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McClung Clan & Tartan

By H. Juhling McClung


THE NAME: As you look at many of the books of clans that are on bookshelves of genealogy stores, the name McClung is often missing. Mac and Mc are used interchangeably. Reverend McClung in his 1904 Genealogy states that the name is mentioned in Lord Stair's Patronymica Britanica under the title of "Seven Hundred Specimens of Celtic Aristocracy" or "Almacks Extraordinary." I have seen it listed in MacLysaght's "The Surnames of Ireland." He lumps the names of McClung and McClurg together as the same family. He states that it is Scotch from Galway [not to be confused with Galloway, Ireland]. He quotes 2 references on the origin of the name: Woulfe suggests MacLuinne or MacLuirg. Black suggests MacLuinge [long ship] or Mac an Chléirigh [clerk].

Galway is in the extreme south-west of Scotland. In ancient times, the native language of this area was Briton [as opposed to Celtic or Pict]. Briton and the language of the Angles merged to give Old English. Galway, and particularly the small town of Wigton [Wigtown] was also the home of the Hanna's and the Walkers that are in our line. Our group of McClungs were among the loyal Scotch that King James sent from Scotland to help repopulate the depopulated Northern Ireland at the close of the Tyrone Rebellion in 1607. Some McClungs are recorded as moving to County Antrim which is north of Ulster as late as 1690. By 1729-1731 they were in Boston. By 1740 they were in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in 1742, James, William, and Hugh were in the Borden Grant in Augusta [now Rockbridge] County Virginia. Numerous other McClungs also came to the US later.

TARTANS: Galway is the Lowlands. Tartans historically were in the Highlands. In terms of ancient history we can't claim one. On the other hand, a funny thing happened on the way to developing clan tartans. Originally they were a cottage industry and locally available dyes were used. When imported dyes were used, red became common because it was the most expensive color. Only the clan chiefs and their immediate family wore distinctive patterns. After the Third Jacobite rebellion was crushed, Lord Cumberland decreed that above a certain [the highland-lowland] line in Scotland, no one could wear clan tartans. That rule held from the mid 1700's until the early 1800's. One mill below that line still made plaids. In the 1860's, Queen Victoria visited the area, and the organizers of the event ask all the clans to wear their traditional tartans. Nobody remembered what their plaid had looked like. The mill got out their catalogue of available patterns and assigned one to any clan that needed a distinctive look. By the late 1800's, the clans in the lowlands and all the counties and cities also adopted a distinctive pattern. Finally, by the 1980's, even the rugby teams have tartans. Currently in Scotland, the kilt has become the modern tuxedo for weddings and formal dances. The tux rental services only carry about 20 patterns. If a person wants a more specific pattern, they will have to have it tailored.

For the McClungs, County Galway has a pattern and there is a Scottish National Pattern. We can also use a pattern from any of our other ancestors. These would include: The County Armach or Provence Ulster. Names a little farther from our line include Stuart [Stewart], Thompson [Thomson, Thomas, McTavish] and Patterson.

CREST OR COAT OF ARMS: Again, the McClungs don't have one. The Hannas and the McMillions related to many of the Greenbrier McClungs do. Historically, the crest passed only to the eldest son. Even the rest of the family couldn't use it. Now even the rugby teams have a crest. Shyster operations like Hulbert's of Bath, Ohio made up crests for anybody who wanted one. We can now go to the clan websites and learn what the accurate historic crests looked like.

Below are some good websites to look at tartan colors and get extra history on the subject.
History of many of the tartans
a company that sells tartans
tartan for Galloway
Scotland National
tartan company with a huge selection
Scottish culture

NOTE: It would seem like a good idea to invite a company which sells tartans to meet with us at a family reunion where we could vote on one to adopt just for the fun of it. (JMc)

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Page Begun 18 Aug 2002
Last updated 2002
Last updated by J. McClung