Sunday, January 8, 2012

Surname Sunday - MacKenzie of Applecross

Oral family history says that our McKenzies of Aberdeen were descended from Mackenzie of Applecross, who reputedly sheltered Bonnie Prince Charlie prior to Culloden.

To date, I've not managed to verify this story (a good researcher always looks for evidence to back up the anecdotal information). I have another couple of generations to go, to get back to that period; and will revisit it once I've revisited and reviewed my paternal line.

The research into the Mackenzies of Applecross, says that they are descended from Alexander Mackenzie (died 1650) who was the illegitimate son of Colin Carn Mackenzie of Kintail. Colin was a favourite of Mary, Queen of Scots and also her son King James.

Alexander's mother was also a Mackenzie: Margaret, daughter of Roderick Mackenzie of Davochmaluag.

As well as founding the Mackenzies of Applecross, Alexander also founded the Mackenzies of Coul.

On a peninsula only accessible by boat (in those days), the Applecross estate was originally 70,000 acres and stayed in Mackenzie hands almost continuously until the mid-1800s when it was sold to the Duke of Leeds. Briefly, the Mackenzies lost the Applecross lands between 1715 and 1725 in retribution for their part in the 1715 uprising.

Applecross is an anglicised corruption of the Pictish word Aporcrosan (confluence of the river Crossan).

Alexander is a very popular name in our branch of the McKenzies, and crops up repeatedly. There would have been plenty of McKenzies in the Applecross area at the time, and I've not found any proof (yet) that a McKenzie sheltered Charles Stuart.

And although a significant part of the McKenzie clan supported the Stuart cause, there were other McKenzies that fought on the other side. War so often splits families . . . so I do wonder which side my McKenzies fought on.

My mother has memories of being told her great-grandfather coming from a long line of soldiers who fought in a Highland regiment, she thinks the Seaforth. This of course, is entirely possible as well.

Sites I plan to revisit when I'm ready:

I'll use this page as a parking spot for any other links I find on the subject - so feel free to add any within comments, if you find any.

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