My Research  

More Traditions

By this time I was well into my research and I had started my tree on This started to have results and relatives started coming out of the woodwork all over the world and along with them came more family traditions. In addition, I and the rest of the family started exchanging memories of the family and remembering things we were told so I expanded the list.

Click on the links at the end of each item to see how I explored the tradition.
  1. An ancestor, John Rankine was the John Rankine of Adamhill, friend of Rabbie Burns and to whom Burns dedicated 4 poems. Annie, John's daughter was supposedly the subject of Burns poem, The Rigs O' Barley. - Disproved
  2. A Lawson ancestor designed and built the Stained Glass Windows in St. Giles Cathedral. - Ongoing
  3. Great Grandfather Adam was married twice, the first time to a Danish widow with a son, Charles, who admired his stepfather and took his name. - Correct - sort of
  4. Granny Scott was of Irish stock. - Disproved
  5. Granny Scott represented Scotland playing Bridge. - Disproved
  6. Adam was a wine merchant in Dumfries.....His wife's sister married Sir Robert Peel who instigated The Peelers, the first policemen in London. - Disproved
  7. We are related to Eugenie, wife of Bonaparte III via Sarah McKenzie Rankine's second marriage which was to an Alexander Kirkpatrick. - Disproved
  8. On the Scott side there was a missionary, somewhere. - Proved
  9. Back in Jacobite days one branch of the family changed their name from Stuart to Murray. Explained
  10. We are related to the Dukes of Atholl via the Murrays . Hmmmm. Well ???
  11. We are descended from the McRinkines who were pipers to the McLeans of Duart and came from Coll. - Ongoing
So let's have a look at some of them.
4 & 5. Grandmother Julia Tyrell Mackay Scott.
    When I threw a temper tantrum as a boy, mother always used to say that it was Mackay Irish temper coming out. So was she of Irish stock, not as far as I can tell. Having traced the Mackay back to Caithness c 1770 and the Tyrrells back to London c 1775 along with the cadet branches, I can find no Irish connection.
    A search of the WWW and a quick email brought the following answer from the Secretary of the Scottish Bridge Union
    2 Traditions blown away!!!
    Before we leave Julia there are a couple of other things I remember about her.
      Mother inferred that Granny was a social climber
        When I first looked at her family, I had a good laugh remembering this when I found her father was a boot maker. The Scotts' Advertising business had been around since 1819 and was obviously very successful, so she would have been mortified if this became known.
That's what you call jumping to conclusions!
Further investigation shows that she may have been very socially aware, but her family must have had a pretty good social proposition by that time as her father appears to have a considerable business, manufacturing footwear.
      She terrified me.
        Given that I was only 7 when she died, it's amazing that I remember anything about her. But I remember a small, dominant, heavily built woman who lived in a very dark flat and had a vase full of knobkerries.
It's funny how the mind plays tricks (and gives rise to tradition?). Talking to my older brother, he agrees with me about the her and the flat but says that the vase with the knobkerries was actually in my Granny Rankine's house and my memories of her were of frailty and light!
        However I think I was correct to dislike Granny Scott, by the time of her death we think father was her only living offspring, however in her will he left a brooch each to my mother and sister. Everything else went to her husband if he was living (he was) but in the event of his predeceasing her everything went to the company accountant!! Nothing at all to her son!
6. We are related to Sir Robert Peel
    While this one is still open, I don't believe it. Working back from Sir Robert Peel, doesn't get us anywhere in the ballpark. However when we look at Sarah MacKenzie we find that her mother was a Sarah Piel, more encouraging. If I've got it right Sarah Piel's parents were John Peel and Sarah Amos and she was born in Canonbie. However William and Sarah were married in Cumberland in 1771. Now here we pause as a light bulb glows dimly in my head, John Peel, Cumberland, sounds familiar - the infamous John Peel (of the song D'ye ken John Peel?) was born c 1776, not ours, obviously, but a relation, very possibly, that is if we want to claim him as a relation.
7. Empress Eugenie

As she is a well known historical figure, many people have tried to trace her ancestry. She was born Doña María Eugenia Ignacia Augustina de Palafox-Portocarrero de Guzmán y Kirkpatrick, 16th Countess of Teba and 15th Marquise of Ardales on 5 May 1826. So we see she was a Kirkpatrick. These Kirkpatricks have been traced back to 1232, but as far as I can get is c 1745 to a Joseph Kirkpatrick, but I can't connect him to anyone further back.
So another one bites the dust - for the present !

8. The Scott Missionary
    When I was told this one my reaction was - A missionary! In our family, no way!
During my first research visit to Edinburgh, one of the things I found was the will of George Scott (1825-1890 ) dated 1 Jul 1889 and in it he names his sons and where they are, one of the is Henry Edwin Scott. M.A. Student of Divinity and Medicine, Edinburgh.
With several doctors already researched I checked the UK Medical Registers but produced no hits, but I hit gold when I searched the archives of the British Medical Journal -
      HENRY EDWIN SCOTT, L.R.C.P. and S.E.,
NEWS has been received in Edinburgh of the death, at Kikuyu, British East Africa, of the Rev. H. E. Scott,. L.R.C.P.and S.E., medical missionary there. Dr. Scott, who was in his forty-eighth year, was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh. He was a distinguished football player and a good all-round athlete. When he was last in Edinburgh his friends noticed that his fine physique had suffered severely from his sojourn in Africa. Dr. Scott had been a missionary of the Church of Scotland since 1890. He was first stationed at Nyasaland, and in December, 1907 he was transferred to Kikuyu, British East Africa, to act as the head of the Church of Scotland Mission there. He took a prominent place in the public life of the community. He was a member of the Government Board of Education, and in other directions he was applied to by the Government for advice in connexion with native affairs.
    Bingo! Proved correct
    Armed with the above I found out the Henry went out to Nyasaland in 1890 and served there until 1907 when he returned to Scotland before being asked to go out to Kenya that same year.
In Nyasaland he built the first Church of Scotland in Zomba and in Kenya he helped found the Y.M.C.A in Nairobi.
9 & 10 The Atholl Connection

These two traditions came in the form of a contact via email from a 3rd cousin, Carolyn as follows

      i go back to george Murray who married Jean Jack [b.1946] Duffus, Co. Moray. What I am finding difficult is making a connection withthe Dukes of Atholl and Blair Castle. I know there is a connection because my Father, Samuel James Murray used to receive a stipend of a kind from Blair castle.

I have read that before the Jacobite Rising, the Murrays were Stuarts [Stewarts] so maybe that is why I have come to a dead end.
    after some to-ing and fro-ing on emails, Carolyn added
      I have just pulled out a sheet that my father gave me many years ago and on it is recorded the marriage of JOHN MURRAY to EUPHEMIA McCONNELL and it says that he was the great Grandson of the 2nd son of the Duke of Atholl. I thought perhaps you, Niall may know something of this or may have some information on how we link to the Dukes of Atholl and Blair Castle. I have never been able to establish the connection.
    As he had been included on the emails flying around, another correspondent, Ken wrote
      As far as the Dukes of Athol goes I always knew I was special - I have heard this story many times and never really treated it serously -. my grandmother would tell this tale to anyone who would listen.  Murray is certainly the family name of the Dukes as Niall will confirm but as for a link I have never seen one.  One cousin wrote to the Duke once to ask him - she received a very curt reply from Blair Athol saying that neither the Duke nor the household answered questions about such things - individuals have to undertake their own research.
    When I first heard these two traditions I was highly sceptical. However as both traditions existed in two branches of the Murray family who hadn't had contact for over 100 hundred years, there must be something in it, somewhere.
The first problem that I could see was the change of name. If the family name was Stuart/Stewart during Jacobite times then it would not be surprising it they changed their name, but would anybody in their right mind change it to Murray, I don't think so!. The Murrays were VERY prominent in both Jacobite rebellions. In fact try typing 'Jacobite Murray' into Google and you'll get heaps of hits.
Carolyn said she got as far back as George Murray and Jean Jack(b 1746) in Duffus, Moray and that's as far as I had got as well. I went back to the original records and found out that although the records commence earlier than the 1746 I found, these records are virtually unreadable. So it's more likely that there no records rather than a change of name.
After this I left things alone for a while.

    Later on when I was bored I decided to look at the second part of the query. So I searched the internet and what I found was very interesting. Up to 1625 the Earls of Atholl were Stewarts. But the 2nd Earl of Atholl died without a son so the title lapsed. When the title was resurrected it was John Murray who was created Earl of Atholl in 1628. So there is a basis for the tradition, the title passed from Stewarts to Murrays, not the family name.
    OK so let's look at the first part, John Murray's great grandfather was the aforesaid George Murray of Duffus. His wife Jean was born in 1746, so if we make an assumption that her husband was older than him then he was born c 1735/40. Looking at the Atholl lineage the 2nd son of the then 1st Duke of Atholl was one William Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine. (1689-1746). The dates are within range, so could he be the one? Certainly it would have to be him to be make Carolyn's father's note true. Unfortunately we have a BIG problem (don't we always? ). William was the complete Jacobite, he joined the first rebellion and as a consequence on 17 February 1715/16 he was attainted and convicted of treason. If you don't know what attainted means the person is outlawed, stripped of their titles, lands, monies etc. and the right of inheritance is denied as well.
He fought in the Battle of Glensheil in 1719 and at Culloden in 1746 so he was in Scotland during the required time, however getting proof would be difficult.
    After asking around I found out that Blair Castle, seat of the Dukes of Atholl employs an archivist, so off went an email. I soon received a reply which contained
      Firstly about the change of name from Stewart to Murray: This took place because the 5th Earl (descendant directly from the 1st earl who was granted the title in 1457 by James 2nd) only had daughters and the eldest, Dorothea married William Murray of Tullibardine and their son became the 1st Murray earl in 1629. The title has remained in the Murray family since then. Secondly there are quite a few descendants (mostly in America) of William, 2nd son of the first Duke all of whom it is completely impossible to verify. It is certainly possible that he had illegitimate children but of course they would not be recorded in the archives so I cannot help one way or the other.
    So half explained, half unproveable
11. McRinkines of Coll
    This tradition will probably never be proved, or disproved for that matter. Mother always maintained that this was true and there is a note from her saying that her grandfather told her 'that when he got the (Family) Bible (c1859) the pages relating to Coll were very badly damaged'
      Once again I turned to the internet and found an Australian site run by Tristan Rankine, he is descended from the Falkirk Rankines but on his site he has the full text of an essay by one Henry Whyte entitled “THE RANKINS Pipers to the MacLeans of Duart, and later to The MacLeans of Coll.”
    So Yes the piping bit is true but as for a link - ONGOING
  So there we have it, all the Traditions investigated, some good results, some bad. Overall I guess the conclusion is that the majority of Family Traditions have at least a grain of truth, so don't ignore them.