This story was sent to us by Douglas Henry, the genealogist of his family. Using MyHeritage Douglas has brought together many family members and has even got a great deal of them to start their own family tree on the site. This is what he had to tell us:
I became excited about our family history as a young child. I had a great uncle, (my dads uncle), who used to tell many stories about our Scottish heritage, his father being conceived in Scotland and born in Canada. As I grew older, I became even more curious about our family ancestors, and the name of our Clan and wondered if our last name had changed over time. Around 2003, I was told about a couple of websites on which I could search our family in Scotland on which I found several family names. I researched many areas on the internet but realised that everyone wanted money and a long term commitment up front. Then I hit a goldmine, I found MyHeritage.com... and best of all it was free to a great degree! That was all I needed.
It's been almost a year since I started my family tree on MyHeritage.com, and I can say with confidence that I am not only our family historian,
but I can assist just about anyone from any country in researching their family's history. I have a great sense of pride knowing that out of all the hundreds of family members, only I have a full understanding of the richness and satisfaction of recording and researching our family history and the joy of being able to share our history in many forms and details.
With the help of Myheritage, I have been able to trace my last name directly back to 1741, back to my great grandfather who was born five generations ago born in the Shetland Islands. It has also helped me discover that I am related by marriage to William Brewster of the Mayflower, who is my great aunts great grandfather of seven generations ago and Governor Thomas Prince, who married Patience Brewster. Other people that I have found to be related to are, on my great grand mothers side, her great grandfather John Biggar Sr (he's my great grandfather of 5 generations ago), one of the key family members that founded the community Biggars Ridge, Carlton in Canada in the mid 1800's. And Sir William Wood of Scotland, another great grand parent of five generations. In fact, I have traced our family back as far as the mid 1330's to Thomas the Bruce, he was either an illegitimate son of Robert the Bruce or a nephew of his, I'm still researching in that area.
So far my research has led to the recording of over 900 names and by this time next year there should be over 2000 names.
I discovered many relatives in my search, for example, my second cousin who has also been interested in genealogy did not know much about his grand mother Florence Biggar, (my great grandmother). He has since joined MyHeritage and has been able to look at what I found.
I have received Smart Matches many times and have found hundreds of relatives that way and have connected with several people that we are related to, mostly by marriage. Some have allowed me to join their tree; some have thanked me for more family depth and so on. We use MyHeritage mostly in English, but some family members use it in Spanish as MyHeritage allows you to change the language very quickly and easily.
We recently had a reunion in August 2008. As I stated above, I was able to captivate my family by sharing the deep history of our family name. Since then, about 15 family members have started a tree using MyHeritage.com
I have many anecdotes on my family history, an interesting one is about our Clan name, MacNaughton. The earliest reference to the clan MacNaughton connects them with the great Pictish rulers of Moray in medieval Scotland. The name 'Nechtan' which means 'pure' or 'clear' was popular in the Pictish royal line, and the progenitor of the clan is thought to be Nechtan Mor, who lived in the tenth century. The MacNaughton family opposed Robert the Bruce in his attempt to gain the throne of Scotland and, as a result, forfeited many of their lands when he became king. The fortunes of the clan were somewhat restored by David II when he granted them lands in Lewis.
The direct line of the MacNaughtons died out around 1700 with John MacNaughton, who tried to salvage his fortunes by marrying the second daughter of Sir James Campbell of Ardkinglass. Sir James, however, tricked him into marrying his eldest daughter instead by plying him with drink until he was unable to fully comprehend what was happening. MacNaughton, when he sobered up, fled to Ireland with his original choice and Ardkinglass accused him of incest. MacNaughton was found guilty and Ardkinglass was compensated with the remains of the MacNaughton property.
After this incident, the chiefship remained dormant until the nineteenth century when it was discovered that the direct line of the family could be traced to another John MacNaughton, known as 'Shane Dhu', who had immigrated to Antrim Ireland in 1580. His great-grandson Alexander was recognised as chief of the clan in 1818. Myself and several relatives are members of Scottish societies and are in the process of assisting the MacNaughton Clan growth with hopeful goals of being a large clan once again.
We are also in the beginning stages of a very large family reunion sometime in the late summer 2010. Because of MyHeritage we are now able to trace down and invite many more cousins from all over the world.
Thank you and enjoy MyHeritage.com, I do!