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Little Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: CONCEDO NULLI (I yield my trust to no one)

Let me share the history of your family, the Littles, and their Scottish background. The name Little is believed to be descriptive, meaning ‘small’, and can be found in Latin documents as ‘Parvus’. However, it is challenging to pinpoint the exact origin of the name in Scotland. In the earlier years, Hugo Parvus served as a clerk to the king during the reign of William the Lion before 1214. There is also a mention of Hugo Parvus as a burgess of Dundee around 1202, although it is uncertain if they are the same individual. In 1368, Nichol Litil served the Earl of Douglas on the West Marches.

Your family, the Littles, established themselves in the Borders region of Scotland, holding lands at Meikledale, Sorbie, and Kirkton in Ewesdale. They became known as one of the riding clans in the Borders. Edward of Meikledale supported Sir William Wallace in upholding Scotland’s independent rights against the oppressive efforts of Edward I of England.

In later years, James I confirmed the lands of Meikledale to Simon Little. The royal government grew wary of the strength of the riding clans, leading to the execution of the leader of the Armstrong family by James V. James deceived him and others into attending a seemingly peaceful meeting. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI aimed to quell unrest in the Border region, doing so with ruthless determination. Like many other Borders families, the Littles were dispersed, and a significant number of them emigrated to Ulster and further afield to places like North America, New Zealand, and Australia.

One notable figure among the Scottish Littles is Clement Little, who lived from 1527 to 1580. He was a successful lawyer and the son of a wealthy Edinburgh merchant, also named Clement. The elder Clement supplied goods to the royal court and nobility. Clement Jr. rose through the Scottish legal system and became involved in court politics and the religious struggles following the Reformation of 1560 as a devout Protestant. His most significant contribution was the donation of a library of 268 valuable texts to the Burgh of Edinburgh, forming the core of the library for the new University of Edinburgh.

While there has been no recognized chief of the family since the late seventeenth century, there is an active Clan Little society today. It is estimated that approximately 45,000 families across the English-speaking world share the name Little and are connected to your family’s lineage.

As you delve into the history of your family, the Littles, you discover a legacy that spans centuries and reaches far beyond the borders of Scotland. From the early days of Hugo Parvus and Nichol Litil, to the brave support of Sir William Wallace and the dispersal of the Borders families, your ancestors have left their mark on Scottish history. Notably, Clement Little’s contributions to education and culture stand as a testament to the enduring impact of the Littles. While there may not be a recognized chief today, the active Clan Little society and the widespread connections among families bearing the name Little showcase the continued bond and pride in your family’s lineage. As you cherish the stories of your forebears, may the spirit of the Littles inspire you to embrace the values of resilience, curiosity, and community, shaping the legacy you leave for future generations.

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Family Crest Motto: CONCEDO NULLI (I yield my trust to no one)

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