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MacNab Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: TIMOR OMNIS ABESTO (let fear be far from all)

Allow me to unfold the captivating tale of your family, the MacNabs, an esteemed legacy intricately woven through the annals of time. The very essence of your name, Macnab, derives from the Gaelic ‘Mac An Aba’, a name of honor translating to ‘child of the abbot’. Tradition holds that the esteemed progenitor of your great clan was none other than the abbot of Glendochart and Strathearn, a remarkable figure who bore a connection to the lineage of King Kenneth Macalpin. This rich ancestry traced its roots back to Abaruadh, known as the ‘Red Abbot’, a descendant of a nephew of St. Fillan, the revered founder of Glendochart’s 7th-century monastery.

Angus Macnab, a pivotal figure in your lineage, shared a bond of brotherhood with John Comyn, whose tragic fate befell him in 1306 at the hands of Robert the Bruce. United with the Macdougalls in opposition to the king, the Macnabs found themselves ensnared in a tempestuous time. The aftermath of Bruce’s triumph at Bannockburn in 1314 dealt a blow to your family, leading to forfeited lands and shattered charters. Yet, a glimmer of restoration surfaced in 1336 when Angus’ grandson, Gilbert, received a charter from David II, heralding a renewed chapter for the clan.

In the steadfast loyalty to the Stuarts, your family found a cause to rally behind. ‘Smooth John,’ the respected chief, orchestrated their alignment with Montrose, contributing to a resounding victory at Kilsyth. His leadership extended to garrisoning Montrose’s very own Kincardine Castle. Even in the face of adversity, General Lesley’s siege, and a harrowing capture followed by escape from the jaws of execution, your ancestors remained unwavering.

The ebb and flow of history took its course, and the fortunes of your clan navigated turbulent tides. While the later Stuarts didn’t secure your chiefs’ support, a number of clansmen raised their swords for the ‘Old Pretender’. In 1745, the 15th chief found himself imprisoned by Jacobite forces after the Battle of Prestonpans, a testament to the complexities of allegiance.

Within the heart of your lineage emerges individuals of great influence. The 16th chief, Francis Macnab, was renowned for his role in the world of whisky, yet he’s better known as ‘The Macnab’ through Raeburn’s portrait, a symbol of stature. As the pages of history turned, Archibald, his nephew, embraced the mantle of leadership, striving to steer your estate clear of debt’s grip. In the year 1823, the weight of financial burden pressed upon your family, propelling Archibald’s flight to Canada to evade debts.

Emerging as the 18th chief was Sarah Anne, a figure whose story is etched with remarkable individuality. While she held the chiefship, she remained unmarried and ventured to distant Italy, leaving her own unique mark. Yet, the torch of leadership continued, passed to James William Macnab, ensuring your family’s journey marches on with resilience and pride. Your family’s legacy speaks of tenacity, honor, and a spirit that stands resolute in the face of challenges.

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Family Crest Motto: TIMOR OMNIS ABESTO (let fear be far from all)

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