Surrounded by MacDonalds

by David Ferguson

My cousin Frank once wrote about a report issued in Scotland that projected that in the future everyone in the world would be named Macdonald or descended from a Macdonald. “In other words,” Frank wrote, “they’re predicting the best of all possible worlds.”

That world just came much closer.

On my mother’s side of the family, the Macdonald connection is clear. And if anyone were uncertain about it, the spirit of Jack D would likely appear to set things straight.

On my father’s side of the family, though, I’d known about MacDougals and MacIsaacs and MacFarlanes. Then, just a few weeks ago, I came across a family genealogy posted by a Donald MacFarlane.

The extensive family tree he’s created shows, first of all, that he has a connection to Mrs. Mattie (born around 1890). Her parents were John MacDougall (born around 1870) and Catherine MacLennan (born around 1870).

And Catherine’s parents were Roderick MacLennan (born around 1850) and Catherine MacFarlane (born before 1847).

The significance is that Catherine MacFarlane (Hughie Ferguson’s great-grandmother), according to Donald MacFarlane’s website, is a direct descendant of Ranald MacDonald (1352 – 1389), the son of John MacDonald, Lord of the Isles. Ranald is the namesake of the MacDonalds of Clanranald.

Ranald’s father was John, Lord of the Isles; John’s father was Angus Og MacDonald; Angus Og’s father was Angus Mor MacDonald.

And Angus Mor’s father was Donald, son of Ranald, who in turn was the son of Sorley (or Somhairle, or Somerled). Even that Trump guy would have to concede that this is THE Donald of all Donalds.

That Donald (1190 – 1269) is the namesake for all of Clan Donald.

If all this research is right — and you can’t always be sure they kept meticulous records three hundred years before Columbus — then it’s 21 generations from the father of all MacDonalds to Mrs. Mattie.

Frank: Frank Macdonald, son of Freddie Macdonald and Catherine Gillies
My mother: Greet Macdonald, daughter of Jack D Macdonald and Annie Belle Rankin
Mattie: Mattie Ferguson, father of Hughie Ferguson
Mrs. Mattie: Sarah MacDougall, wife of Mattie Ferguson
John MacDougall: father of Sarah MacDougall
Catherine MacLennan: wife of John MacDougall, mother of Sarah MacDougall
Roderick MacLennan: father of Catherine MacLennan
Catherine MacFarlane: wife of Roderick MacLennan, mother of Catherine MacLennan

To visit Donald MacFarlane’s genealogy site, click here.

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