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Nicolson Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: GENEROSITATE (by generosity)

Let me unravel the captivating tale of your family’s heritage, the Nicolsons, a name steeped in Norse origins. The very essence of the name reflects the lineage of ‘son of Nicol’ or ‘son of Nicholas,’ which resonates with the victorious spirit. Clan Nicolson, rooted in the Lowlands, has a notable connection with the Highland Clan MacNeacail, often adopting the name Nicolson when venturing south. The historical narrative showcases diverse forms of the name, from FitzNicol in 1296 to Nicholai in Glasgow around 1420.

The threads of your family’s story stretch back to the time of Haakon IV, the last Norse king to make a significant mark in Scotland. In his entourage was Anders Nicolassen, a pivotal figure and chief baron. Nicolassen’s name echoes through time as he played a role in the tumultuous events of 1263, when the Norsemen clashed with Scottish forces. Although defeated, Nicolassen’s saga took an intriguing twist as he settled in Scotland, supposedly after participating as an envoy in the Treaty of Perth in 1266, which relinquished Hebridean sovereignty to the Scottish kings.

Venturing closer to your family’s time, James Nicolson, a prominent lawyer in Edinburgh, left his mark in the late 16th century. His marriage to Janet Swinton, hailing from the ancient Borders family, marked the beginning of a legacy. The couple’s two sons, John and James, followed diverse paths, with John ascending as an advocate and James embracing the Church, briefly serving as the bishop of Dunkeld in 1606.

John’s journey reached new heights through the acquisition of Lasswade lands in 1592, setting the stage for a prominent line. His son, John, achieved the coveted distinction of Baronet of Nova Scotia, assuming the title of Nicolson of that Ilk and Lasswade in 1629. Despite the direct male line waning in 1826, a branch nurtured in Shetland by Bishop James’ grandson carried the mantle forward.

The legacy continued to flourish as another baronetcy found its place in the Nicolson story. The year 1637 witnessed Thomas Nicolson’s elevation to the 1st Baronet of Carnock near Stirling, thus threading a tale of aristocratic lineage.

Generations unfolded, bearing their own tales of service and distinction. Major General Sir William Nicolson’s diverse expeditions in America, India, Ireland, and Mauritius etched his name in history. His son, Admiral Sir Frederick Nicolson, seamlessly transitioned into prominence. Diplomat Arthur, carrying forth the family’s tradition of excellence, was bestowed with honors during his illustrious career. His elevation to Baron Carnock of Carnock in 1916 marked a glorious chapter.

The family’s legal prowess continued to shine, as the 4th Lord Carnock embraced a career in London’s legal realm. The year 1985 witnessed a momentous milestone as the arms were matriculated and recognized by the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, heralding Nicolson of that Ilk’s ascension as chief of Clan Nicolson. Additionally, the esteemed Chief recognized Nicolson of Scorrybreac as Macnicol of Macnicol, symbolizing the enduring unity between the branches.

In essence, your family’s journey is a tapestry woven with resilience, achievement, and honor, a legacy that continues to shine with a sense of pride and distinction.

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