral Stories.
I took this photograph when my sister and I took a tour through Ireland and Scotland in 2015. According to my cousin who has researched our Scottish Highlander genealogy, this is our story. We are descendants of some of the clans that fought in this battle. I carry within my Scottish Highlander genetics at least four different clan names and all four participated in this battle. Three of the clans were loyal Jacobites and one clan fought against the Jacobites.
Culloden is the site of the bloody last battle of the 1745 Jacobite Rising in the Highlands of Scotland near Inverness. The Battle of Culloden, April 16th 1746, decided the fate of the Jacobite Rising. The Jacobites sought to restore the Stuart monarchy to the throne.
Within an hour of fighting, the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie had been slaughtered by government troops led by the Duke of Cumberland, who later became known as the “Butcher.” Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, was the son of George III of the Hanover dynasty, which ruled England. There was no mercy for the wounded soldiers, many were slaughtered where they had fallen. Those that escaped were hunted down and executed. It’s written that 1,500 fallen Jacobite soldiers are buried on these grounds.
The Battle of Culloden, a war that divided families and set clans against clans, was Britain’s last civil war and inaugurated the systematic destruction of the clans via the Clearances. The Highland Clearances were the forced eviction of the Clans and western islands to allow for the introduction of sheep pastoralism. The Clearances are what brought many of my Highland ancestors to Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada.
My Scottish Highland Ancestors
The picture above is a Highlander view of my ancestry wall. This image is a collection of photographs, obituaries, and personal notes of what remains of my Highland Ancestors. The woman in the round picture next to the Mother’s Day card is my maternal grandmother’s mother. She was born in Canada, and eventually, she left with her sisters to find work in the cloth-mills in Lowell, MA.
I’ve traced my maternal lineage back five-generations to a woman by the name of Janet Campbell. She was born on PEI and married Donald McEachern, who was also born on PEI. Donald’s grandfather immigrated to PEI from Tobermory, a port on the Island of Mull, Scotland.
One of my goals in 2020 is to find Janet’s birth certificate so I can trace her genealogy. It’s a pretty good guess I’ll be able to trace her roots to Scottish Highlanders.
My Scottish Highlander Surnames
- Campbell Clan fought the Jacobites in the Battle of Culloden and provided militia to the government forces.
- Fraser Clan were loyal Jacobites and fought in the Battle of Culloden.
- McEachern Clan, according to my cousin were a branch (sept) of the MacDonalds of Clanranald who lived in the Moidart area of Inverness County on the western part of Highlands. They were loyal Jacobites, who fought in the Battle of Culloden.
- McKinnon Clan were loyal Jacobites who fought in the Battle of Culloden.
Here are some of the genetic mind-patterns I’ve identified in my Scottish Highlander Ancestors.
- Clan Organization & Structure
- War & Warriors
- According to my cousin, “The Highlanders were perhaps the best fighting men in the world taken as individuals. Virtually every adult male Highlander was a warrior.”
- Religious Conflict (Catholics vs. Protestants)
- Economic Immigration & Relocation via Highland Clearances
- Endings & New Beginnings
As I think about these Highlanders, I can’t help but wonder…
- What they experienced and how they felt as they watched the systematic destruction of their clans, their families, their homes, and their way of life.
- Why are families broken up and moved all over the planet like pawns on a chessboard? And why is it still happening today?
- Who benefits when families are moved, names are changed, customs are forgotten, and languages are lost?
- Do you think I might have a fair amount of anger in my DNA? What else do you think I might have in my DNA?
What about your DNA? What do you know and or suspect is embedded within it?
I’ll close this article with a picture I took of “The Glen.” This is an ancient Highland area with stories associated with Clan MacDonald. That is before the Battle of Culloden and the subsequent Highland Clearances, which saw this area replaced with sheep and deer. I read that there are more descendants from the Highlanders living outside of Scotland than there are inside of Scotland.
As always, I would be interested in your thoughts and comments.