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In pre-Roman Times the area that we know as Scotland was inhabited by mainly Celts that arrived from the North Sea area, others came from Gaul and Ireland.

Later, after the Romans had departed, there were at least five recognised racial divisions. The Picts who occupied most of the territory north of the Forth; the Britons who settled mainly in Strathclyde; the Attacotti in Galloway; the Saxons in the South and the Scots on the western coast around the Argyll area, called Dalriada.

The origin of the Picts is unknown. One legend has it that these Cruithnechan as they are sometimes referred to, originally came to Ireland from the land of Thrace and were the children of Gleoin MacErcol, that is, of Gelonius son of Hercules and were called Agathursi. They arrived in nine ships with 309 persons aboard and landed at Inverslainge, Ireland under the command of six brothers - Solfan, Ulfa, Nechtan, Drostan, Angus and Leithenn and had passed through France where they built the city of Pictavia.

Dunadd...click for large view The first Dalriadic or Scots colony in Argyll, existed around 180AD in the time of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius but the Dalriadic Kingdom as such, was founded by the Irish sons of Erc, Fergus, Lorn and Angus and was subsequently divided into four districts. Clans or Tribes known as the Cinel Lorn, Fergus, Gabran and Comgall, the latter two from the grandsons of Fergus. It's centre was at Dunadd near Lochgilphead and the inhabitants eventually becoming known as Scots.

From this time until the accession of Kenneth MacAlpine in 543AD there was a continual struggle for supremacy among the inhabitants including the Fingall and Duthgall (Norsemen and Danes) who arrived in the eighth century, occupying the Northern Territories and Western Isles. The latter were not driven out until the late13th century but in the meantime, their influence contributed as much as any other race to the forming of Scotland and the Clans.

Throughout the years, many were the battles for the Throne, with the fortunes of the Clans waxing and waning according to their alliances to the various claimants.

Although most historians generally agree that the MacNaughtan Clan was of Pictish origin, this may not necessarily be so.
The similarity between the historical Erp of the Picts and Erc of the Scots and the Nechtans (origin of MacNaughtan) who appear in the claimed genealogies of many Clans, are sufficient to cause doubt.
It is entirely possible that a Dalriadic Nechtan married into the Pictish Royal Family or a Pictish Princess introduced the name to the Dalriads by marriage.

Families had a number of traditional personal names, to which were added nick-names to differentiate between generations and often more than one child in the same family bore the same personal name to ensure it's continuance. A new-born child was commonly given the name of a deceased forebear in the hope that the child would inherit his qualities and this was referred to as 'raising the spirit'.

The following cannot be a full and complete record of the Clan, particularly before the 11th century, as records at the best of times were sketchy and even contradictory. While every care has been taken to cross-check or accept the most likely date or account according to the evidence, there will naturally be variances with other 'Histories' some of which appear to be almost verbatim copies of previous publications, errors and all!
Some of the claimed relationships are not readily apparent, mainly because of the lack of documentation regarding the female side of Clan succession and the spelling of the Clan name has had many variations, depending on the Chronicler's choice or fancy.
This is not intended as a treatise on Scottish history and I have tried, sometimes unsuccessfully to keep only to the salient facts pertaining directly to the Clan or to those which influenced it's destiny.

However I recommend to anyone so inclined, that they indulge in some research of their own, that they may amend or contribute to my efforts and in so doing, their time will be rewarded, both in their knowledge of their forebears and of history in general.

Thomas Butler, Session Clerk at Fortingall, wrote in 1819 concerning the Church Registry:
" 0f late years, the number of children registered here, have fallen far short of the usual average. The decrease is owing to the poverty, prejudice and ignorance of parents who cannot be convinced of the necessity of inserting their childrenís names. This in many cases. will prove detrimental to themselves and their offspring."
He might have added, "and also to future Genealogists"
It is a great shame that there does not appear to be a Family Bible awaiting discovery that could shed more light (and reduce the research involved) on the names, life, professions etc. of our forebears and transform these mere names into personalities.

Imagine if we were to discover that we had some particular food we fancied or some idiosynricracy that we shared with an ancestor, how much more would we then learn about ourselves. What is the incidence of say, left- handedness or the birth of twins in the family?

No-one can know the frustrations I have felt over the years in researching the Macnaughtan Family and itís branches; living with the names of my ancestors, their dates of birth, death, or marriage but like a blurred and faded photograph, never quite 'seeing' them.

So I must acknowledge the co-operation of those who did not ignore my pleas for information and I sincerely thank Moira, Shiela, Billy Mac, the late Jen and Victor Mac for their contributions.
To the others. I hope you feel guilty and decide to put pen to paper, (or finger to keyboard), and share the information you possess, with us all and most importantly with those who come after us !

(Leo the Ed Note:
If you have any spare copies of photographs pertaining to the family,they would be really appreciated, or I could scan them and promptly return them.
The same goes for any information, because that info is inclined to put a 'bit of meat on the bones' so to speak....
I share my brother's frustration with not knowing my relatives, even more so now that I am getting a bit long in the tooth and a lot of them have dropped off the perch without me being able even to say hello.....)

"The anticipation of discovery can be the most stimulating of all the emotions."

Irvine Douglas Levarre-Waters (1937-1993)
Eldest Son of Hannah Macnaughtan

Irvine..Click for larger image

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  • Peter Levarre-Waters
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