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A spanner for Blairgarry, a'Bhaid, Brackland, & Portanea
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:15 am    Post subject: A spanner for Blairgarry, a'Bhaid, Brackland, & Portanea Reply with quote

For the last couple of months I've been slowly working (in no coherent order) through all the branch reports that people have submitted and entering them into my database so they can be searched. And I finally got to the Port-an-Ealan Stewarts, which led me on a journey to Stiuartach a'Bhaid and Brackland, which led me to a couple of "a-ha's" and a big "uh-oh".

I was reading through Belinda's report on the Portanealan Stewarts tracing them back to John who m. 1829 and had a son Thomas in 1830. It would be reasonable to suggest this John was probably b. ca. 1700.

I was starting to enter this family into my database and my software demanded a place to attach them to the existing tree. SOS says nothing about how they connect to Gart'n, so I went looking for where they MIGHT connect. And I came to the conclusion that Blairgarry looks to be the most promising point of connection. Here's why:

One of the basic principles we've been working with in sorting out all the lines is that Capt. Stewart (hopefully) listed the cadet branches somewhat in order of seniority. Therefore the earliest named branches, being most senior, should branch off the main trunk lower (i.e. more recently) than the later cadets.

If John was born ca. 1700 with an eldest son Thomas then we're now probably looking at John being the son of a previous Thomas. This Thomas would probably have been born ca. 1670. Thomas.... wait... Thomas? That's not a Gartnafuaran name at all! Where did THAT come from?

Maybe John's father, Thomas, was a second son and was named after his mother's father. Or... maybe Agnes McVey wasn't John's first wife! Could Thomas be a McVey name? Quick check of the IGI. Yup, sure enough, there's a Thomas McVey b 1718 in Port of Menteith. Maybe Agnes' father was named Thomas? No way to know as her birth probably pre-dates OPRs.

Back to the question. Where does Portanealan branch from the main stem? We already have Branches III and IV descending from Alexander 5th, so Branch VII Portanealan needs to descend earlier than Alexander 5th.

Walter 4th and Andrew 3rd? No information on younger sons for either of them. But...wait. Can't attach there either because then Portanealan would be more senior than Glenogle! Can't have that!

We've done the younger sons of Alexander 2nd Gart'n to death so that means Portanealan must descend from a younger son of Andrew 1st Gart'n! And what do we have on younger sons there? Oh! There's Blairgarry!

Grab the map to refresh my memory -- Blairgarry is 1 km west of Portanealan! They're virtually next door to each other! Could Portanealan branch off from a younger son of Blairgarry? Well, all we have on Blairgarry is a thin line of eldest sons for 6 generations. There's lots of room in there for a younger cadet branch to attach.

Just a hunch at this point....

I mapped out my reasoning and was about to post here when I got distracted by Belinda's earlier thread suggesting that Brackland may also descend from Blairgarry. And, as I re-read that thread, despite Belinda's oops mixing up James and John Stewart, I think she might still be right. All it would require is that John in Brackland be a younger brother of James McPatrick 6th Blairgarry and her theory fits!

This was feeling good to me because Portanealan and Brackland are branches VII and VIII respectively (the last branches of Gart'n) and therefore they should branch off from the main stem at points earlier than any of the other branches. Which fits so far!

So then I thought I'd go back and re-read Jared's report on Branch II - a'Bhaid and Blairgarry. And that's when the "uh-oh" hit me.

Jared acknowledges that SOS makes no connection between a'Bhaid and Blairgarry. It is merely the fact that Duncan Stewart in 1739 recorded Blairgarry as the oldest cadet branch and SOS claims that Branch II was the "oldest branch of Gartnafuaran." Jared puts those two claims together to make the promising case that these two branches could be the same. And, quite frankly, I was completely convinced he was correct...until now. In Jared's defence, he never makes a claim that the two branches are the same, just that they "could be". But we've all been operating on the assumption that his theory is correct -- myself included.

Two problems:

1. I no longer think SOS meant that a'Bhaid was the oldest cadet branch. I re-read the line with fresh eyes tonight, and I read it very differently now. Here's what it actually says: "The oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune." Now, there's no question that the opening of this sentence says "The oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara...." It's entirely reasonable to conclude that the author was refering to Branch II as "the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara." But, if so, then the second half of the sentence doesn't make sense: "...was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune."

In the next paragraph we find: "William is ground officer to the Earl of Moray in the town of Doune." William was the eldest son of the first line of a'Bhaid. In other words, William represents "the oldest branch of [this branch of] the family of Gartnafuara." I think "the oldest branch" was meant to refer to William's relationship to the a'Bhaid family, not to the a'Bhaid family's relationship to the main trunk of Gartnafuaran.

If "the oldest branch" no longer refers to the relationship of a'Bhaid to Gartnafuaran then the means of linking a'Bhaid to Blairgarry collapses.

2. The second part of the "uh-oh" is our hierarchy of seniority principal -- that the first named cadets should be considered the most senior and therefore should branch off from the main stem at the LOWEST possible point. But we have Blairgarry branching at the highest possible point. We've actually reversed our logic here without catching it. If Blairgarry is the oldest branch then they should be listed last in SOS, not first. And Branch II-a'Bhaid should branch off later than any of the other cadets.

Branch III - Sliochd Rob Duibh Mor - we suggest probably descends from Alexander 5th Gart'n.

Branch IV - Sliochd Sean Rob mhic Alasdair Oig - we suggest probably also descends from Alexander 5th Gart'n (and I've just finished a major overhaul of Branch IV (just uploaded today on our Glen Finglas page) in which I am renewed in my conviction that we're correct with Branch IV's connection.

Branch V - Glenogle - well, we've certainly beat this horse enough to be convinced that they descend from a younger son of Alexander 2nd Gart'n! I value my life too much to call that into question! LOL!

It's important to note the pattern here: with each branch we go down our connection to the main stem goes higher up -- that's consistent with our hierarchy principle.

Then we reach Branches VI, VII, & VII, all of which are of "undetermined" connection. Thus, these branches should descend from a younger son of Andrew 1st Gart'n, or a younger son of one of the previous branches, or a natural son of any branch.

Then I look at my new suggestion that Branch VII descends from Blairgarry (which descends from a younger son of Andrew 1st Gart'n) and Belinda's suggestion (with the one minor correction) that Branch VIII also descends from Blairgarry and everything fits where it should...

...except a'Bhaid.

I am now convinced that a'Bhaid cannot be the same branch as Blairgarry.

So where do they fit?

Well, if we clear the table and start over, they should branch off from the main stem later than any other cadet branch -- that is, later than Alexander 5th Gart'n. Then I re-read Jared's note that I had at some point suggested an alternative reading of a'Bhaid as "Wat", which is a Scottish nickname form of Walter, from which the surname Watson ("Walter's son") derives. Do we have a Walter that would fit? Yup, sure do! Walter Stewart, 7th of Gartnafuaran.

Walter 7th Gart'n was son of Andrew 6th Gart'n. Therefore Walter should have had a son named Andrew. We have no record of such a son existing and Gart'n passed to his son Alexander. But onomastics would demand that such a son should exist. It's just as easy to suggest that Walter may also have had a later son and would have re-used the name Andrew as we've seen on many other occasions. Since this theoretical Andrew didn't inherit Gartnafuran then there could be no estate records of him.

If this Andrew existed then he would have been born ca. 1660. His eldest son would have been a Walter born ca. 1690. This theoretical Walter's eldest son should have been an Andrew born ca. 1720. Such an Andrew would be just the right age to marry in 1750 to Katrin Murdoch and reside in Cuilantogle as per Jared's Blairgarry report.

I acknowledge there's a lot of supposition in there, but it's still a darn tidy fit.

And I fully acknowledge that we are dealing with competing theories and probabilities here, not with certainties. But, in the same was as we have wrestled with Glenogle, we push ourselves to try to find "what's the most probable theory?" For me the case is looking good that Portanealan and Brackland both descend from younger sons of Blairgarry and the Stiubhartach a'Bhaid does not.

There..., I've lobbed the huge spanner into the works. I look forward to the discussions that will follow! It's been too long since we've had a good one to chew on!
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh boy!!! Ryk, you devil, this will keep me going for weeks! I can't remember what I said about John in Brackland and I don't know what I've done with my work sheets from my last effort. But the Stewarts in Brackland are my last brick wall, and it sounds as though you might have cracked it!

Will get back to you on this.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

muffin
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoo-hoo, look what I just found: 29 Nov 1718 11 Dec 1718 Andrew son of Walter STEUART Catherine MCFARLAN Creheambie (Callander OPR)

Coireachrombie is less than 3km from Cuilantogle. Could this be Andrew in Cuilantogle of a'Bhaid? hmmm...
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got to get ready for work, and it's going to be a busy time for me the next couple of days, so I won't have time to give this the thought it needs. However, I did want to make just one important point:

I no longer think SOS meant that a'Bhaid was the oldest cadet branch. I re-read the line with fresh eyes tonight, and I read it very differently now. Here's what it actually says: "The oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune."

To be accurate, what it actually says is "IN ANCIENT TIMES the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune."

Now there's no doubt that the "Ground Officer" reference is to William Stewart, who certainly did not live "in ancient times," but only lived a few generations before the time SOTS was compiled. Also, it is impossible for a "branch" to be a Ground Officer. It's obvious there's a problem with the sentence, in terms of grammar and punctuation. The latter clause, "was Ground Officer . . ." is evidently the beginning of a new thought, identifying the family by the most prominent member in the recent past. For my money, the most likely parsing of the sentence should be:

"Second Branch called 'Stuiartich a-Bhaid,' in ancient times the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara; was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune."

We have to take account of the statement that this family is the "oldest branch" and had originated "in ancient times," in the period when the family of Gartnafuaran first arose. I find it hard to believe that SOTS' "ancient times" could refer to the early 1700s. So, although the principle makes sense that SOTS should be listing each cadet in order of seniority, as best as could be determined, it does look like that principle was not followed in this case. I'm not sure why the youngest cadet, the one that branched off first, would be listed right after the senior line of Garnafuaran. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that by the first half of the 1700s, Alexander Stewart, 8th of Gartnafuaran, had become the representative of the Stewarts of Blairgarry?
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the words of my hero, Mater: "aww dang!" a_hrm

Jared, your point is very well taken. And please don't feel any urgency to tackle this immediately. Please feel free to leave it sit until you have more time.

You are correct that the sentence is preceded by "in ancient times". The original lacks any punctuation here and I had parsed the text differently:

Commonly called "Stuiartich a-Bhaid" in ancient times. The oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune.

That's how I missed "in ancient times" in the posting above. And I agree that the phrase cannot simply be dismissed and must be accounted for. I also agree that it must refer to the 16th or early 17th century. Notwithstanding, I'm not convinced that it undercuts my point either.

I think another possible interpretation of this is that "in ancient times the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuaran was Ground Officer...." That is, that the office of Ground Officer was hereditary and held, in ancient times, by the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuaran, [but] is now held by this branch.

The reference in Buchanan of Auchmar to "That family is now (1728) represented by Alexander Stewart [8th] of Gartnafuaroe in Balquhidder parish" could simply mean that Blairgarry died out and the closest and most senior representative alive today is Alexander of Gartnafuaran. That the seniority of a cadet branch would revert to the main stem when the cadet became extinct seems appropriate. (It would also suggest that, if I am correct about Belinda's branches, that they probably descend from natural sons.)

I also note that Buchanan of Auchmar says of Andrew Stewart 1st Blairgarry, that "he was also the Earl’s Baillie in these parts". I think "Earl's Baillie" and "Ground Officer to the Earl" are probably synonymous. And that when SOS says "In ancient times the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara was Ground Officer to the E of Moray" he was indeed referring to the family of Blairgarry.

I know that helps make your case, but I also don't think it un-makes my case either. I think it's equally possible that William Stewart of a-Bhaid could have been Ground Officer/Baillie because he inherited the title as lineal male heir of the Blairgarry line. Or, it's also equally possible that a "but" is inferred and that the office of Baillie was reassigned when the original line of Blairgarry died out. It would make sense to reassign it to the main stem of the same family who originally held it, namely Gartnafuaran.

And if my suggestion that a-Bhaid could descend from a younger son of Walter 7th Gart'n is correct, then that would be chronologically consistent with the demise of the original Blairgarry line. If so, presumably the eldest son, Alexander (future 8th Gart'n), being heir to Gartnafuaran either didn't want the additional responsibility or his father felt that the estate was enough inheritance for Alex and he bestowed the office of Baillie on a younger son. Next in line would be your ancestor Robert, who was on the run at this point and would not be a contender. That would make the theoretical Andrew next in line. And this theoretical Andrew theoretically passed it down to his theoretical great-grandson, William.

Both theories are logically consistent and the evidence supports both. The trouble is that I still can't get past the principle of ranking by seniority. The Capt. seems to have been reasonably consistent with this principle throughout the rest of the document (with only minor errors and exceptions). I can't see why he would make such a major exception with the second-highest ranking cadet branch of Gart'n.

You suggest that "it does look like that principle was not followed in this case." But, just as we cannot simply dismiss the phrase "in ancient times", I'm not sure we can easily dismiss the seniority principle without a good reason.

See, I KNEW this one would be good for a lengthy conversation! Back to you... 18_13_1
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, I haven't had the time to give this any proper thought -- and right now my brain is feeling pretty fatigued. So with those caveats . . . .

I'm fascinated by the possibility you raise that Stuiartich a-Bhaid could be the "ancient" Stewarts of Blairgarry AND also have become a more recent (and hence senior) cadet. I hadn't noticed the probable connection between Buchanan of Auchmar's "Earl's Baillie" and SOTS's "Ground Officer to the Earl." The position could well have been hereditary in the Stewarts of Blairgarry.

I'm still bothered by those words "in ancient times," though. Whether we read it, "called Stuiartich a-Bhaid in ancient times," or, "called Stuiartich a-Bhaid. In ancient times . . . .," it would indicate that this family arose probably no later than the early 1600s. Again, if you're right that the Blairgarries were hereditary Ground Officers to the Earl of Moray, then the words "in ancient times" would show that the Stuiartich a-Bhaid arose most likely during the 1500s, which weakens the conjecture that the Second Branch delineated in SOTS had arisen from a suppositious younger son of Walter, 7th of Gartnafuaran. It would also strengthen the conclusion that SOTS for some reason departed from the "cadets in order of seniority" principle in this instance.

Well, as I said, I'm not going to be able to offer much insight or useful analysis right now, so for now I'll let it rest with that. Hopefully in a few days I'll have a keener, more alert cognition . . .
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't have time, eh? But you'll offer in-depth analysis anyway. Because, like me, my cousin and friend, you're hooked on this stuff and can't leave it alone! hug

Please allow me to offer a clarification on my previous point so that I am not misunderstood:

I didn't mean to infer that a-Bhaid was simultaneously the ancient line of Blairgarry and also a more recent cadet. In fact I'm now sure how that would work.

What I was trying to convey was that I believe the phrase "in ancient times" may be referring to the office of Baillie/Ground Officer and to the family of Blairgarry but not to the family of a-Bhaid. Allow me to paraphrase and overstate to clarify my intended point:

    Second Branch, commonly called 'Stuiartich a-Bhaid' [implied section heading and not part of the following sentence at all]

    In ancient times [it was] the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara [who] held the office of Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune, [but now that office is held by the a-Bhaid Stewarts.]

    I make this qualifying statement to begin my description of the a-Bhaid Stewarts in case you were aware that the office used to be held by Blairgarry and were wondering how the following William came into that office.


An aside: As I look at this some more, it wouldn't even require that Blairgarry died out -- just that they fell out of favour with the Earl. Maybe they came upon hard times and sold Blairgarry. If so, then Belinda's lines could still descend from lawful sons. Although Buchanan of Auchmar's comments would suggest that the line had died out by 1728. hmmm...
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the clarification. Your proposed interpretation of the "In ancient times" sentence makes sense, and it could then allow for a more recent origin for the Stuiartich a-Bhaid.

I still need to give some thought to your proposal that Walter, 7th of Gartnafuaran, had a fourth son Andrew not mentioned by Duncan Stewart around 1730. The onomastics are sound. Still, Duncan Stewart's informant about the Gartnafuaroe family was most likely James, 9th of Gartnafuaran, who would have been the nephew of this theoretical Andrew. Could James have forgotten about one of his uncles? Alexander, 8th of Gartnafuaran, had just died circa 1733, that is, prior to the publication of Duncan Stewart's history, and my Robert died in 1714. We don't know anything about Walter's third son John -- was he still alive at the time Duncan Stewart compiled his history? A fourth son Andrew would certainly be young enough to still be alive at that time, though he also could well have died many years earlier.

I've also previously observed that the onomastic clues could be suggestive of a link between a-Bhaid and Blairgarry -- namely, the name Andrew, and even the name Walter (Wat) if a-Bhaid signifies Wat.

I also don't know what to do about Buchanan of Auchmar's statement that Alexander of Gartnafuaran was then the representative of the Stewarts of Blairgarry. It seems odd that the oldest cadet of Gartnafuaran (hence the most junior) would be represented by the "chief" of the family -- it almost makes me wonder if Blairgarry was really the senior branch, and when Blairgarry died out the representation passed to the Stewarts of Gartnafuaran. But such a speculation would be pretty radical, and I'd prefer to avoid going in that direction. Another thing I've wondered is if the latter generations of Blairgarry closely intermarried with the latter generations of their cousins in Gartnafuaran, facilitating the reversion of Blairgarry to the senior line when Blairgarry went extinct or otherwise lost its estate. In any case we know that the senior line of Gartnafuaran got possession of Blairgarry and even lived there for a while, with some of the Gartnafuaran children being born in Blairgarry.

Well, somewhere in there is hopefully a coherent thought . . . .
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm following this thread with great interest but didn't feel qualified to comment until I'd sorted out the details of Branch Eight (Stuirtaich Chireu - the Brackland lot), entirely to my satisfaction.

There were a couple of worrying anomalies in my published report on this family, but after chewing over the situation for the last couple of days I have succeeded in resolving these. I can now match the facts in the SOTS paragraph with my own interpretation, based on OPR records, and will shortly send Chuck a revised report for posting.

This is a huge relief and I can now move on to the vexed question of HOW THEY DESCEND from a Laird of Gartnafuaran.

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Belinda
Thanks for posting this. I just finished entering Portnellan and was about to start on Brackland. I'll hold off on Brackland until you get the new version uploaded.

I'm in a local theatre production today and tomorrow, so I won't have time to give quality thought to Jared's comments until after we close tomorrow.

BTW - what did you guys think of the new layout of the home page? Chuck and I have been discussing a revamp for a few months and finally got it finished this week. Hopefully it's easier to navigate.

Ryk
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I still need to give some thought to your proposal that Walter, 7th of Gartnafuaran, had a fourth son Andrew not mentioned by Duncan Stewart around 1730.
For me the heart of my theory at them moment is really the relationship of a-Bhaid to Blairgarry -- or lack there of. *IF* I'm correct, then the next question that is begged is where did a-Bhaid come from? And Walter 7th seems to be a possibility -- but I'm in no way married to that possibility or even suggesting it as a "likelihood".

Quote:
The onomastics are sound. Still, Duncan Stewart's informant about the Gartnafuaroe family was most likely James, 9th of Gartnafuaran, who would have been the nephew of this theoretical Andrew. Could James have forgotten about one of his uncles?
Agreed. It doesn't seem realistic that James would have omitted one of his uncles.

Quote:
Alexander, 8th of Gartnafuaran, had just died circa 1733, that is, prior to the publication of Duncan Stewart's history, and my Robert died in 1714. We don't know anything about Walter's third son John -- was he still alive at the time Duncan Stewart compiled his history? A fourth son Andrew would certainly be young enough to still be alive at that time, though he also could well have died many years earlier.


I don't see a third son named John for Walter. Am I missing one or looking in the wrong place?

Another place that looks promising is perhaps a grandson to Andrew 6th? We only have one confirmed son to Andrew 6th. Surely he had more than one son.

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Stiubhartaich a-Bhaid

I've been looking further into the translation of a-Bhaid. "Bh" is pronounced either as a "w" or a "v". The etymologies give by Dorward for Wade/McWade/McQuade are all "son of Watt/Walter", with Wade being primarily an Ulster dialect variation. Thus Wade is a documented variant of Walter.

Given the era we're dealing with, it's quite conceivable the Stiubhartaich a-Bhaid could descend from a soldier who went over to Ulster and returned. It's even possible that his family was there for a whole generation before returning and thus acquired an Ulster accent prior to returning.

I've asked the venerable Bochd for his views on the interpretation of the Gaelic.
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I didn't mean to take so long to get back to Ryk's fascinating analysis and proposals of the Stuiartich a-Bhaid and Stewarts of Blairgarry, but this month has been rather busy, and fun, and exciting. I've also been distracted by research on my father's Romanian ancestry, and have made several very important discoveries on that front. For example, I was completely surprised and flabbergasted to learn from 100-year-old parish records that my grandfather was not my grandmother's first husband. You would have thought that I'd already found out all the important details of my dad's family history from only two generations back, but somehow the fact that Grandma Rose (Eufrosina) was married twice had never come up in my conversations with dad. It was something that he'd all but completely forgotten about -- after all, it happend 101 years ago.

Anyway, this week I've reached a point in my dad's research where I have a brief respite, so I'm now directing my full attention to Ryk's proposals here. Here is some commentary on his initial post in this discussion thread.

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I was reading through Belinda's report on the Portanealan Stewarts tracing them back to John who m. 1829 and had a son Thomas in 1830. It would be reasonable to suggest this John was probably b. ca. 1700.

I was starting to enter this family into my database and my software demanded a place to attach them to the existing tree. SOS says nothing about how they connect to Gart'n, so I went looking for where they MIGHT connect. And I came to the conclusion that Blairgarry looks to be the most promising point of connection. Here's why:

One of the basic principles we've been working with in sorting out all the lines is that Capt. Stewart (hopefully) listed the cadet branches somewhat in order of seniority. Therefore the earliest named branches, being most senior, should branch off the main trunk lower (i.e. more recently) than the later cadets.


This particular principle is not something I was really aware of when I first compiled the Blairgarry/a-Bhaid article. I was just going into it "cold," trying to start the process of analysing and attempting to reconstruct the oldest branch of the Gartnafuaran family. But Ryk is absolutely correct that Branch Two of Gartnafuaran, the Stuiartich a-Bhaid, should normally be expected to have branched off the main line much more recently than the 1500s, when Blairgarry branched off.

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If John was born ca. 1700 with an eldest son Thomas then we're now probably looking at John being the son of a previous Thomas. This Thomas would probably have been born ca. 1670. Thomas.... wait... Thomas? That's not a Gartnafuaran name at all! Where did THAT come from?

Maybe John's father, Thomas, was a second son and was named after his mother's father. Or... maybe Agnes McVey wasn't John's first wife! Could Thomas be a McVey name? Quick check of the IGI. Yup, sure enough, there's a Thomas McVey b 1718 in Port of Menteith. Maybe Agnes' father was named Thomas? No way to know as her birth probably pre-dates OPRs.


Yes, there's not really any way to be sure, but you've brought forward a tantalising and eminently plausible connection here. At the very least, it's well worth mentioning as an element of a hypothetical reconstruction of the Portnellan branch.

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Back to the question. Where does Portanealan branch from the main stem? We already have Branches III and IV descending from Alexander 5th, so Branch VII Portanealan needs to descend earlier than Alexander 5th.


Makes sense. I suppose it's possible that some of the more junior branches were cadets of some of the more senior branches, but more likely would be an earlier branching off from the main stem.

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Walter 4th and Andrew 3rd? No information on younger sons for either of them. But...wait. Can't attach there either because then Portanealan would be more senior than Glenogle! Can't have that!


Sounds good . . .

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We've done the younger sons of Alexander 2nd Gart'n to death so that means Portanealan must descend from a younger son of Andrew 1st Gart'n! And what do we have on younger sons there? Oh! There's Blairgarry!


That's a fair bit of reasoning, and I think it's holds together pretty well.

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Grab the map to refresh my memory -- Blairgarry is 1 km west of Portanealan! They're virtually next door to each other! Could Portanealan branch off from a younger son of Blairgarry? Well, all we have on Blairgarry is a thin line of eldest sons for 6 generations. There's lots of room in there for a younger cadet branch to attach.

Just a hunch at this point....


In my opinion, you should "upgrade" your hunch to no less than a strong suspicion. It's about as good a conjecture as we're likely to get at this point.

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I mapped out my reasoning and was about to post here when I got distracted by Belinda's earlier thread suggesting that Brackland may also descend from Blairgarry. And, as I re-read that thread, despite Belinda's oops mixing up James and John Stewart, I think she might still be right. All it would require is that John in Brackland be a younger brother of James McPatrick 6th Blairgarry and her theory fits!

This was feeling good to me because Portanealan and Brackland are branches VII and VIII respectively (the last branches of Gart'n) and therefore they should branch off from the main stem at points earlier than any of the other branches. Which fits so far!


Yes, it would certainly make sense, if the branches listed later in SOTS branched off earlier in time, that both Portnellan and Brackland came from Blairgarry, the oldest branch of Gartnafuaran.

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So then I thought I'd go back and re-read Jared's report on Branch II - a'Bhaid and Blairgarry. And that's when the "uh-oh" hit me.

Jared acknowledges that SOS makes no connection between a'Bhaid and Blairgarry. It is merely the fact that Duncan Stewart in 1739 recorded Blairgarry as the oldest cadet branch and SOS claims that Branch II was the "oldest branch of Gartnafuaran." Jared puts those two claims together to make the promising case that these two branches could be the same. And, quite frankly, I was completely convinced he was correct...until now. In Jared's defence, he never makes a claim that the two branches are the same, just that they "could be". But we've all been operating on the assumption that his theory is correct -- myself included.


As we've discussed here, the meaning of the words "oldest branch of Gartnafuaran" is not necessarily easy to interpret -- especially since SOTS has a lot of poor grammar and sentence fragments and lack of punctuation. That explains my initial interpretation of that particular sentence.

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1. I no longer think SOS meant that a'Bhaid was the oldest cadet branch. I re-read the line with fresh eyes tonight, and I read it very differently now. Here's what it actually says: "The oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune."


Of course, as mentioned above, it actually says, "In ancient times the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune." The natural or obvious meaning of that statement would be that it is a reference to the Stewarts of Blairgarry, who were, as far as we know, the oldest branch of Gartnafuaran.

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Now, there's no question that the opening of this sentence says "The oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara...." It's entirely reasonable to conclude that the author was refering to Branch II as "the oldest branch of the family of Gartnafuara." But, if so, then the second half of the sentence doesn't make sense: "...was Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray in the district of Doune."


Yes, and that's why I'd proposed that a comma should be added, since I thought the second part of the sentence was referring to William of the a-Bhaid branch, Ground Officer to the Earl of Moray.

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In the next paragraph we find: "William is ground officer to the Earl of Moray in the town of Doune." William was the eldest son of the first line of a'Bhaid. In other words, William represents "the oldest branch of [this branch of] the family of Gartnafuara." I think "the oldest branch" was meant to refer to William's relationship to the a'Bhaid family, not to the a'Bhaid family's relationship to the main trunk of Gartnafuaran.


As I've indicated, I don't find this particular interpretation very likely -- but you later proposed a different interpretation, agreeing that the sentence refers to Blairgarry having formerly been heritable ground officers, and that position later coming to a-Bhaid. That interpretation actually makes quite a lot of sense, and it parses the sentence in such a way that one doesn't have to suppose it is bad grammar or a couple of sentence fragments. So, your interpretation I think is superior to my initial interpretation. It especially makes sense to identify the post of "ground officer" with that of "baillie" that Andrew of Blairgarry is stated to have held.

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If "the oldest branch" no longer refers to the relationship of a'Bhaid to Gartnafuaran then the means of linking a'Bhaid to Blairgarry collapses.


Yep.

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2. The second part of the "uh-oh" is our hierarchy of seniority principal -- that the first named cadets should be considered the most senior and therefore should branch off from the main stem at the LOWEST possible point. But we have Blairgarry branching at the highest possible point. We've actually reversed our logic here without catching it. If Blairgarry is the oldest branch then they should be listed last in SOS, not first. And Branch II-a'Bhaid should branch off later than any of the other cadets.


Yes, that's a very important consideration.

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. . . . It's important to note the pattern here: with each branch we go down our connection to the main stem goes higher up -- that's consistent with our hierarchy principle.

Then we reach Branches VI, VII, & VII, all of which are of "undetermined" connection. Thus, these branches should descend from a younger son of Andrew 1st Gart'n, or a younger son of one of the previous branches, or a natural son of any branch.


Well stated and well argued.

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Then I look at my new suggestion that Branch VII descends from Blairgarry (which descends from a younger son of Andrew 1st Gart'n) and Belinda's suggestion (with the one minor correction) that Branch VIII also descends from Blairgarry and everything fits where it should...

...except a'Bhaid.

I am now convinced that a'Bhaid cannot be the same branch as Blairgarry.


And having given this some thought, I'm now inclined to agree with you.

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So where do they fit?

Well, if we clear the table and start over, they should branch off from the main stem later than any other cadet branch -- that is, later than Alexander 5th Gart'n. Then I re-read Jared's note that I had at some point suggested an alternative reading of a'Bhaid as "Wat", which is a Scottish nickname form of Walter, from which the surname Watson ("Walter's son") derives. Do we have a Walter that would fit? Yup, sure do! Walter Stewart, 7th of Gartnafuaran.

Walter 7th Gart'n was son of Andrew 6th Gart'n. Therefore Walter should have had a son named Andrew. We have no record of such a son existing and Gart'n passed to his son Alexander. But onomastics would demand that such a son should exist. It's just as easy to suggest that Walter may also have had a later son and would have re-used the name Andrew as we've seen on many other occasions. Since this theoretical Andrew didn't inherit Gartnafuran then there could be no estate records of him.

If this Andrew existed then he would have been born ca. 1660. His eldest son would have been a Walter born ca. 1690. This theoretical Walter's eldest son should have been an Andrew born ca. 1720. Such an Andrew would be just the right age to marry in 1750 to Katrin Murdoch and reside in Cuilantogle as per Jared's Blairgarry report.


As I've mentioned before, I am skeptical that Walter, 7th of Gartnafuaran, ever had a son named Andrew. At the very least any such son would apparently have died before 1730, when Duncan Stewart compiled his Gartnafuaroe pedigree, but then you'd expect James, 9th of Gartnafuaran, to have mentioned an Uncle Andrew, even if deceased, if there was such an uncle. However, Walter, 7th of Gartnafuaran, being the son of Andrew, 6th of Gartnafuaran, could well have had a younger brother named Andrew, perhaps born in the 1620s, who might be ancestor of the Stuiartich a-Bhaid (whether or not their name means "Stewarts of Wat."

There's also another possibility: if their name means "Stewarts of Wat," they could be descended from Walter-du-mor, who fell at Kilsyth in 1645 with his two sons. We think that is probably Walter, second son of Alexander, 5th of Gartnafuaran. Walter-du-mor could have had a son not of fighting age in 1645 who later gave rise to the Stuiartich a-Bhaid, and thus the Portnellan and Brackland branches.
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I had forgotten about this other comment of Ryk's:

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I don't see a third son named John for Walter. Am I missing one or looking in the wrong place?


You're probably looking in the wrong place. Duncan Stewart shows three sons of Walter, 7th of Gart'n: Alexander, Robert, and John

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Another place that looks promising is perhaps a grandson to Andrew 6th? We only have one confirmed son to Andrew 6th. Surely he had more than one son.


Hey, what do you know, that's just what I proposed! Yes, I highly doubt that Walter, 7th, was the only son of Andrew, 6th.
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