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Re: Niven

At 13:30 23/03/00 +0200, you wrote:
Is  the book "St Clairs of the Isles" relevant only to
the the St Clairs or is it also relevant to Sinclairs as well?
In your fascinating statement a few weeks ago that there are
15 branches of Sinclair that eventuate from the Orkneys, how
many of these are covered in the above Book?
Mark Anderson
Cape Town

Sinclairs/St Clairs/St Clares/Sinklar/Sinkler/St Clare/St Claro/St Clayr/St Cler
and any of the other 70 variants have all been found as one researches for

It is all the same family.

We have also to keep in mind that many Sinclairs eventually adopted the
name of their holdings to differentiate them from the other Sinclairs around.
My own grandfather was always known as David Lappan and, of course,
the present Earl of Caithness, is known as Malcolm Caithness rather than
Malcolm Sinclair.

In this way, the Sinclairs of Stapleton in Somerset eventually became known
as Stapletons and, because of the tendency of Sinclairs to produce daughters
rather than male heirs, much of their property (particularly in England) went
over to the Gages, the Lowells, the Coles etc. who all benefited largely from
marrying Sinclair heiresses.

When I eventually 'retire' , I intend to write about the Sinclairs of England
because, with our pre-occupation with all things Scottish, we tend to forget
about the European dimension of the Sinclairs.  From the "St Clairs of the
Isles"  we read:

                "All that was highest in marriage, lands, or office
                 they had in England for nearly a Century after the
                 Conquest, and the glow of their fame, and their
                 physical and intellectual powers kept them high for
                 centuries afterwards in a way rare to any one
                 particular lineage".

We have also to keep in mind the paragenetic Sinclairs i.e. those who,
by reason for the absurd custom of women taking their husbands' names
on marriage, give birth to children of a different name although the
matrilineal genes are invariably the stronger and certainly the more

During my own 30 years in Africa I stayed mainly in the Southern Province
of (what is now) Tanzania where the tribes followed the matrilineal custom
e.g. the Chief's son was not the next Chief.  That honour fell to the Chief's
sister's son.

After all "it is a wise man who knows his own father".