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The Buchan Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: NON INFERIORA SECUTUS (not having followed mean pursuits)

Let me share the captivating history of your family name, Buchan. Your family derives its name from the district of Buchan, pronounced Buh-can, located in the northeastern part of Aberdeenshire and a portion of Banffshire. The ancient earldom of Buchan was originally held by the Comyns, but they were later stripped of their title after their defeat by Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Independence. The Earldom was subsequently granted to Alexander Stewart, an illegitimate son of King Robert II. Now, turning to the surname itself, records indicate that Ricardus de Buchan served as a clerk to the bishopric of Aberdeen around 1207. William de Buchan owned some land in Aberdeen prior to 1281, and Sir Thomas de Boghan, whose lands were located near Edinburgh, is listed on the Ragman Roll of 1296, where he pledged homage to Edward I of England. The exact date when the Buchans acquired the lands of Auchmacoy is uncertain. While it is possible that the family held these lands since the early 14th century, it was not until 1503 that Andrew, widely regarded as the second chief, received a charter for the lands from James IV.

Throughout the 17th century, your family, the Buchans, staunchly supported the Stuarts. In 1686, Thomas, the third son of James Buchan of Auchmacoy, received a commission as a colonel in the Earl of Mar’s regiment from James VII and joined forces with Viscount Dundee to fight for their deposed monarch. After Dundee’s demise at the Battle of Killiecrankie, Buchan assumed command of the Jacobite forces in 1689. However, he suffered defeat at the Battle of Cromdale in 1690 against a formidable government army led by General Mackay. Undeterred, Buchan regrouped and initiated further offensives. His troops marched toward Aberdeen but encountered opposition from the Master of Forbes. Buchan then redirected his forces toward Inverness, only to be intercepted once again by General Mackay. Ultimately, Buchan was permitted to go into exile in France but continued to fight for the Stuart cause at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. He passed away in 1721.

In April 1830, James Buchan, the 14th of Auchmacoy, was officially recognized as the chief of the name by the Lord Lyon. Subsequently, the title passed to Sir Norman Sinclair, the 18th Earl of Caithness, who assumed the surname and arms of Buchan of Auchmacoy in 1913. The chief’s residence remains at Auchmacoy House near Ellon. Notably, in 1935, John Buchan, the acclaimed author of ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps,’ was appointed Governor General of Canada and was granted the title of the first Baron Tweedsmuir.

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Family Crest Motto: NON INFERIORA SECUTUS (not having followed mean pursuits)

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