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davidc
02-Jun-07, 21:04
Hello I am new to the forum and I am looking for information about the family of James Bruce and Margaret Mackay.

According to the Latheron parish register, James Bruce of Acharashall (I believe that this may be Acharaskill) married Margaret Mackay of Achalibster, (this may be Achlibster) Halkirk on 27 December 1788.

I know of one son, David Bruce who was born about 1804 and in 1829 married Catherine Mackay in Latheron. At the time of his wedding he was living in Rangag, Latheron and Catherine was living at Rowens, Watten. I have information about David and Catherine's family.

I would appreciate any information that anyone may have. Thanks.

David

smcc071
07-Feb-09, 09:10
Hello

I am new to the forum.

I noticed that David made an enquiry, in June 2007, about James Bruce of Acharashall (which he thinks may not be the correct spelling), and Margaret Mackay of Achalibster, who married in 1788.

I believe I may be descended from one of their daughters, and wondered if David, or anyone else knows more about this family?

Many thanks

Sue

Andrew Bruce
08-Feb-09, 20:54
Sue,

I have a lot of information about these families and have been researching them for a number of years. There is still some way to go and I am not fully there yet.
As a very quick summary this is the history I have.
The first Bruce family came to Caithness in about 1540 and lived in Stanstill. The first was a David Bruce who was a direct descendant of King Robert the Bruce.
The first record I have in Latheron was Elizabeth Bruce from this line who married a Gunn in about 1680 at Dirlot.
My line of Bruce’s in Latheron started in about 1746 with a Walter Bruce who also married into the Gunn family of Cattaig and Dirlot. (Story is he was on his way to Culloden when he was taken ill and the daughter of the Clan Chief looked after him.
At this same time there were 2 other Bruce families that were clearly related to Walter. There was an Angus Bruce at Beriedale (Owag Beg) and a David Bruce (first from the farm of Nottingham and then of Acharashall then Shinval). The third was my line Walter who lived in a farm opposite Rangag and next door to Acharashall, both of which were owned by the Gunns and next to Cattaig, Dirlot and Dell.
All three families were interlinked and often went to live in each others farms over the next hundred years or so.
I visited this area last year and all these farms are next to each other.
My side expanded all over the world from Florida to South Africa to Canada and New Zealand.
Some of your side moved up to Spittal and are buried at Dirlot. They then moved to Glasgow. The Berriedale side moved in with my lot at Niend in Latheron.
I have books full of information on the Bruce families with all the Birth, Death and marriage certificates as well as contemporary letters and a book of their history dated a hundred years ago.
What I do not have is the exact link to the Stanstill Bruce line. Lots of circumstantial stuff but not the vital papers.
I would be happy to pass the rest on. I am doing this bit by memory.

Andrew Bruce

robbain
09-Feb-09, 03:49
Andrew
I am also a descendant of Walter Bruce & Gunn of Cattaig my lineage is through David Bruce their son, I have sent you a pm.
Robbain

smcc071
15-Feb-09, 10:13
Andrew

Many thanks for the information about the Bruce family. I would be very grateful for anymore information you are able to give me. I would also be very interested to know if you have any further information to confirm the details I have found so far?

I know that I am descended from Helen Bruce who married Donald Sutherland. I believe this is Helen Bruce from Dirlot who married Donald Sutherland from Guidebest in 1818.

They seem to have spent most of their married life in Guidebest on a 7 acre farm, but died in Buoltach on a 3 acre farm. On his death certificate Donald is cited as a farmer and fisherman. From the map it looks as if Guidebest and Buoltach are very close together, so I am interested to know why they moved.

I believe that Helen Bruce had an older sister Margaret, who never married, but with whom she lived after she was widowed- I think on Helen's farm. I think there must have been at least one other sister who was married to a Gunn, because on both Helen and Margaret's death certificates, their deaths are reported by Alexander Gunn "nephew-in-law".

On both Helen and Margaret's death certificates their parents are given as James Bruce, farmer, deceased, and Margaret Bruce (MS McKay). I believe this must be the James Bruce from Acharashall and Margaret Mackay of Achalibster.

Is it the descendents of Margaret and James Bruces's sons who moved to later moved to Glasgow?

Thanks again for your reply

Sue

Andrew Bruce
15-Feb-09, 15:01
Sue,

I do not have a definitive answer to this but I hope what I have will possibly point you in the right direction.

In about 1720 - 1745 there were 2 Bruce families in Latheron. These families were related and I believe both George and Walter were brothers. Both came from Bower to Latheron at the same time.

a. Family 1 was headed by George Bruce of Houstry and he had at least 2 sons. John who was born in 1743 and David who was born about 1736.

b. Family 2 was headed by Walter Bruce and he had at least 6 children. William, David, James, Marjory, Margaret and Angus.

You are looking for a James Bruce from Acharaskall who married Margaret MacKay in 27 Dec 1788.

As you have probably already discovered there was a James Bruce born in Acharaskall in 05 Feb 1764 to a David Bruce. (The records spell his name James Bruice so he can be hard to find). I do not believe this is the James Bruce you are after. That would be to easy. This family was my line. The parents were David Bruce and Margaret Campbell.

David Bruce married Margaret Campbell and had their first child John in Nottingham in 1756. It is likely that John died and they moved to Acharashall and his brothers and sisters family (William, James, Margaret and Marjory Bruce. Another Brother Angus was living at Owag Begg in Berriedale) where their next 3 children were born. Janet in 1758, Walter in 1759, William in 1762 and James in 1764. The family then moved to Brachungay where they had a further 4 children. John 1766, David 1768, Donald 1769 and Isobel 1773. Margaret Campbell died about 1774 and David Bruce married Jannet Gunn of Houstry in 1775. He had 4 further children. Robert in 1778, Margaret in 1781, Mary in 1785 and Alexander in 1787.

The James Bruce that was born in Acharashall and moved a year later to Braehungie married Janet Gunn of Cattack on 26 Jun 1789. At that time he was still living at Braehungie. Interestingly the 2 James Bruces got married within 6 months of each other.

That leaves the question of who was your James Bruce. There was another James Bruce born in Houstry to John Bruce on 22 March 1770. John was the son of George Bruce of Houstry and James was born out of wedlock. He would only have been 18 in 1788 and I do not think it likely he was the right one. That said I understand that John and James had moved from Houstry to Shinval that is next door to Acharashall.

Also in Acherashall at this time was two other brothers James and William. James married Elizabeth Gunn in 1760. Both were living in Acherashall at this time. I have no record of any children but it is a good lead. Also there was William Bruce. I do not have a record of who he was married to but he had at least 2 children Janet in 1758 and William in 1762 both at Acherashall. He could have had more including a James but I do not have any record.

So where are we. There is a possible record of a James Bruce son of John who would have been 18 or there could have been a James born to either James or William who were both married, having children and living at Acharashall at this time.

Going back in time is the line that both Walter Bruce and George Bruce came from, ie the Bower Bruce family. I have nothing definitive but this is a summary. Some of the links lack documents so should be treated with caution.

My first line of research is dubious as best so please forgive me if I have some of this wrong. I always hope that someone more skilled than myself at this genealogy lark can spot where I have strayed and put me back on the right road.

Andrew Bruce
15-Feb-09, 15:03
Robert de Brusse (came to England with William the Conqueror, 1066)
Adam de Brusse of Skelton, Lord of Cleveland (d 1098)
Robert de Bruce, Lord of Skelton and 1st of Annandale (d 05.1141)
Sir Robert de Bruce, 2nd Lord of Annandale (b c1103, d 1194)
William de Bruce, 3rd Lord of Annandale (b c1142, d 1215)
Sir Robert de Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale (d 1245)
Sir Robert de Bruce, 'the Competitor', 5th Lord of Annandale (b 1210, d
1295)
Sir John de Bruce not mentioned by TSP (Carrick)
Sir Robert de Bruce (d Dupplin 1332)
Sir Thomas Bruce, 1st Baron of Clackmannan (d 1358/9)
Sir Robert de Bruce, 2nd of Clackmannan & Rate (d 1403)
Sir Robert Bruce, 3rd of Clackmannan & Rate (d by 1406)
Sir David Bruce, 4th of Clackmannan & Rate
John Bruce, 5th of Clackmannan & Rate (d 1473)
Sir David Bruce, 6th of Clackmannan & Rate (d c1506)
Sir David Bruce, 7th of Clackmannan (a 1556)

1. King Robert the Bruce II had a cousin Thomas Bruce who became known as Sir Thomas Bruce 1st of Clackmannan. (The exact relationship of King Robert II and Thomas has not been confirmed but many believe it to be cousins. Thomas was possibly the son of Edward Bruce brother to King Robert the Bruce I)

2. Robert Bruce 2nd of Clackmannan.

3. Robert Bruce 3rd of Clackmannan.

4. Sir David Bruce 4th of Clackmannan.

5. John Bruce 5th of Clackmannan.

6. Sir David Bruce 6th of Clackmannan.

7. Sir David Bruce 7th of Clackmannan.

Sir David Bruce, 7th Baron of Clackmannan was born about 1500 and married Janet Blackadder daughter of Sir Patrick Blackadder of Tulliallan. They had 5 sons: John, Edward, Robert, David, Patrick; 4 daughters: Elizabeth, Mariot, Agnes, and Allison.
I understand that it was his 4th son David who moved to Caithness and became David Bruce 1st of Stanstill. This David Bruce obtained the lands of Stanstill in Bower, Caithness by 02 April 1566 from the Earl of Caithness. The history of the Stanstill Bruce family was well documented in the book by Henderson. Over the next 170 years this Bruce family became the Bower Bruce’s of whom Walter Bruce was one. My best effort so far at the line is as follows.

9. William Bruce 2nd of Stanstill and Hastigrow was born before 1574 and died about 1620. He married first to Isabella Mowat. She died in 1601 at Cansbay and had 3 sons and 2 daughters. David (Minister of Olrig) was the oldest then William and Partick. The daughters were Christian and Isabella. Christian married Gavin Bruce of Lyth who was her cousin.

10. William Bruce was the son of David (Minister of Olrig) and became the 3rd of Stanstill. He married Elspet Sinclair (the daughter of Sir John Sinclair of Dunbeath before 1640 but I do not think they had any children.

11. The line becomes a little broken here. Stanstill has gone into debt and the line passes to Saul Bruce of Lyth. Saul is the brother of Gavin Bruce who married Christian who was the daughter of William Bruce 2nd of Stanstill.

12. Saul Bruce of Lyth married a Manson daughter and had 3 sons David, William and Walter. There was also a daughter Marjorie who married a Sinclair. William Bruce succeeded his brother David and had 3 sons Robert, George and William. Robert married Elspeth Sinclair and ended up with Stanstill.(It was now a farm rather than an estate at this time). He had a son William. William married Margaret Sinclair the daughter of David Sinclair of Southdun

13. Walter Bruce became Walter Bruce of Ham. In 1636 he bought the wadset of Ham and Wester from James Sinclair of Rattar. He married 3 times. His first marriage was to Janet. She was the daughter of James Sinclair and Janet Bruce. Walter had 4 children from this marriage John, David (David succeeded John to the estate of Ham but it later went back to Johns daughter Janet), Janet and Elizabeth. His second marriage was to Barbera and has 3 children Walter, William and Rose. (Walter I do not know about, William Bruce of Cowsback had a son Walter and Rose Married Andrew Gunn. Walter Bruce married a third time to Elizabeth Sinclair. They had a daughter Elizabeth Bruce who married William Calder of Lynegar.

14. John Bruce the oldest son succeeded and married Ann Cunningham. They had 2 daughters Janet and Elizabeth. Janet Married Angus Sutherland and had a son William who inherited Ham estate in 1738. There is a record of an Elizabeth Bruce marrying a Gunn at Dirlot in about 1680. It could be this Elizabeth and would be the first link with Dirlot and the Gunns.

Andrew Bruce
15-Feb-09, 15:04
15. Walter Bruce of Cattaig and Dalnachar (200 yards on the other side of the burn from Tacher), was born about 1700-1720 in Bower. Stanstill, Lyth and Ham are all in Bower and he is most likely the grandson of either, Walter or William. William Bruce had a son Walter who could be the father of Walter of Cattaig. He could also be related to William Bruce who took over Stanstill. When you compare the names of David Bruce’s childrens you have Janet, Walter, William, James, John, David, Donald, Isobel, Robert, Margaret, Mary and Alexander. Compare this with the Bower Bruce family of Janet, Walter, William, James, John, David, Isobel, Robert. There is a close match. There are also Angus, George, Marjory and Mangus who match the Latheron Bruce names. They kept these same names generation after generation.

16. The earliest records for Bruce births I have in Latheron are:

Year Parent Child Place

1743 George Bruce John Houstery
1756 David Bruce Alexander Houstery (08 Aug 1756)
1756 William Bruce Ann Acheraseal
1756 David Bruce John Nottingham (24 Aug 1756)
1758 David Bruce Janet Acherastel
1759 David Bruce Walter Acharaskel
1762 David Bruce William Acharashall
1762 Angus Bruce Christian Owag Gaf Berrydale
1764 William Bruce David Acharaseall
1764 David Bruce James Brachungay
1766 David Bruce John Brachungay
1766 Angus Bruce Alexander Garnary
1768 David Bruce David Brachungie (10 Apr 1768)
1769 David Bruce Donald Braehungay (15 Oct 1769)
1770 John Bruce James Houstery (out of wedlock)
1770 Angus Bruce Janet Couchoich of Braemore
1773 David Bruce Isobel Brachungay (26 Sept 1773)

17. The earliest records of marriages in Latheron I have are:

Year Husband Wife Place

1760 James Bruce Elizabeth Gun Both in Acherashall
1761 Angus Bruce Ann Bain Owag Begg and Braymore
1766 John Sutherland Marjory Bruce Ausdale and Acharascall
1774 John Bruce Elizabeth Sutherland Shinval (son of George Bruce?)
1775 James Sutherland Margaret Bruce Golsary and Braehungy
1775 David Bruce Jannet Gunn Braehungry and Houstry (Davids second marriage.

18. From the above information I have concluded that in 1740 there were 2 Bruce families living in the area.

a. Family 1 was headed by George Bruce of Houstry and he had at least 2 sons. John who was born in 1743 and David who was born about 1736.

b. Family 2 was headed by Walter Bruce and he had at least 6 children. William, David, James, Marjory, Margaret and Angus.

19. In 1756 in the same month of August 2 David Bruce’s had each a son. One David Bruce had a son Alexander in Houstery on 08 Aug 1756. I believe therefore that this David is the son of George Bruce also of Houstry.

20. Another David Bruce had a son John in Nottingham, Forse on 24 Aug 1756.

21. This David Bruce and William Bruce could be the sons of Walter Bruce. There are no documents as to when Walter was married or when his sons were born. The only note is the family story of 1746 and the battle of Culloden. This story seams unlikely since that would put the estimated date of birth of Walter’s son David as 1746 which is 10 years too late. David and William were both having children in 1756 so even if they were just 20 years old they would have to be born about 1736 or earlier.

22. It makes more sense that David Bruce first married Margaret Campbell and had their first child John in Nottingham in 1756. It is likely that John died and they moved to Acharashall and his brothers and sisters family (William, James, Margaret and Marjory Bruce) where their next 3 children were born. Janet in 1758, Walter in 1759 and William in 1762. The family then moved to Brachungay where they had a further 4 children. John 1766, David 1768, Donald 1769 and Isobel 1773. Margaret Campbell died about 1774 and David Bruce married Jannet Gunn of Houstry in 1775. He had 4 further children. Robert in 1778, Margaret in 1781, Mary in 1785 and Alexander in 1787.

23. There are other possibilities to explain the records. The Rev George Sutherland thought that David Bruce of Brachungay was the first child of Walter Bruce and that he was born about 1747. A year after the battle of Culloden. It would seem however that David was born by at least 1736 and more likely about 1731. That would put Walters birth year of about 1706.

Hope this is of help with your reserch.

Andrew Bruce

Jillian
08-Oct-09, 22:14
I am a descendant of John Bruce 1837-1904 who left Thurso in 1860 for New Zealand, returned to Thurso in 1863 and married Mary Campbell born 1841, died 1925. They both died in Cheviot, NZ. His father William Bruce born Bower 1801, died Halkirk 1881, married Elizabeth Kennedy at West Ormley 1834. Elizabeth was born 1810.
William's father John Bruce was born 1757(?) married Elizabeth Gunn 1790.
I recently visited Thurso and surrounding areas - just looking at the countryside but not doing serious family history research. I am a NZer now living in Australia. The family tradition of eldest son being named John Bruce has continued for several more generations in NZ, as have the familiar first names. I have just discovered this forum and have been very interested in Andrew's posts. Any links and information about our branch would be greatly appreciated.

lbm1202
12-Jan-12, 13:46
I am a Bruce by birth, and have recently been tracing my father's family line back as far as possible. He was Charles Walter Bruce, born 1886 in Australia, his father was James Bruce[ married to Catherine Smith]born 1855 in Australia, his father was David bruce[ married to Isabella Gunn]born 1829 in Dunbeath, parish of Latheron,Caithness..migrated to Australia in 1854, his father was David Bruce[married to Ann Mackay] born 1789 in Braehungy,parish of Latheron,and his father was David Bruce[ married to Jannet Gunn..Dec 22, 1775] born?????..Imagine my surprise when , by accident, I clicked on to your website and saw the names of my great, great, great grandparents. You do not mention a son, David
by David's second marriage to Jannet Gunn, but it is entered in the Old Parish Records that he was born on 16.10.1789
in Braehungy, and, from 'Scotland's People' I have a printout copy of the death certificates of David Bruce[died 1875] and Ann Mackay[ died 1880] which name that David's parents as David Bruce and Jannet Gunn. I am having difficulty finding more information, and wondered if you might know when David Bruce[ married to Jannet Gunn] was born and who his parents were...was his father the Walter Bruce you mentioned in your post? I would be so grateful for any information you could give me.
Barbara

gh1936
04-Feb-12, 10:15
lbm1202 I have sent you a private message

alexsm
10-Feb-12, 19:04
I was just browsing the latest threads in the forum when I saw Bruce in Latheron. I read through the threads and they proved to be of great interest. Margaret Bruce, the daughter of David Bruce and Jannet Gunn, born in 1781 was my 2X Great Grandmother. She married William Sutherland on 2 Jan 1804 and died in Bruan on 29 May 1870. Her daughter Catherine was my great grandmother. She married John McKenzie and they crofted at Newland s of Clyth. She died on 26 June 1866. Her youngest daughter Mary was my paternal grandmother
She married William Matheson, cabinetmaker of Wick and died in 1926 at Ackergill St Wick.

alexsm
10-Feb-12, 19:06
I was just browsing the latest threads in the forum when I saw Bruce in Latheron. I read through the threads and they proved to be of great interest. Margaret Bruce, the daughter of David Bruce and Jannet Gunn, born in 1781 was my 2X Great Grandmother. She married William Sutherland on 2 Jan 1804 and died in Bruan on 29 May 1870. Her daughter Catherine was my great grandmother. She married John McKenzie and they crofted at Newland s of Clyth. She died on 26 June 1866. Her youngest daughter Mary was my paternal grandmother<BR>She married William Matheson, cabinetmaker of Wick and died in 1926 at Ackergill St Wick.