Searching for Ancestors in the Aftermath of Culloden

My new years resolution for 2007 is to track my father’s ancestral line back to 1745. That is a very significant date in Scottish history and my personal ancestry. It is the year when Bonnie Prince Charley (Charles Stuart) and his Jacobite rebellion took on the English King’s army led by the Duke of Cumberland. The Prince was intent on placing himself on the throne of England after languishing in France for many years. He amassed a Scottish army that came oh-so-close to conquering England. In fact, he was turned back, not by the King’s army, but by an English spy who mislead him. The spy told him there was a massive English army between him and London. This piece of misinformation caused the Scots to turn and march back to Scotland. Little did they know there was no army defending London. In fact, London was wide open to them. Eventually, a real English army chased the Scots until they caught up at a place called Culloden Moor in Scotland. A collection of Scottish Clans were involved in this very famous battle in Scottish history. My ancestor’s clan fought under the banner of Clan Chattan. The historical significance of this battle is that it was the beginning of the end of the Clan system as the Scots new it. It is remembered as a moment when Scottish fighters were butchered as they lay on the ground. Officers were executed along with anyone even remotely connected to the battle, real or imagined. No longer protected by their clan leaders, Scots were turned out of their homes at will. Still remembered in Scotland to this day, it became known as “The Clearances”. Land was confiscated and homes burned. Many Scots dispersed during this time. Some left for Canada, others to Ireland and many to the coastal regions. The English took or destroyed whatever they wanted. This was a very brutal time and retribution was relentless. The bagpipes were among many symbols of Scotland that were banned. The personal significance of this battle was the destruction of my ancestral Clan and the dissipation of clan members. Either directly or indirectly, my ancestors were involved in this so it gives me a momentous moment in history to aim for. This is an extraordinarily difficult goal to achieve because of the massive movement of people from their roots.