When I first began researching my husband’s family, he made the joke that I had better not dig too deep or I might find out we are related. I quipped back that we are all related if you go back far enough. I knew, though, that the chance of our families having intersected at any point in history was slim. I have traced both sides of my family extensively. They settled in the Midwest and remained there for several hundreds of years. My husband’s family is from Canada and the Pacific Northwest. I was fairly certain we would have no ancestors in common. Once again, genealogy surprised me.
My husband’s first name is Cameron. His maternal grandmother’s last name was Cameron, and he was given the name as a tribute to her side of the family. I began tracing Cameron’s family tree, and ended up in Scotland. I continued searching, and found that the Cameron line goes back very far in Scotland. The further back I went, I began to find Cameron ancestors who were referred to in records as “Clan Chief.” This caught my attention, and caused me to look back at my own family records.
I followed my Stewart line, which I wrote about in “Finding Royalty.” I followed it all the way back to 1411, where I found the name Donald Dubh Cameron. Laughing to myself, I realized that I had actually found the point in history where my line and my husband’s did indeed intersect. Donald Dubh Cameron, my 19th great grandfather, was also my husband’s 14th great grandfather. As unbelievable as it was, I followed it carefully and found it was correct. Our Scottish ancestors were from the same area before they immigrated to two very different regions many generations later. Not only were the families from the same area of Scotland, but we had a direct ancestor in common. I decided to find out more about this common ancestor, and the Camerons in general.
Donald Dubh (The Dark) Cameron was born in 1411 in Achnacarry, Scotland. He was supposedly the 11th Cameron Clan Chief, but is the first clan chief recognized in history. Some say they can trace the first Cameron Clan chief back to Angus Cameron in 1000 AD, but there are no records supporting this. Donald Cameron received a land grant from James I of Scotland in 1426. When Donald married the heir from the neighboring MacMartin clan, he assumed that clan’s leadership as well, and eventually Clan Cameron was formed. Other neighboring clans were also absorbed into Clan Cameron.
Clan Cameron is a clan of the Scottish West Highlands. Their main branch is Lochiel, and there are numerous cadet branches. The clan chief is simply referred to as Lochiel. The Collins Scottish Clan Encyclopedia says that the Camerons were descendants of the Macgillonies, a medieval family of Cameron of Ballegarno in Fife. Clan Cameron was first officially recognized in a charter in 1472. Interestingly, during the Wars of Scottish Independence, Clan Cameron fought on the side of Robert the Bruce, who is also my 24th great-grandfather. I take great pride in the depth of my Scottish roots!
I would never have thought that my husband and I had any relatives in common, but somehow it seems fitting. We have often joked about the way we met, knowing that if one thing had gone differently, our paths would never have crossed. It seems like destiny that not only did our paths cross, but our ancestors from centuries in the past intersected as well. I am happy and blessed to be part of my own Clan Cameron.
Written by Heidi
Sources: (www.ancestry.com, www.wikipedia.com, www.clan-cameron.org)