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Prominent McGregors through the ages
Sifting through the rumours to find the facts...
Meet Prof Richard McGregor
Richard E McGregor is the Emeritus Professor at the University of Cumbria who teaches at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, and who is also the Chairman of Council of the Clan Gregor Society of Scotland.
As part of his close connections with the Society, Richard is currently responsible for coordinating the Clan Gregor DNA Project.
The story so far...
Finding out about research into Clan Gregor
Clan-based research takes many forms and much depends on what question has to be answered.
Research in Clan Gregor is made more complex by the fact that we are dealing with related surnames, aliases and sept names (there is a separate article on this website that explains the differences). Everyone who starts searching wants to know where they came from and that is our starting point.
In the Clan Gregor Society we are most concerned to offer advice and knowledge about the clan which is accurate, historically correct and informed rather than based on speculation and assumption. Even though Scotland’s history means that there are gaps in the records which can frustrate the researcher, we can still help with finding the origins of a family.
Family history and genealogy is important but at some point the paper trails begin to falter – not least because MacGregors had to change their surnames and adopt aliases – but there are plenty of rarely used sources and now with DNA analysis too we can know more and more about our forebears.
Researching your own family can be very rewarding!
It is always best to investigate your own family.
To begin you need to ask questions of older relatives – what do they know of people, dates and places. Their memories can be supplemented by research in the repositories of birth, marriage and death records and then the annual census returns, which for Scotland start in 1841 (although in most cases ages were rounded down in that year) every 10 years right through to 1911 (with the 1921 census due to be released in early 2022).
There are similar census returns in other countries. Websites such as Ancestry and Findmypast can be very useful in helping to identify possible ancestors but beware of ‘facts’ that are posted but which are actually based on assumption. This is a very common occurrence.
For instance, apparently Rob Roy MacGregor was born in Glasgow in 1671 but there is no Glasgow entry – it was an early transcription error when the parish registers were first put onto microfiche. In fact, Rob Roy was christened in Buchanan parish Stirlingshire, and that entry does exist in the original.
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