CHAPTER TWO – The Name McCutcheon:
A Study: the Evolution of a name spanning 255 years:
When trying to research the origins of this very old name, until the end of the 16th century and possibly extending into the early part of the 17th century, I found that the sword was mightier than the pen. Writing was confined to a select few, of whom were men of the cloth or men working in the legal profession. There is almost no personal correspondence to draw from. The amateur genealogist, such as I, has to rely on the few written legal and religious sources that are over exhausted and over transcribed.
And I can’t begin to tell you how over transcribed these documents are. The more historians, both professional and amateurs, who interpreted and typed these documents, the more the distortions and errors appear. With this thought in mind, I am recording the documents that I have found as they have been transcribed. The primary sources I have used are the Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, Register of the Privy Council, Kintyre Papers, Kintyre Rent Rolls, Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, and Kintyre Hearth Tax. Any script that is written in this script and/or behind these [………….]are my comments and observations.
Another problem are the folklore stories promulgated by the old Sheanachies; older historians and newer writers still insist upon the old folklore stories, instead of standing ‘outside the box’ to look beyond those traditional stories for any possible alternate origins and other explanations.
I hope that this name study matched with good solid data presents the ‘outside the box’ point of view that is not exhaustive. This name study is incomplete and solely represents my research and opinions that many may think to be controversial.
There are 3 ways to best understand a surname.
- Etymology of the name.
- Study of the area from where they came.
- DNA testing – Y-DNA at the 67 or 111 level
Arthur Herman says on page 108 in his book ‘How the Scots Invented the Modern World’ that the Scottish highlands are a pitiless landscape of granite mountains and deep gouged-out river valleys covered in a thin crust of topsoil. The poor layer of topsoil could barely support agriculture in that region. Eventually wanderers from Ireland whom the Romans called Scoti (bandits) but called themselves Gael inhabited the Scottish highlands and became the clansmen that were the forerunners of the McCutcheon Clan. The McCutcheon Clan began as hunter-gathers and gallóglach; eventually migrating to greener pastures to become farmers.
The two most famous, populous and brutal clans in the old clan system were the MacDonalds and the Campbells. It is important to note here the difference between a ‘Chief’ and a ‘Chieftain’. A Chief was the head of the whole name; a Chieftain was the head of an established branch. An example would be Colin MacHutchone (or McEacharne depending on who the transcriber was) was possibly a Chieftain of an established branch of either the MacDonalds and/or the Campbells. This has not ever been officially recognized by either clan.
Andrew McKerral states in his book Kintyre in the 17th Century that from the 1505 Rental rolls he was able to determine the principle Kintyre families in the fifteenth century. Two of the 9 families he listed are the Maceachans of Tangy [a McDonald stronghold] and the Maceachrans of Kilellan. The primary source that he cited actually spelled the name as M’Gachyn, M’Gachin, M’Gachane.
THE REST OF THE STUDY IS published under Chapter 2. At the moment it is sitting at 24 pages in length and contains a lot of old historical data……