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  1. #1
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    Mitchell / Innes Clan affiliations in Perth?

    Hi There. New member here.

    One of my most recent Scottish ancestors (my great-great grandfather), born in the 1860s, has the Mitchell surname, and was allegedly born in Perth (later immigrating to Canada and then the US). His line pretty much a brick wall for me, but I'm trying to determine possible clan affiliation. It seems like Mitchell is commonly recognized as a sept of Clan Innes. Not sure where to look, but does anyone have knowledge of Innes affiliated Mitchells in the Perth area, considering it being quite south of Moray? Trying to gauge how plausible the association may be here. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    There is a common misconception that everyone in Scotland belonged to a Clan and everyone with Scottish ancestry are somehow automatically part of a Clan.

    The truth is that until very recently the Highland Clan system existed only in the Highlands. The vast majority of the population were not Highlanders and would not have been part of the Clan system.

    The Clan system was also not just about surname. The Clan usually took the name of the most influential family in an area or region, but who were in the Clan was much more about where you lived , and who you swore loyalty to, than it was about the name you bore. Even if you carry the surname that is the same as a Highland Clan your people may have lived somewhere else.

    Perth is below the Highland line so it is quite possible that your ancestors would not have thought of themselves as part of a Highland Clan.

    Clan Tartans do not go back to antiquity. It is a fairly recent concept to name Tartan designs for Highland Clans. So even if your ancestors wore Tartan, it is possible that it did not carry the same meaning to them, or carried the same name we associate with Tartans today.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Actually, Steve, the Scottish Borders also had clans that were recognized as such by an Act of Scottish Parliament in 1587 “held at Edinburgh upon 29 July 1587 for the quieting and keeping in obedience of the disorderly persons, inhabitants of the borders, highlands and isles” which goes on to list the chieftains and chiefs of these clans in the borders and Highlands.

    The organized/extended families dwelling in the Lowlands were excepted from this Act.

    There is an article by a Dr Bruce Durie,
    former professor of genealogy at Strathclyde University on https://www.scotclans.com/what-is-a-...r-bruce-durie/ that discusses what constitutes a clan, etc., etc.

    To quote from the above article: "
    “Clans” are therefore a phenomenon of the Highlands and Borders and the equivalent kinship/territorial structures in the Lowlands are the “family”, usually based on a feudal barony."
    John

  4. #4
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    Please note that I specifically mentioned the Highland Clan system and did not mention the border regions due to the OP stating that his ancestors were from Perth.

    And from your same document.


    • clans were a Highland and Borders phenomenon, not applicable to the Families of the Lowlands, where the majority of the Scottish population lived then and lives now;
    • clans were not just, and not even, a kinship group;
    • the “clan system” was one, but not the only, consequence of importing the Anglo-Norman feudal system to Scotland;
    • most Scots were never part of the “clan system” (however defined);
    • the term “Clan” ceased to have any real meaning post-1746, and assumed a different meaning post-1820;
    • clans have no formal place in Scots law, although chiefs do, to some extent;
    • tartans, although in some cases ancient, did not have the one-to-one relationship to surnames as is now affirmed, until the early 19th Century.

    That pretty well says exactly what I posted. In fact your document is one of the sources from my research into Scottish history.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleJCS View Post
    Actually, Steve, the Scottish Borders also had clans that were recognized as such by an Act of Scottish Parliament in 1587 “held at Edinburgh upon 29 July 1587 for the quieting and keeping in obedience of the disorderly persons, inhabitants of the borders, highlands and isles” which goes on to list the chieftains and chiefs of these clans in the borders and Highlands.

    The organized/extended families dwelling in the Lowlands were excepted from this Act.

    There is an article by a Dr Bruce Durie,
    former professor of genealogy at Strathclyde University on https://www.scotclans.com/what-is-a-...r-bruce-durie/ that discusses what constitutes a clan, etc., etc.

    To quote from the above article: "
    “Clans” are therefore a phenomenon of the Highlands and Borders and the equivalent kinship/territorial structures in the Lowlands are the “family”, usually based on a feudal barony."
    Yes, I agree with the extension of 1587 as it applied to the most Northern and the most Southern regions of Scotland in that time. I disagree with who the 'Highland' clans thought of themselves to be at that time.

    The Gaelic and Borders cultures had long been separated by that date. The Highlands remained a patriarchal society within an over-riding and imposed feudal, and the Borders had long accepted the feudal over-riding the patriarchal.

    Perhaps a subtle or difference in our time, but of enormous distance in the 16C.

  6. #6
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    Throwing my two cents into the bucket - I have a few ancestors form Perth during that time who were descendants of clan Sinclair. I also have “Rutherford, Thompson and Miller in my tree from that area I’d you see those names pop up. Click image for larger version. 

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    I imagine by the mid 1800s some of the clan families had started to move south (and to North America, Australia etc) which is what I’ve discovered, so by that point, locations can be tricky.

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