Calling All Scotsmen And History Buffs

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Username3000

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Greetings,

My family came to Canada from Glasgow in the 1820’s.

Is it generally true that Lowlanders and Highlanders have a different origin? Celts, Saxons, etc.

I am curious about this because I am trying to figure out, as best as I can, if I could have any ties to the Celtic, Scottish Gaelic culture, or whether my ancestors were trouser wearing, English speaking folk.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
So many issues to address here.

Let's start with an idea to challenge your thinking. Most Puritanboard members would have been cheering on the English (and their mainly lowland Scottish allies) at Culloden in 1745 against the Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Papist horde. The last thing we would have wanted would have been a Catholic King Charles III. There's more to Scottishness than kilts, haggis and misty highland glens, lovely though those are.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
Also given the unfortunate clearances of the highlands that followed the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie, there would have been a fair number of highlanders and their offspring in Glasgow by the 1820's looking for a future, for whom emigration might have seemed a good option.

Third, Scotland isn't just highlanders and lowlanders. My grandfather and grandmother on my mother's side originally hailed from Aberdeenshire and spoke Doric, which is neither Gaelic nor English (at least not the kind of English you'd be able to understand).
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
After Jo’s post on the DNA testing I’d be reluctant to rely on that for sure.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I come from a town in Ontario, Caledonia, that was settled mainly by Scots. Still today, almost all the families have Scottish names. On Canada day, the Mackenzies and Thompsons alike can be seen in kilts, wearing their family tartans, and playing bagpipes.

But Thompson is a Lowland name. And family tartans are completely made up. (See the Sobieski-Stuarts.) To add to the confusion, kilts were invented by an Englishman.

Well, at least everyone can enjoy bagpipes.

Scotland's history goes back a long way. Of course a lot has changed, but if you're asking about the genetic makeup, you're going to find that the Scots are a real mix, not the single group that they're often thought of as today.

***

1. Picts

Pictii to the Romans, in English we call them Picts. The Latin name is often translated as "painted ones" but, according to what I've read, it can designate different sorts of designs made on the body. Body paint (with woad or possibly red ochre) or tattooing have been suggested. (Caesar's comments about the Britons of seem to me to suggest tattooing. However, he was speaking of people in modern southeast England. But I digress.)

In any case, the Picts were the people the Romans encountered in Caledonia. Evidently not a very literary people, they have left nothing of their language and little of their culture apart from some interesting standing stones. (See, for example, the Aberlemno Stones.)

The Picts are generally taken to be a branch of the family of Celtic peoples. They were very ancient. They lasted well into the Dark Ages, but, rather curiously, they vanish into history. It is presumed that they blended with the Gaels.

2. Britons

Strathclyde was a British kingdom, which is to say that it was peopled by a folk closer to the Welsh than to the Gaels. Strathclyde was eventually absorbed into the Kingdom of Scotland in 1093.

3. Gaels

The Gaels came from Ireland, settling over much of the Highlands and Islands. The tribe of Gaels called Scotti are taken to have given their name to the eventual Kingdom of Scotland.

[EDIT: According to Wikipedia, Scotti is just a Latin name for the Gaels.]

4. Angles

It was mainly the Angles, not the Saxons, who settled in northeast England and southeast Scotland, founding the kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira. These united in 654 to form the Kingdom of Northumbria, which subsequently became a major power in Britain. The Northumbrians fought many wars with the British and Pictish kingdoms, who were still a major presence.

Edinburgh was an Anglian settlement. (Burgh means "fortified place".)

5. Norse

In Scotland the Norse, principally from Norway, had a huge impact as well. For example, DNA evidence indicates that the male populations of Orkney and the Shetlands were likely annihilated. Those Islands remained Norwegian possessions for centuries.

The Norse also settled extensively in the Hebrides as well as some of the mainland, leading to a kind of fusion Gaelic-Norse culture. (See the Lordship of the Isles, which was in effect a kingdom within a kingdom.)

***

That's a summary of the ancient ethnic makeup of Scotland. There haven't been any great influxes of new peoples from the time of the Vikings through to modern times.

Things settled into two main parts: the Scots-speaking Lowlands, and the Gaelic-speaking Highlands and Isles. (However, this doesn't cover everybody, as has been pointed out.) Lowlanders viewed the Gaels as savages and raiders. The divide between Highlands/Isles and Lowlands is hard to imagine today, multiplied as it was by difference in religion, language, customs, clothing. It helps to explain the brutal crackdowns following Bonnie Prince Charlie's defeat at Culloden in 1746.

It may be worth mentioning that the leading figures of the Scottish Reformation were Lowland Scots.

***

Your family was from Glasgow, which was, in ancient times, Celtic (Brythonic), but which by 1820 (a thousand years and more after what I've been going on about) was quite mixed.

If you provide some of the surnames from your family tree, it's probably easy enough to determine at least the names' origins (whether Highland or Lowland, for example). Genes are another matter entirely.
 
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psycheives

Puritan Board Freshman
Greetings,
Is it generally true that Lowlanders and Highlanders have a different origin? Celts, Saxons, etc. I am curious about this because I am trying to figure out, as best as I can, if I could have any ties to the Celtic, Scottish Gaelic culture, or whether my ancestors were trouser wearing, English speaking folk.

I have seen maps where Scotland and Ireland were divided by clan/family names. So you had the Murrays living in one area, the MacDonalds in another, etc. So you might have more success tracing your last name(s). I do not recall the "Cross" clan on the Scottish maps but you can check where they came from; I'm guessing English. Also, remember that the wars, politics, poverty and modernization of Scotland, Ireland and England led enormous population groups to travel to the other regions, effectively mixing them. Especially the Scottish and Irish were displaced.

Before all this, around the 5th century, the Irish "Scots clan/family group" (they were originally from Ireland) invaded Scotland and began living in the Highlands, bringing the Gaelic language with them. Both Scotland and Ireland ended up speaking a version of Gaelic.

However, Gaelic became "a symbol of the Highlands" because the Highlanders opposed modernism and refused to give their language and religion up in favor of modernism. This is why the Scottish Highlanders were well known for being some of the most Confessional Reformed theologians - holding to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the RPW, Psalms-only, the Sabbath strictly, etc. This is where John Murray came from.

If you read Scottish church history, you will see the Lowlanders were know to modernize faster. So they were seen as "selling out" to false teachings faster as well. So Scottish Lowlanders (since they had more connections to the world, being closer to England) were more well-known. But the Highlanders were well-respected for defending the WCF and Reformed theology.
 
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TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
However, Gaelic became "a symbol of the Highlands" because the Highlanders opposed modernism and refused to give their language and religion up in favor of modernism. This is why the Scottish Highlanders were well known for being some of the most Confessional Reformed theologians - holding to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the RPW, Psalms-only, the Sabbath strictly, etc. This is where John Murray came from.

If you read Scottish church history, you will see the Lowlanders were know to modernize faster. So they were seen as "selling out" to false teachings faster as well. So Scottish Lowlanders (since they had more connections to the world, being closer to England) were more well-known. But the Highlanders were well-respected for defending the WCF and Reformed theology.

Centuries after the Reformation, perhaps. Apart from the Campbells, the Highlanders were generally Roman Catholics and Episcopalians and resisted the Reformation long after it took hold in the Lowlands. The majority of the army which fought as pro-Papist Jacobites in the uprising in Britain were from the Highland clans. During the Killing Times, the majority of the militia which hunted and killed Covenanters (who were generally Lowlanders) were Highland Scots. Presbyterianism did eventually take hold in the Highlands, but we should give the Lowlanders the historical credit they deserve for their zeal for pure religion.
 
U

Username3000

Guest
Thank you for all the info.

The family surnames I am aware of off the top of my head are Cross and Allan.

The Cross’ emigrated with Allan, Climie, Duncan, Wallace, Todd, Jack, and Lawrie.

William Cross was the man who made the journey. He was the first reeve (mayor) of Innisfil, Ontario, as well as the precentor of his congregation. I was very pleased to learn these details. He must have been an upstanding man, by God’s grace.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Well, there are the Middle-Easterners...

I very nearly mentioned that, but since the OP mentioned his family left Glasgow in 1820 I thought I'd not go into it.

Recent immigration is of course significant in Scotland as in much of the world. In terms of numbers it might be comparable to the scale of a Viking invasion, although there are fewer heads rolling these days.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Thank you for all the info.

The family surnames I am aware of off the top of my head are Cross and Allan.

The Cross’ emigrated with Allan, Climie, Duncan, Wallace, Todd, Jack, and Lawrie.

William Cross was the man who made the journey. He was the first reeve (mayor) of Innisfil, Ontario, as well as the precentor of his congregation. I was very pleased to learn these details. He must have been an upstanding man, by God’s grace.

You can forget wearing a kilt, then. You are no Gael.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
I very nearly mentioned that, but since the OP mentioned his family left Glasgow in 1820 I thought I'd not go into it.

Recent immigration is of course significant in Scotland as in much of the world. In terms of numbers it might be comparable to the scale of a Viking invasion, although there are fewer heads rolling these days.
I was mostly joking. You were right to leave them out.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I was mostly joking. You were right to leave them out.

It's worth mentioning, though. The demographic change in modern times is significant, much as any other migration. I sometimes wonder what a European from only 100 years ago could see how things look today.

I'm part of the trend. Three of my grandparents were immigrants to Canada, and now I'm in Korea, married to a Korean with a half-Korean kid.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I forgot to mention the Normans. They had a significant presence in the Lowlands in the Middle Ages. I would expect that many Lowland Scots would be able to trace some Norman descent.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
So many issues to address here.

Let's start with an idea to challenge your thinking. Most Puritanboard members would have been cheering on the English (and their mainly lowland Scottish allies) at Culloden in 1745 against the Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Papist horde. The last thing we would have wanted would have been a Catholic King Charles III. There's more to Scottishness than kilts, haggis and misty highland glens, lovely though those are.
Haggis is lovely? I never knew.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Randel:

You might also research the work done by William Stanford Reid at the University of Guelph. His 1976 book, The Scottish Tradition in Canada would be one product of his research.
 
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