Origins of the Scott Clan

Work on the history of our Scott ancestors was largely carried out by the late Edith Colburn Scott, my grandfather’s sister-in-law. Her collaborative efforts have been published in the two volume History and Descendants of Jacob Scott – John Scott (1782-1996).┬áThe material on this page owes much of its content to Edith’s work.

The earliest known Scott among my ancestors is James Scott. James was born in the early 1700s in Northern Ireland. Although no one has conclusively traced his line back much further, we do know that he was a Scots Presbyterian. The Scots of Norther Ireland were sent by England to subdue and dilute the Irish population, in the hopes that the rebellious Celts would chafe less violently at London’s leash. The bloody reaction to that disenfranchisement continued into modern times.

There are two possibilities about the surname of Scott, both plausible in light of the historical situation. First, the name could have been given to any Scot who settled in Ireland, simply as a way of referring to the settler’s geographic origins. The second possibility is that our Scott ancestors were members of Clan Scott, a borders clan from the southern marches of Scotland. It seems to me that by the 1700s most people had adopted fairly stable surnames, and that the more likely option is that our ancestors were from Clan Scott.

Clan Scott is centered in the aptly-named Borders, a region often called the Lowlands that lies near the border with England. The most common symbol of Clan Scott is the Clan Badge (shown here). The badge shows the clan chief’s coat of arms, a Stag, surrounded by a leather strap and inscribed with the chief’s motto, Amo. This word means “I Love” in Latin, or it could be a Scotch word meaning “among” or “in the middle”, referring to the location of Clan Scott’s historical riding grounds. Another common sign of Clan Scott, as with the other Scottish families, is the tartan, a simple square design. The Scott tartan has at least eleven different color and pattern variations. You can see the red tartan in the title of this site.

James, the son of James Scott, was born in 1743 at Donaghmore, Ireland. He married Sarah Scott (also of Donaghmore). Their son Jacob Scott is the first member of the family about whom we have any substantial history.

| September 25th, 2014 | Posted in Family SCOTT |

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