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MacTavish Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: NON OBLITUS (Not forgetful)

Allow me to unveil the fascinating tapestry of your family, the MacTavishes, a tale rooted in ancient lands and noble lineage. Your family’s ancestral origins trace back to County Donegal, Ireland, where the revered “Boar Kings” reigned over that ancient realm. The name MacTavish finds its roots in the Donegal name MacGiollatSamahais, meaning ‘Devotee of Saint Thomas the Apostle’. Across time, your forebears were known as the Ouenniknioi or Windukatii in the second century, referred to as the Cenél nDuach or People of the Oak, and their monarchs held the title of Uircc or Orc, symbolizing the Boars. The lineage traces its heritage to Nuada Anmchahd, the last King of Guill and Irguill, whose valorous spirit graced the Battle of the Hill of Allen in 718 AD.

The annals of your Irish ancestors, the Sil Ninnidh, or Race of the Cenél nDuach Boar King Ninnidh, recount their prowess as “fierce routers of the enemy” during the Battle of Mag Rath in 637 AD. By 893 AD, your family’s presence was firmly established in Dun an Árdrigh, Dunardry, where they aligned with King Donald II in his campaign against the Vikings. Your forefathers navigated the flux of Scotland’s history, preserving their territorial holdings amidst challenges from the invading Danes, as chronicled by Duncan McBride in 1793.

While the MacTavishes of Dunardry eventually became vassals of the Campbell Earls, later Dukes, of Argyll in the fifteenth century, your clan’s legacy remained steadfast. Archibald MacTavish and his son, Dugald the younger, courageously distanced themselves from the Campbells during the Jacobite uprising of 1745. Their convictions led them to imprisonment at Dumbarton Castle, a testament to their unwavering dedication. However, the passage of time brought challenges, and in 1785, your family relinquished much of their ancestral Knapdale lands due to the construction of the Crinan Canal. Amidst change, your family’s fortitude endured.

The last MacTavish Chief to hold the ancestral lands was Lachlan MacTavish, whose legacy took a new direction. Pressures mounted, leading to the public auction of Dunardry. Yet, your family’s story embraced a fresh chapter as Lachlan received a Royal appointment as Surveyor and Governor General of the Tax Department for Widows and Orphans at St James Court, Edinburgh. This change of scenery marked a new beginning, while the echoes of your family’s resilience continue to resound through time.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: NON OBLITUS (Not forgetful)

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