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  1. #1
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    Linton Surname and Tartan More Info

    Hi Folks,

    Im new to the forum and thought I would add some information about the Linton family/sept as an update to a thread previously posted several years ago regarding which tartan is related to the surname Linton: The bottom line is that Linton is a sept of clan Kerr. Please see these links for details regarding the Linton sept of the Kerr clan:
    http://www.clankerr.org/septs.html
    https://www.scotclans.com/scottish-c...rr/kerr-septs/
    https://www.scotweb.co.uk/info/kerr/

    A brief history of the Lintons: The Lintons are considered to be Brythonic/Brittonic Celts (Strathclyde Britons) originally from the East Lothian region of Scotland, the same region that is home to clan Kerr, hence the Lintons being a sept of that clan. The history of the Lintons is based on research mentioned by the following:
    https://www.hallofnames.org.uk/
    https://www.houseofnames.com/linton-family-crest

    My personal history includes the migration of Linton family members from the Mid-Atlantic area to the Deep South. Some Lintons were likely part of the movement of Scots to Ireland (Ulster Scots / Scots-Irish).

    One interesting note about the Lintons is the legend of the Linton Worm (Dragon):
    https://www.scotclans.com/scotland/s...s/linton-worm/
    Sounds a lot scarier than Nessie!

    Best,
    Garry Linton

  2. #2
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    Please remember that while Tartans have names (we have to call them something), that this whole thing about which Tartan you can, or should, wear is about "Where do your people come from" far more than it is about what name you carry.

    If you go back even just 5 generations you will have 32 grandparents - 32 different surnames - from 32 different places.

    Following just your fathers male line is only one of those.

    If you can find an unbroken paper trail back to a place, perhaps we can offer a better idea than looking on some computer list.

    Most of the histories you find on-line and the Sept lists on-line are little help as there is no single, authoritative Sept list. The concept comes from the Victorian Romance Period and is not originally Scottish. Each Clan Chief may decide which names they accept and they have been known to change them.

    The "East Lothian region of Scotland" is in the Lowlands near Edinburgh so it is quite likely that your people may, or may not, be part of a Highland Clan.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 18th November 19 at 11:26 AM.
    Steve Ashton
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the elaboration and additional, good points, Steve. You are correct - The Kerrs (and Lintons) are Lowland families, so they are not related to a Highland clan. Traditions for the Kerr clan tartan are based in the 19th century conventions that you mentioned. Historically, the Kerrs were a prominent and powerful family of the region, so the early members of the Linton family would have recognized their influence, fostering the sept designation for the Lintons (albeit unofficial and at the discretion of the Kerr clan chief).

    On a personal basis, I embrace the history that all tartans were / are originally based on localities vs. families and later matched up with families during the widespread marketing effort in the Victorian era, so I wanted to share some details about the Kerr tartan for the Linton sept and its connection to region.

    I've had a chance to explore my family history that includes Highlander and Lowlander ancestors in paternal and maternal lines from all over Scotland, so I've enjoyed learning more about those family surnames and beyond the Linton name and original region for Lintons. One of my more recent direct Highland ancestors (paternal) was a McNeil. I've incorporated that particular clan history into my current study as well.

    Thanks,
    Garry

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  5. #4
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    The Kerr Tartan was originally published in the Vestiarium Scoticum in 1842 which we now know was just a product of the imagination of the so called Sobieski Stuarts. So not originally a Clan Tartan at all.

    The Kerr family are from down nearer the borders so not a Highland Clan. And a totally different part of Scotland.

    The thing that a lot of people assume is that the way many people today view Scotland is very different from how the Scots would have viewed themselves over history. The Scotland around Edinburgh in the mid 1700's was quite different from the more romantic concept of Clan as viewed today by many in N. America.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 18th November 19 at 02:34 PM.
    Steve Ashton
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  6. #5
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    The 1842 Vestiarium Scoticum source is indeed included in the 19th century information for the tartan pattern that the Kerr clan identifies with. Like many Lowland families of the time, they were no doubt part of the 19th century enthusiasm across Scotland to incorporate a tartan into their family tradition.

    Thanks again,
    Garry

  7. #6
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    I think your "19th century enthusiasm across Scotland to incorporate a tartan into their family tradition" would better be more accurately written as "19th century enthusiasm outside of Scotland to incorporate a Tartan into their family tradition."

    The first attempt to standardize and record Tartans was done in London. In Scotland there seems to have been far less interest in the whole concept of "I'm of Scottish ancestry so I, of course, should be able to find what Clan I belong to".

    I know and understand that all of this is coming across as a bit rude and dismissive. And I apologize for that. I do not mean for my comments to come across that way. It is just that I have been in the kilt business for quite a few years and gone as a vendor to a lot of Highland Games. You can have no idea how many times I have heard much the same.

    You referenced "House of Names" in your first post. This is one of what we call "Bucket Shops" at Games. You walk up and give them a name. Any name. And they will be more than happy to look it up for you. They will then offer to print off a full history, give you a Clan affiliation, and even print a coat of arms for you. I once gave one of these guys an Italian name that sounded sort of Scottish and the amount of BS he handed back was really impressive. All bogus but impressive. There is no "Family Coat of Arms" under the Scottish system of heraldry and the 'history' that he printed was exactly the same words that he offered someone else with just the names changed.
    I had one guy come into my tent with a huge collection of material that he was given at one of the "Clan" tents. He was looking to get a kilt in "His" newly discovered Tartan. It seems that he was led to believe that his name alone 'entitled' him to wear this Tartan, to display a coat of arms, to go to Scotland and 'claim' title to a defunct castle, and even to claim a title of Laird.

    I have had people talk to me about "Their Clan" when what they actually mean is their paid membership in a clan society. A social group that by signing up and paying your 'dues' you are actually buying the newsletter.

    The Clan system we know today holds very little relationship to what Clan was at the time of Culloden and little to the system from 100 years before that.
    I seriously doubt that if you approached a Scot from south of Stirling in 1700, and asked what Clan he belonged to, that you would have been met with much enthusiasm.

    Be proud of your Scottish ancestry. There is a lot to be proud of. But please do not buy into the modern concept of Scottish Clans that is so prevalent in N. America today.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 18th November 19 at 03:44 PM.
    Steve Ashton
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  9. #7
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    Hi Steve,

    I think that we are in agreement more than it seems due to the limitations of emails / texts. I always enjoy exchanging information with folks with the same interests in history - It is good for cognitive health! Yes, for sure, there was enthusiasm outside of Scotland - London - to standardize and identify tartans. Some of the enthusiasm was sufficient enough inside Scotland for some of the families to adopt a tartan for themselves as a modern (post-1842, 19th century / onward) endeavor with the realization by some at the time that the more modern connection with a particular tartan would be different than the conditions in the 1700s. It would be more accurate for me to say that the current / more modern clan Kerr connection with the tartan that they adopted reflects the 19th century / onward era, and would not represent how tartans were viewed in the 1700s.

    As you mentioned, paying membership dues to join a clan these days, regardless of one's personal history or surname is completely different than the 18th century reality.

    I also agree that one should independently research family histories, and confirm any information if it is offered from a commercial source. The family crest/heraldry issue is one example of an item that might have been connected with one family group but not all those with the same surname.

    Best,
    Garry

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post
    It seems that he was led to believe that his name alone 'entitled' him to wear this Tartan, to display a coat of arms, to go to Scotland and 'claim' title to a defunct castle, and even to claim a title of Laird.
    For the last two, your customer was clearly being sold ownership in the Brooklyn Bridge. For the second item in your list, I'm not aware of the niceties regarding displaying a coat of arms. (My family claims none.) But as for wearing a tartan, there are no rules (unless your customer was looking at a restricted tartan like Balmoral). If I want to wear a MacPherson tartan, I have the right to. I have no (known) MacPherson ancestors. I have a friend who is a MacPhearson. In addition, I spent 30 minutes chatting with one of the MacPherson representatives in a bar before a recent Scottish festival. But there's not a "right" (or the lack thereof) to wear a tartan. If I spontaneously decide that I want to wear MacPherson, that's about all the right I need.

    Steve,
    While I agree that there's some shady "information" being sold, I'd prefer to make a distinction between the shady information, and the ability to wear one tartan or another.

    I also agree that one should understand the difference between a clan and a clan society. However, if I decide to join the Clan Lamont society (the Browns are a sept of the Lamonts, and super8mm (one of the local Lamont reps) was a cool guy to chat with, even if there's no evidence that my ancestors were descended from the Brown sept of the Lamonts), under those circumstances, I'd feel a bit obliged to get a Lamont kilt. I would represent myself as a member of the clan society (which, based on dues payment, would be accurate), rather than as a member of the clan, which would be a dubious claim (since I genuinely don't know).

    How many self-nominated kilt police are out there who would say that I wouldn't have the "right" to wear a clan tartan based on clan society membership?

    We all have varying degrees of comfort with wearing a "clan" kilt. I fully encourage understanding one's relationship to a clan kilt. However, I'm in the camp that says one doesn't necessarily need to be limited in the tartan one chooses to wear. (I'm a bit more restrictive, but that's based on my preferences. Not some imaginary universal rule that I think others should follow.)
    Trying to look good on a budget.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post

    The first attempt to standardize and record Tartans was done in London. In Scotland there seems to have been far less interest in the whole concept of "I'm of Scottish ancestry so I, of course, should be able to find what Clan I belong to".
    Steve, not quite. Yes it was the Highland Society of London that is generally credited with being the first to attempt to record the Highland clan tartans. However; notwithstanding the name, most of the members at the time were Scots, many Highlanders, such as David Stewart of Garth who was the Secretary and based in Scotland at the time.

    There was also a slightly earlier attempt to collate tartans, the Cockburn Collection of 1810-15 although it's not clear whether this was a personal flight of fancy by General Cockburn, himself a member of the HSL at some point.

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