Sunday, September 26, 2010

Genealogy News

It has been announced that Ancestry has bought Footnote.  Will be interesting to see how this all shakes down in terms of whether they will combine the sights for searching or keep them as separate entities.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Clan Johnston/e vs Clan Maxwell

There had been a long standing feud between Clan Johnstone and Clan Maxwell with the feud coming to a head on 7 December 1593 at the Battle of Dryfe Sands near Lockerbie. The Clan Maxwell army approached the Johnstone town of Lockerbie. Johnston kept his large force of men hidden; only sending a handful of men out on horseback to taunt and provoke the Maxwells. The Johnstones attacked, taking the Maxwells by surprise as they were attempting to ford the river Annan.  It is said that up to 700 Maxwells were killed, but this may be an exaggeration.  Lord Maxwell, who was one of the most powerful people in southern Scotland, was slain in cold blood by the Johnstones when he asked for mercy and offered to surrender.  Sir Johnstone escaped punishment from the King for his actions, but he did not escape the unforgiving hand of the next Lord Maxwell, son of the chief who was killed at Dryfe Sands. In 1608, Lord Maxwell shot Sir Johnstone in the back during a meeting held “under trust,” which rendered him, Lord Maxwell, an outlaw. Lord Maxwell was later captured and executed by hanging.

A more detailed Clan history can be found on the Clan Johnston/e website.  You can access it by clicking on the link in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Clan Johnstone vs. Clan Moffat

Clan Moffat was another Scottish border clan of raiders and reivers, which resulted in long-running feuds with their neighbours. Their greatest enemies were the Clan Johnstone which climaxed with a battle and murder of the Clan Moffat chief in 1557, Robert Moffat. The Clan Johnstone then went on to burn the local church with the most important members of the Moffat family inside, slaughtering anyone who tried to escape. This one major blow nearly wiped out the powerful Clan Moffat. Seventy years later all of the Moffat's lands were passed to the Johnstones due to the Moffats having massive debts.

Friday, September 17, 2010


How do the Marchbanks relate to Clan Johnston/e? The story told of the origins of the surname Marjoribanks, is that Marjorie, daughter of King Robert the Bruce, brought into her marriage with Walter Stewart in 1315 lands in Dumfriesshire which became known as "Marjorie's Banks". Unfortunately, there are no records indicating that such lands formed part of Marjorie's dowry. There have been many explanations of the origin of this place name (it is now Marchbank Farm in the parish of Kirkpatrick Juxta near Moffat) but it may have been adopted as a token of respect to Marjorie, since the Bruces at one time owned land in the area.

One belief is that this story was generated by a junior branch of the Marjoribankses in the 17th century to bolster the family’s claim to gentility. The first known Marjoribanks, Philip "de Merioribankis de eodem," i.e. "Marjoribanks of that Ilk," appears in 1485 as the holder of the "five merklands of Merioribankis of ancient extent." Alexander Nisbet, one of the most cited and important authors on Scottish heraldry, asserts that the family who acquired the lands of the princess and took her name were originally kin to the Johnston Lords of Annandale. He finds evidence for this in the Marchbank’s coat of arms, which incorporates a gold cushion and a star. The Clan Johnston/e’s coat of arms bears three gold cushions, and in heraldry a star often alludes to a spur-rowel, which is part of Lord of Annandale’s crest. The assumtion is that the earliest Marchbank was probably a Johnstone who distinguished himself from the many other Johnstones of the area by adopting a family name derived from name of a paternal ancestor.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Johnston/e -Annandale/Caskieben

Johnston/e’s were a Border clan which held the central lands of Annandale. The name Gilbert Johnstone is found in records after 1194. The Johnstones became involved in the conflict between the Royal House of Stewart and the House of Douglas and for their loyalty were rewarded with confiscated lands near the Douglas stronghold of Threave Castle in Galloway.

Annandale - In 1633, James Johnstone was created Lord Johnstone of Lochwood by Charles I. In 1643, he was created Earl of Hartfell and aligned himself with the Royalist Cause. He was captured and imprisoned, but after the Restoration was given the additional earldom of Annandale.

In 1701, William, 3rd Earl of Hartfell and 2nd Earl of Annandale, Secretary of State for Scotland and President of the Privy Council, was created 1st Marquess of Annandale. He was succeeded by his two sons, but after the death of the 3rd Marquess the family titles became dormant and the Johnstone estates descended via the female line to the Hopetoun Family. In 1985, based on the Charter of 1662, the Johnstone Chiefship and the earldoms of Annandale and Hartfell were confirmed upon Patrick Johnstone of that Ilk.

Caskieben - Sir George Johnston of Caskieben, who claimed descent from Stiven de Johnston in the 14th century, was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1626. Arthur Johnston (1587-1641), son of the Laird of Caskieben, became Rector of King's College, Aberdeen.

Be sure to check the Clan website for more historical information!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 AGM

Just returned from a great time at the Annual General Meeting.  The venue for the games was great and I was glad to meet the tent hosts, Karen and Scott Klein.  They represented us in the Parade of Clans and provided a welcoming atmosphere at the tent.  And it was fun talking to those people who stopped by to discuss their Johnston heritage.  People tend to connect instantly when discussing their ancestors.

I want to thank Lindsay Johnston for making all the arrangements for the Annual General Meeting.  The host hotel was extremely nice, the meal was great and that wonderful weather he arranged couldn't have been better. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pleasanton Games

Clan Johnston/e's representation in the Parade of Clans.