Page 1 of 1

Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:54 pm
by AGM
There is a most interesting Volume of the Scottish Record Society which details those who lived on the estates of the Duke of Argyll in 1779. Its like an early census and is invaluable in detailing all the people who would otherwise not appear in anything other than estate rentals.

Details and traditions of the Morrisons in Mull and neighbouring area can be found on my website.

Included in the list are the following for Iona.

Duncan Morison tenant 48

His son Neil Morison 16

His son Hector Morison 12

His son James Morison 7

Unfortunately only the following is given for his wife and daughters

"His wife, daughters and maid 4 female"

Neil Morison cottar 38
His wife and maid 2 females.

Though sparse even this amount of information is not usually available to us of the ordinary folk, until later parish registers and Stat Death Records.

Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:38 am
by D-Morrison

The island of Iona? You might be in for a surprise.

Y-DNA genetic testing could tell, but you might be an Irish Morrison just as I am.

From Donegal in the far north of Ireland members of the O'Muirgheasain family are known to have migrated to the southern and to the inner Hebrides islands, including Iona.



Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:52 am
by AGM
Thanks Doug,
Traditions in Mull claim some of the family at least came in to that Island from Ireland while assisting a fugative MacLaine/Maclean of Lochbuie regain his inheritance, during which enterprise they gained the name Clann Mhic na h-Oidhche, or children of the night.

They became a Bardic family in Mull and afterwards in Skye in which latter records they have sometimes been confused with the Morisons of Ness to whom they are not related.

A poem in the early Gaelic collection known as The Book of the Dean of Lismore was ascribed to " 'Meldony McVenis Vullicht ie Maol Domhnaigh mac Mhagnuis Mhuilich- Mildonich son of Magnus of Mull"...."and we may therefore conclude that the O'Muirgheasain bardic family was represented in Mull, probably under the patronage of Maclean of Duart, by 1512 or even earlier" William Matheson.

The same author shows the forenames Magnus and Mildonich being common among the families in Mull and Morvern until recent times.

Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:38 am
by D-Morrison
Oh, the history of the Morrison name could be horrifically tangled! With a name such as Morrison I simply assumed that my family had originated somewhere in Scotland. A no-brainer, right? But an Internet search quickly proved that the Morrison name had been widely adopted by a number of otherwise unrelated families.

So, I contacted the Morrison Society of North America, which is how I met Edwin, and then I underwent Y-DNA genetic testing. But then I discovered that I am not genetically related to any of the Scottish Morrisons. Huh? What? But my name is Morrison!

Further searching found an O'Muirgheasain family of Donegal, Ireland, which is known to have eventually adopted the Morrison name. In fact, I am genetically very close to the Doherty family, which was the main and dominant family of eastern Donegal, of Inishowen, and there also are historical links between the Doherty and Morrison families going back several hundred years.

But the Doherty family might originally have come from southwestern Scotland.

My genetics can be found in the north of Ireland yet they can also be found scattered throughout the Hebrides islands and in western Scotland, too. Indeed, the genetics of northwestern Ireland and of southwestern Scotland are tangled. Altogether, many of us are as genetic cousins.

But I have had this Morrison name for nearly 60 years. So, let us all be Morrisons!

Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:53 pm
by AGM
I got one of the bigger surprises when my family with help of Ian Morrison was traced back to Galloway, in the most Southerly parish of Scotland though with a 17th centuary connection with Argyll. Not surprising though Gaelic was spoken there not so long ago witnessed by the place names and surnames. My DNA also comes from a group which includes Northern Ireland, Edwin could tell you more about and its something I would like to find out more about, for instance which group on this board I should look at as mine?


Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Sat May 24, 2014 6:35 am
by D-Morrison
Hi Andy,

Genetic testing could go a long way toward answering your questions, or at least narrowing your range of questions. But even that could leave you with more questions. However, we are lucky if our family genealogy/paper trail goes back a couple of hundred years or so, what with sketchy church and government record keeping and with the frequent changes in the spelling of our surnames. For instance, apparently my family began as O'Muirgheasain, but over the course of a few hundred years that name went through at least as many name spelling changes as a person has fingers before eventually becoming Morrison. And that makes following any existing paper trail/records virtually impossible.

Some 400 years ago laws were passed to Anglicize Gaelic surnames, hence Morrison.

So, I advise your going with genetic testing and then searching for your closest genetic relatives.



Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 12:23 pm
by AGM
Hello Doug and thanks for your comments.

I dont see the two subjects DNA/Genealogy as opposed to each other but as complimenting one another.

One hopes with future advances in the field of DNA we should all eventually have a good idea from which area our ancestors may have sprung, and/or lived.

But looking at the names associated with my nearest matches, more than a few have names which you could readilly count as being common in the areas from which my known ancestors lived.

I have traced at least four lines back to the early 17th centuary in Scotland and the Isle of Mann, which is something I treasure above knowing where my ancestors are likely to have lived 1500 years ago, areas to indentify with events in history in which you know your ancestors were involved, or affected by.

After over 40 years research into the distribution of Highland Surnames I probably have a better idea where a name or kindred is likely to have lived than anyone previously, some in unexpected areas not shown on any 'Clan Map'.

A source as late as Stat Deaths (starting 1855) can lead one back many years.

I am currently deciphering a Gaelic pedigree of the late Lochaber Historian Anne Macdonell which was compiled in the mid 1800's by Gaelic Scholar and historian D.C Macpherson. Some Campbell (and many other) informants to Stat deaths as late as 1960 can be traced back via the same source to the mid 1700's. These Campbells were known as MacGlassarich (ie from Glassary, Argyll) and are on record in the same area (Lochaber) in 1746 as being members of the Keppoch Regiment under Bonnie Prince Charlie, which surrendered after Culloden. They sought to surrender to General Loudoun (Campbell) asserting a sort of kinship to him, which he was at pains to distance himself from. (he being Hanoverian supporter)
These MacGlassrich Campbells are on record in 1598 and 1602, as being in trouble with Macdonald of Keppoch, and finally a Bond of Manrent of the MacGlasserichs exists for 1525? (have to check that one) to Campbell of Breadalbane in Argyll or Perthshire one of whom is from Brae Lochaber, what does that give us 435? years, I dont think many of us would not feel happy having that known pedigree or kinship on paper.

One finds in areas for were more records are lucky to have survived, back beyone official government ones, say into the mid 1600's, such as estate records and rentals we can with a diserning eye note names and kindreds who again surface as late as the 20th centuary in the same places in the records above under discussion and in census and such things. and whats more can be shown generally they were aware of their ancestral identity, which is generally different from that of their overlords, for as one becomes aware in studying later records we are seeing the emergence of the lesser folk, and that if we are looking to trace ourselves back to clan chiefs through these sources we are often going to be on the wrong track, as most of us are descended from the former.

Place names are a help in discerning the type of people who lived in an area and what language or form of that language which was spoken. A name which is Ballie in Lochaber or Inverness often becomes Bally not just in Ireland but in places like Islay and Kintrye in close proximity.

I look forward to advances in all disciplines in order to give more of us a better understanding of our recent and ancient past.


Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:16 am
by Scot1949
We need to keep in mind a very important piece of information. The seaways on the west coast of Britain were not barriers, they were highways. For centuries Norse, Irish, and Scots sailed up and down and back and forth moving people and goods from Ireland to Scotland and vice-versa, not to mention traffic between the Orkneys and the Shetlands (the Northern Isles) and the Southern Isles of the Inner and Outer Hebrides and Man.

If you look at the Clan Morrison Society YDNA project ( you will notice that the largest "Family Group" is Group N, with Group F not too far behind. Group N seems to cluster around an Irish haplogroup known as "Niall of the Nine Hostages"*. Grop N has members with earliest known roots in Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Clyde estuary in Scotland (I may have missed a few). How far back do we look for common ancestors? Maybe thousands of years, maybe hundreds.

Group N also has participants with a number of surnames other than Morrison or Gilmore, but they are all close to the Niall of the Nine Hostages cluster.

* This haplogroup is probably not directly descended from Niall, the name was chosen because Niall of the Nine Hostages was a prominent Irish Chieftain and warrior about 1000 years ago.

P.S. - Hi Andy!

Re: Could your family have lived in Iona?

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:37 pm
by AGM
Thanks Bob good to hear from you.