I’ve been working on the family tree. I’ve made quite a lot of headway (mainly from Glenn’s site at www.mit-stamtrae.co.uk).
I got this from one of those “Family Surname” stalls in Camden Market, many years ago. It is, of course, crap:
The world would be a lesser place without the tremendous fighting spirit of the Scottish Highland clans.
From the desolate, sea-swept Hebridean Islands and the croft scattered western coast, this surname has emerged as belonging to one of the great families whose tradition is romanticized by the skirl of the bagpipes, the brandished sword, the colourful kilt and the highland games.
Historical researchers, using some of the oldest manuscripts, including Clan genealogies, the Exchequer of Rolls of Scotland, the Ragman Rolls, the Inquisitio, the Black Book of the Exchequer, parish cartularies, baptismal records, tax records and many other manuscripts, found the name Blews in Argyllshire on the Isle of Arran, where they had been seated from ancient times, and the name can frequently be found on tombstones in and around Knapdale, on the Isle of Arran.
Spelling variations of the name Blews caused much confusion in research. These changes occured for a variety of reasons. From time to time the surname was spelt Blue, Blew, Blewe, Blue, Blues, Gorm Gilligorm, and these changes to spelling occured, sometimes even between father and son. It was not uncommon for a clansman to be born with one spelling, marry with another, and yet another appear on his headstone. Sometimes a different spelling indicated a religious or clan loyalty to a branch or chieftan.
The Dalriadan race of the Hebrides was anciently descended from the early Irish Kings, specifically King Colla da Crioch, who was banished from Ireland in 327 AD., along with350 clan chiefs. Even now, there are Scottish Highland clanswho still call themselves the “Children of Colla”. Dalriadan King Fergus Mor MacEarca defeated the Picts, their neighbours to the east, in 498 AD. Kenneth MacAlpine, first King of Scotland, or Alba, or Caledonia, as it was known, was half Dalriadan half Pict.
The Highland clans were a different breed. In early history, many battles were foughtwith the Scottish King in Edinburgh. Bonnie Prince Charlie finally rallied their support for his claim to the throne which culminated at Culloden in 1745.
The surname Blews emerged as a Scottish Clan or family in their territory of Arran in Argyllshire, where there is undoubtedly a strong connection with the MacMillans. Malcolm Mor MacMillan was granted Knapdale by the Lord of the Isles in 1360, and his charter is inscribed on a rock at Knap Point. The Blues are a translation of a branch of the MacMillans called the MacGhilleghuim, meaning “sone of the blue lad”, a name rarely used but Anglicized as Blue. The original Gillegorm was a hero of the MacClellans, ancestors of the Logans. A small cave adjoining the Preaching Cove at Kilpatrick Arran, is named “Uamh Nic-Ille-Ghium”. In 1500 the Clan under the abbreviated name Gorm was still extant in Argyll on the Isle of Arran. The Blues later branched Colonsaym Gigha and Campbelltown. Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Gillegorm (servant of Blue) of Arran.
For the next two or three centuries the surname Blews played an important role in the highlands and in the affairs of Scotland. However, typical of the ancient conflict between highlander and Edinburgh, many ancient highland clans have still not been recognized as clans by the Lord Lyon of Scotland.
Many clansmen of Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries. They were granted the lands of the native Catholic Church. There is no record of this distinguished family migrating to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possiblilty of individual migration.
However, to many, life in Ireland became a disillusionment. Conditions were little better than in their homeland. Poverty prevailed, and the relegious conflicts remained, except that now they were in a strange land and without the support and kinship of the clan. The New World beckoned to the adventurous.
Clansmen sailed aboard the small sailing ships known as the White Sails which plied the stormy Atlantic, ships such as the Hector, the Rambler and the Dove, indenturing themselves for as long as ten years to pay their passage. These ships were originally designed for 100 passengers, but frequently sailed with 400 to 500 people on board. Many ships arrived with only 60 to 70% of their overcrowded passenger list, the rest dying at sea.
In North smerica, the Highlander settled Virginia, the Carolinas, Pictou, Nova Scotia, and the Ottawa Valley. One of the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the name Blews, of that same clan or family, was George and Duncan Blew settled in in Philadelphia Pa. in 1856; John Blue settled there in 1862.
- Coat of arms: Gold with 3 blue cocks heads.
- Crest: Black eagles head with gold beak
Welsh people tell me that the name Blews means “fluffy/furry” in their language. Ah, if only it meant “Fury”.