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Re: Argyll Sinclairs

-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Sinclair <dmsin@mpx.com.au>
To: Sinclair Mailing List <sinclair@zilker.net>
Date: Thursday, September 03, 1998 4:47 AM

Thanks for your message Rick Sinclair.
Kilmartin is at the top end of Loch Awe, whilst Dalmally is at the other end. Lochgilphead is nearby Kilmartin. Do you have any further information on how or where these Sinclairs got to Argyll.
As far as i'm aware none of my Sinclairs went to North America.
Cheers, Donald Sinclair
And a cheery hello! to you, Donald.
Years ago, when I was trying to trace my greatgrandfather James Richard Monro Sinclair, and even obtained the services of a professional to this end, all I got was the name and birth data on a "James Sinclair" in Argyllshire, by a lake.  Since other evidence  available even at that time pointed to Caithness, I felt there should be more information available, and in time, there was.
I joined the Clan Sinclair Assn (USA) in 1978, and one of the first fruits of that investment was a letter sent to my uncle, James Moncreiff Sinclair, from a Tennessee cousin who said that middle name was in his family, too.  The joy at finding an actual near-relative was exceeded after Rick and I established communications, when he send me a 5-lb package containing our great-grandfather's  autobiography and lots of other information on the family going back to Caithness and beyond.  I have since read St Clair of the Isles and other works which discuss the Caithness, Orkney and Shetland families and have made contact with a lady in Australia who is descended from one of the latter group.
Back to the Argyll Sinclairs, I found an article in the Highlander Magazine several years ago, which was based on research by a group in the Loch Awe and Islands
area, which concluded that the very old Sinclair families in that valley achieved their name from the Gaelic for "armorer", several notable individuals of their ancestry having been men who were skilled at making and repairing armor for the Donald chiefs.  The "Sinclair" got started when Hebridean families were having to convert from Gaelic.  Since the word for "tinsmith (metalsmith, etc)" sounded like
"Tinckler", which was the English pronunciation of "St Clair", who were by this time mostly using "Sinclair" in other parts of Scotland, it was presumed that the families in question were becoming "Sinclairs" in a perfectly legitimate way, if not by blood.  The Sinclair my geneologist came up with was undoubtedly one of the men who left his Western sea loch and moved down the coast to another place with an even larger lake.
I don't know how many Sinclairs have heard this explanation, but it seems plausible enough.  I know the origins of my Sinclair tribe from early French history has enough facts going for it that it's rarely questioned.  This is all I know about the Argyll family, however.
Ray Lower
Folsom, California (third generation on my father's side)