National Tartan Week

It’s been a busy week, with Easter and such, but I did not forget that Friday was National Tartan Day. It just didn’t seem appropriate for this Catholic to mention that on Good Friday.

But today, seeing as some places like New York City are making a whole week of it, we can at least spend some time on our Scottish heritage.

The surname Manson is most commonly associated with the northern regions of Scotland, particularly Caithness and the Orkney Islands. The surname is a patronymic from the given name Magnus (Magnus’ son). The surname is also found in other parts of Scandinavia (Scotland, for geographical and historical reasons, actually being part of Scandinavia).

The Ancient History: In Scotland, the Mansons are a sept of Clan Gunn. This clan was perhaps the most powerful and one of the oldest of the original clans in Scotland. The Gunns are a Pictish clan descended from Norway’s King Olaf the Black, as are many clans. The name Gunn comes from Gunnar (sometimes rendered Gunni), grandson of the heroic Sweyn Asleif’s-son, the so-called “Ultimate Viking.” The various septs are descended from the sons of George Gunn, the 15th century Coroner of Caithness who was killed at the Battle of St. Tayres. The Manson sept is actually descended from Henry Gunn, George’s seventh son. The history is a bit complicated; suffice it to say on this page that the Mansons are of the Henderson line. Displayed above is one rendition of the ancient Gunn tartan. (Courtesy of Scottish Clans and Families).

The Gunn clan motto is “Aut pax aut bellum” ( Either Peace or War). Below are the clan crest and tartan.


Migration to North America: Mansons began coming to North America in the seventeenth century. There were three main immigration arrival points: New England, Virginia, and Georgia. In New England, the Mansons arrived and settled in the area around Kittery on what is now the Maine-New Hampshire border. In Virginia, the Mansons early settled around York County. Many of these family members migrated to Georgia at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In the meantime, several separate Manson emigrant groups had left the British Isles for Georgia. In the 1770’s, after the failure of the Bank of Ayr, Captain William Manson brought a group of immigrants, including members of his family, to Georgia and established the Friendsborough settlement. This settlement was located near a Quaker settlement in Wrightsborough township. There is some confusion about whether Friendsborough, its name notwithstanding, was itself a Quaker settlement. Some say that William Manson was a Quaker; others say he had Quaker business partners. Other Mansons came to Georgia directly from Britain as convicts who had been banished for life.

So, what national or ethnic dress did your ancient or not so ancient ancestors have? Share with us!

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Categories: Scotland Tags: , ,

Craig


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