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Livingstone (Livingston) Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: SI JE PUIS (If I can)

Let me tell you the fascinating history of your family, the Livingstones, and their Scottish roots. Legend has it that a Saxon named Leving acquired lands in West Lothian in the 12th century during the reign of David I. Representatives of the name Leving can be found in documents from that period. Your ancestor, Sir Archibald de Levingestoune, rendered homage to Edward I of England in 1296.

Sir Archibald’s son, James, was taken prisoner alongside David II at the Battle of Durham in 1346 but was later released. As a Commissioner for the King’s release from English captivity, he was granted the Barony of Callendar. Over the following centuries, the Livingston family held the earldoms of Callendar, Linlithgow, and Newburgh.

Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar was appointed a guardian of James II, and his son, Sir James, became Captain of Stirling Castle and Lord Chamberlain of Scotland, assuming the title of Lord Livingston. Alexander, the 5th Lord Livingstone, accompanied Mary Queen of Scots to France, where he passed away. In 1599, Alexander, the 7th Lord Livingston, was granted the title of Earl of Linlithgow.

James Livingston, a younger son of Alexander, 1st Earl of Linlithgow, was bestowed with the title of Earl of Callendar by Charles I. The titles eventually merged, but due to the Livingstons’ support of the Jacobite Cause during the 1715 Uprising, the titles were forfeited.

The small Highland Clan of Livingston initially carried a Gaelic name spelled in various ways, such as MacDunsleibh, Mac-an-Leigh, or MacLea. The consolidation occurred when Sir William Livingston of Skirling, the Keeper of the Privy Seal for Charles I, was granted a 57-year lease on Achanduin Castle, known locally as the ‘Bishop’s Castle,’ situated on the island of Lismore. The clansfolk of Lismore had previously tried to avoid involvement with the surrounding clans, such as the Stewarts of Appin, the Macleans, and the Macdougalls, but rallied around Livingston of Skirling.

The Chief’s Charter for lands dates back to 1544 and confirms their status as the Hereditary Keeper of the Pastoral Staff of St Moluag, an Irish missionary born around 520. Upon his death, the staff was entrusted to the family, who became almoners to Lismore Cathedral and subsequently Barons of Bachuil. In 1950, a Lyon Court judgment declared that the Custodian of the Staff is the Co-Arb of Saint Moluag and a Baron in the Baronage of Argyll and the Isles.

In addition to the noble lineage, your family has renowned explorers among its ranks. David Livingstone (1813-73), born in Blantyre, joined the London Missionary Society and embarked on explorations from the Cape of Good Hope to Zambesi, venturing further into Central Africa. Charles Livingstone (1821-73), brother of David Livingstone, accompanied his brother on the African expedition and later immigrated to America.

So, as a member of the Livingstone family, you have an illustrious heritage with connections to territorial lands, notable titles, and even renowned explorers.

As you uncover the captivating history of your family, the Livingstones, you are transported through time, tracing a lineage that spans centuries and reaches far beyond the borders of Scotland. From the legendary figure of Leving acquiring lands in West Lothian to the esteemed titles of Earl of Callendar, Linlithgow, and Newburgh, your ancestors have left an indelible mark on Scottish nobility. The Livingstone legacy is adorned with the valorous tales of Sir Alexander Livingston, the guardian of James II, and the astute Lord Chamberlain of Scotland, Sir James.

Amidst the rich heritage, you find the heart of the small Highland Clan of Livingston, weaving tales of the Gaelic roots and their rallying around Sir William Livingston of Skirling. The cherished traditions of the Hereditary Keeper of the Pastoral Staff of St. Moluag, the Barons of Bachuil, and the connection to Lismore Cathedral add a unique and revered dimension to your family’s history.

Beyond the noble titles and territorial lands, your family boasts explorers of great renown, including the adventurous spirit of David Livingstone, whose expeditions in Africa left an indelible mark on the world. Charles Livingstone’s journey alongside his brother, David, speaks of the Livingstone family’s unyielding spirit of exploration and discovery.

As a member of the Livingstone family, you carry within you a legacy of valor, curiosity, and adventure. May the stories of your ancestors inspire you to embrace their spirit and create your own remarkable journey, adding to the tapestry of the Livingstone heritage for generations to come.


The Family Crest

Wherever in the world you live, embrace your family heritage and adorn your home with a timeless symbol of your family legacy with our crafted Family Crests.

Family Crest Motto: SI JE PUIS (If I can)



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