Gunn history; 'Clan Gunn Society' history and St Donan's Day
St Donan's Day is tomorrow and it is an event much celebrated by the Clan Gunn Society even though it has nothing to do with any academically based Gunn history.
By this I mean St Donan had nothing to do with Kildonan in Sutherland. One has to consider the traditional Gaelic name for Kildonan - and it has nothing to do with St Donan. If St Donan had impact on the Kildonan area then it is logical to assume the traditional name would show it. As well, the lives of the saints on the west coast are quite well documented, including St Donan, but there is no paperwork for him visiting what is now Sutherland. And we are talking the 600s here - moving from the west coast of Scotland to Sutherland would be like visiting Mars today. For more see http://clangunn.weebly.com/on-saint-donan--saint-donnan-and-on-kildonan-having-nothing-to-do-with-him.html
Which gets to the point of this entry. There are basically two Gunn histories now operating -
'Professor Carole Hough, Professor of Onomastics at Glasgow University, said most (Scottish) surnames came from a place, an occupation, a relationship, or a characteristic.'
The origin of the Gunn name is from a place (northern Highlands) and that place had a characteristic people ('prickly'). As said, to believe that all Scottish surnames are clan names is simplistic nonsense. The Gunn name being of a regional / characteristic origin is not an unusual idea if one considers all Scottish surnames.
I note the title of the seminal Gunn history text is 'The Gunns' and not 'Clan Gunn'. Given 'The Gunns' was published in 1890 it provides incidental support for the idea that even in the late 1800s the Gunns were not axiomatically viewed as being 'Clan Gunn'. The idea Gunns are a clan is very questionable; see http://clangunn1.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/are-gunns-clan-chief-implications.html
I have just placed a detailed discussion here http://clangunn.weebly.com/are-gunns-a-clan-2-chief-implications.html discussing whether Gunns are really a clan. If Gunns are not historically / academically a clan then a 'Clan Gunn Chief' is a highly questionable position...