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The Dundas Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: ESSAYEZ (try)

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family, the Dundas. The ancestry of your family can be traced back to Elias, the son of Uhtred, a younger son of the exiled Anglo-Saxon lord, Gospatrick, Earl of Northumberland. The lands of Dundas, located near Edinburgh on the southern banks of the Firth of Forth, hold significant historical significance. In Gaelic, the placename “dun deas” translates to “south fort.”

It was around 1165 when Elias of Dundas, son of Uhtred, received the lands of Dundas from William the Lion. It is from this man that most individuals with the surname Dundas presumably descend. In the 1240s, Ranulf of Dundas, likely Elias’s son, is mentioned. Subsequently, Serlo (or Saer) of Dundas and Robert of Dundas appear on the Ragman Roll of Scottish nobles in 1296, submitting to Edward I of England. The family managed to weather the storms of the Wars of Independence without suffering significant losses.

Moving ahead in time, Sir Archibald Dundas became a favorite of James III and was entrusted with crucial missions to England. Sadly, the king passed away before he could bestow a high rank upon his trusted ambassador. Nonetheless, James IV bestowed lands upon the Dundas family, including the island of Inchgarvie.

The Dundas family branched into various lines, including Dundas of Blair Castle, Arniston, Duddingston, and Fingask. William Dundas of Kincavel, an ancestor of the Dumlases of Blair, was a Jacobite who faced imprisonment for his involvement in the rising of 1715. Sir James Dundas, the first of Arniston, served as the governor of Berwick during the reign of James VI. His eldest son, Sir James Dundas, was knighted by Charles I in 1641.

One of the notable figures in your family’s history is Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville, who played a prominent role in Scottish politics following the failure of the 1745 rising. He held significant influence and was even dubbed the “Uncrowned King of Scotland.” His efforts led to the reinstatement of many forfeited estates and the lifting of the ban on the wearing of tartan. The statue of Henry Dundas stands on a prominent column in the center of Edinburgh.

Sir David Dundas, born in Edinburgh in 1735, achieved great distinction as a soldier and rose to become the commander-in-chief of the British Army in 1809. Other branches of the family also received noble titles, including Sir Thomas Dundas of Kerse, who became Lord Dundas of Skea in 1794. His descendants later became Earls and then Marquesses of Zetland. Admiral Sir Charles Dundas of Dundas, the twenty-eighth chief of the clan, served as a principal naval transport officer during the First World War.

Today, while the present chief of the Dundas family resides abroad, many significant Dundas houses, including Dundas Castle and the splendid eighteenth-century mansion of Arniston, still serve as homes for members of the family. Your family, the Dundas, holds a rich and illustrious history, with notable figures and contributions spanning several generations.

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Family Crest Motto: ESSAYEZ (try)

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