Sunday, 25 October 2009

Search for the Glencoe MacDonald chief

Today's Scotsman newspaper has a fascinating story about a potential candidate for the chieftainship of the Glencoe branch of the MacDonald clan.

New Zealander Colin MacDonald is hoping to have his claim recognised, as a descendant of Alasdair Macdonald (or MacIain) of Glencoe, one of the victims of the massacre in the glen in 1692. Before he can be granted the title, however, there could be a fly in the ointment - another potentially superior claim has appeared which has to first be ruled out.

MacIain's 3 x great grandson Ewen Macdonald of Glencoe (1788-1840) is claimed by Hugh Peskett, the Scottish editor of Burke's Peerage, to have had a romantic liaison with Bunnoo, the daughter of an Indian maharajah, whilst working as a surgeon in India. They had a daughter called Ellen in Calcutta in 1830, and Peskett claims that they married later by cohabitation and repute in Scotland, thereby legitimising Ellen under Scottish law. He has also discovered that a tailzie was created by Ewan which allowed for Ellen to succeed her father as chief, if her husband changed his name to Macdonald of Glencoe. Her husband, Archibald Burns, duly added Macdonald to his name after they married in Sri Lanka in 1888. The last person to be recognised as MacDonald of Glencoe was one of their seven children, Major Duncan Macdonald. The hunt is now on to see if he had any surviving children - if not, Colin MacDonald is in with a strong chance of gaining the title.

For more on the story, visit
Macdonalds of Glencoe search for clan chief of Mac-harajahs

(Pic courtesy Graham MacDonell - Hugh Peskett, centre, Thomas Miers, Finlaggan Pursuivant, on his left, and representatives of the MacDonalds perusing the Glencoe family tree)

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