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Re: McNokairds--The Early Sinclairs of Argyll

Thanks for the research trail.  Iam aware of Black but as I have not consulted him for a number of years it was not apparent that he was you major source.  Still, you deserve much credit for the leg-work and analysis you did.  Nice to be in touch..........Rory.
-----Original Message-----
From: Matheson <zoo@uswest.net>
To: sinclair@jump.net <sinclair@jump.net>
Date: Tuesday, May 11, 1999 3:10 PM
Subject: Re: McNokairds--The Early Sinclairs of Argyll

Hi Rory,
I used George F. Black's Surnames of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning and History as the basis for my article, as I'm sure was obvious.  George Fraser Black (1866-1948) held a PhD, and the above book was published in 1946.  Surnames of Scotland, of course, has become the most authoritative source for Scottish surnames.  This view is held by Sharon L. Krossa, whom I also used as a source.  Ms. Krossa is affiliated with Aberdeen University and maintains a website called "Scottish Names 101" at
I then used the LDS church's database of Scottish Church Records as a means of sorting and collating information, while I also had available to me on microfilm the original, hand-written parish registers.  Through the use of these, I was able to document the transition of the name and "prove" (as far as possible at this point in time) George F. Black's statements regarding Argyll Sinclairs.
Whether they were shinglers or tinklers is not terribly important--what is important is that the Argyll Sinclairs (and those in the Western Isles) had roots in the Clan mac na cearda (gaelic).  The Scots form of this name was McNokaird, and from approximately 1685-1750 the use of McNokaird made its transition to the English Sinclair.  I believe it's important for Sinclairs who trace their roots back to Argyll to have this information.  However, I'm sure that not every single Sinclair in Argyll were McNokairds--some undoubtedly originated in the traditional Sinclair locales.
I agree with you that under the Restoration of the Clans promoted by Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria from 1790-1820, all Sinclairs can unite under the current Clan and Tartan with pride!
I appreciate your interest and your comments.
Karen Matheson
-----Original Message-----
From: Rory Sinclair <rory.sinclair@accglobal.net>
To: sinclair@jump.net <sinclair@jump.net>
Date: Monday, May 10, 1999 9:10 PM
Subject: Re: Sinclairs by mistake?

Hi Karen:
Just read your McNokaird article and a nice piece of work it is.  Congratulations!  It is really very good.
I would add as a codicil to your thesis, however,  the following:
     Alexander MacLean Sinclair was an amazingly well-connected, well-respected scholar both in English and in Gaelic. His work was published both here and in Scotland at  the turn of the century (His 500 page tome on the MacLeans is still in use today) and it is a remarkable achievement when one also considers that the man grew up on an impoverished farm in one of the poorest counties in Nova Scotia (still is).  This does not mean that he could not be wrong nor does it mean that we do not have new information that he did not possess.  But......I do not have the Gaelic and I do not know if you do but it would be nervy of me to contradict Professor Sinclair (a native Gaelic speaker and Gaelic academician) even 100 years after the fact and  state categorically "The Sinclairs of Argyll were not shinglers".  Similarly,  I will not argue with your thesis that they must have been smiths.  "Craftmen" or "people of the craft" I would like to think might include shinglers and if you don't think there's an art to shingling, try doing your own roof next time it needs one. There is veritable skill in roofing and I should know, I am a contractor and I value my roofers as my brothers.    
Professor Sinclair, I think would agree with your general thesis that the Argyll Sinclairs are a different "kettle of fish" and the proof of that is his statement that they are "out-and-out Highlanders".  My opinion is, as I have said elsewhere, that a connection may well be there between the Rosslyn-Caithness Sinclairs and those of Argyll but that opionion and 5 cents would have bought you a coffee in 1946.  Whatever the truth of the connection or not, our Argyll brothers and sisters are members of our family and nothing can change that.
Juli's remark is on the money when in response to "Sinclair's by mistake"  she responds that, looked at another way,  Norman Sinclairs have no claim to be Highland.
Yours aye,                             Rory
-----Original Message-----
From: Matheson <zoo@uswest.net>
To: Mailing List Sinclair <sinclair@jump.net>
Date: Monday, May 10, 1999 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: Sinclairs by mistake?

I believe that is exactly what this means!  However, after the restoration of the clans and the return of the "romance" of the Scots from about 1790-1820ish, Sinclairs from everywhere can unite and claim affiliation with the Sinclair Clan (I believe). :)
Sinclairs in Argyll were not "shinglers."  For more information, read my article "McNokairds: The Early Sinclairs of Argyll" found on the websites maintained by both Paul Sinclair (http://kingcrest.com/sinclair) and John Quarterman (www.mids.org/sinclair/) under Argyll "Origin of Argyll Sinclairs."
Karen Matheson
-----Original Message-----
From: John Duguid <john.duguid@snl.co.uk>
To: sinc <"sinclair@zilker.net"@"sinclair@zilker.net".snl.co.uk>
Date: Monday, May 10, 1999 7:58 AM
Subject: Sinclairs by mistake?

Alexander Sinclairs book states    

>    The Gaelic form of the name Sinclair is Singlear.  The Sinclairs of
>Argyleshire call themselves Clann-na-Cearda or the Children of the craft or
>trade.  It is probable that the name was given them by their neighbours >would
naturally take for gratned that Singlear meant shingler or >flax-dresser.  The
Sinclairs of Argyll are out-and -out Highlanders. >

Forgive me for being obtuse but does this mean that argyle Sinclairs may have
no real clain to be descended from the Norman/Scandiavian Sinclairs?

Yours Aye


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