I've altered my page on the Highland Clearances as I am currently working through the following for the history -
Professor Eric Richards The Highland Clearances
Professor Eric Richards Patrick Sellar and the Highland Clearances
ed. R. J. Adam Papers on the Sutherland Estate Management 1802- 1816
and the Sutherland estate papers held in the National Library of Scotland
the Sutherland estate seems paternalistic, patronising and often incompetent but not all that bad. It was certainly not involved with arbitrary ethnic cleansing as far too many believe.
Large parts of Mark Rugg Gunn's Chapter 17 are questionable; not least 'The way was now clear for the wholesale Sutherland clearances, a chapter of tragedy and inhumanity as black as any in Scottish history and nowhere did the axe fall more heavily than on the land of the Gunns' Page 211.
Hmm. The whole estate was treated equally as shown by the archives so it's not just the Gunns. And certainly all those involved with the later evictions were offered land on the coast in the fishing villages (mainly in Helmsdale or Brora) or other options (and the earlier evictions were also treated with humanity but less competence) - in exchange; and had free rent for over a year before they were evicted, and rent arrears were wiped and lots more.
It is, of course, a fine thing to seek Scottish ancestry, and engaging with all aspects of Scottish history and culture is to be encouraged – but it must be done in the full knowledge that much of the mythology about clans, surnames, tartans and the like is just that.
Dr Bruce Durie.
'What is a Clan' is an excellent article by Dr Bruce Durie (previously Professor of Genealogy at Strathclyde University) published by Bletherskite http://www.bletherskite.net/2013/10/04/what-is-a-clan-by-dr-bruce-durie/#comment-21492 . It is concerned with - and shares much of my views about - the myths in Clan history / genealogy.
A flavour of the article is as follows -
3. Clans were territorial, accepting the authority of the dominant local grouping and looking to that chief as the patriarch, head, principal landowner, defender, military commander and dispenser of justice. Dependent families and individuals would often adopt the clan name as an indicator of affiliation and fealty to the Chief, so very often there is no genetic descent from a common ancestor or from the chiefly house – a vexed issue in the modern day of DNA test and genetic genealogy.
4.The first known divisions of Scotland (other than the “tribes” identified second-hand in Ptolemy’s Geography and Tacitus’s Agricola) were territorial, but with some reference to kinship
5. Actual kinship was not the issue so much as geographical co-locality. The original concept of heritage bound up with the clan was not surname. At this point, and well into the 13th Century, surnames (in the sense of passing unchanged from fathers to sons) were a rarity.
And a lot more - it is obvious how it fits much of the Gunn history on this website. I shall incorporate the key passages on to the relevant webpages...