Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project The University of Strathclyde Genealogical Studies Postgraduate Programme is launching the Declaration of Arbroath Family History Project in association with the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy just as the new Netflix film on King Robert the Bruce Outlaw King is released (9 November). King Robert’s mission, to gain recognition for Scotland as an independent nation, particularly from England, following the Scottish War of Independence, led to the creation of a letter to the Pope in 1320, which has become known as the Declaration of Arbroath. The letter was sent on behalf of the nobles and barons of Scotland, many of whom were named in and attached their seals to the document. The new Project will see both students and staff carry out research into these individuals and their families, culminating in an exhibition which it is hoped will tour several venues. It will also involve a genetic genealogy strand, to discover previously unknown descents from these individuals through DNA testing.

Progress report 6, 17 October 2019

A new webpage devoted to the Project is now live at https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywithus/centreforlifelonglearning/genealogy/declarationofarbroathresearch/

Documentary strand

As reported previously, at least one set of research findings on all 48 individuals associated with the Declaration have now been submitted by Diploma students – 40 as part of this Project, in addition to findings on another 8 who had previously been researched as part of the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. These findings will be supplemented by submissions from Diploma students in the current academic session. The findings consist of brief biographies, four generation genealogies showing descendants of the grandparents of the focus individual and details of coats of arms. The list of their names can be found on the Strathclyde genealogy website at http://www.strathgenealogy.org.uk/declaration-of-arbroath/

Genetic genealogy strand

Student work detailing male line descendants for up to 10 generations of 16 of the individuals will help to inform further staff work in the genetic genealogy strand of the Project. The first phase of this strand involved the gathering of DNA test results from well documented male line descendants of some of those who were associated with the Declaration. This strand is now entering the second phase, which will focus on analysis of test results and identifying matches with individuals who do not have documentary evidence of their medieval descents.

25 relevant DNA test results are now included in the Project and the major focus will be on the following families –

Boyd (including descent from Hay)
Lindsay
Sinclair
Stewart

Sutherland

If feasible, further research on other families may be carried out, such as the families of Campbell, Maxwell and Umfreville.

Contact has been made with a number of DNA surname projects and we are working with these as the research progresses.
Exhibition

A provisional list of the 16 individuals to be featured in the Project exhibition has now been compiled. The exhibition will display biographies, genealogical charts and coats of arms of these individuals as well as details on the genetic genealogy research carried out.

As mentioned in previous Progress reports, the Project Exhibition will be held initially at Arbroath Abbey from 3 July to 14 August 2020.

The exhibition will also be presented at Dumfries Museum from 12 September to 31 October.

Other outputs

Article in History Scotland, November/December 2019 issue, by Graham Holton and Alasdair Macdonald

Presentations by Graham Holton and Alasdair Macdonald

  • Medieval Bruce Heritage Trust symposium on the Declaration of Arbroath, 28 March 2020, Dumfries
  • Declaration of Arbroath 700th Anniversary Conference, 23-25 April 2020, Newbattle Abbey College
  • Pre-exhibition presentation, 11 September 2020, Dumfries Museum (provisional)

Progress report 5, 16 August 2019

Documentary strand

As reported previously, at least one set of research findings on all 48 individuals associated with the Declaration have now been submitted by Diploma students – 40 as part of this Project, in addition to findings on another 8 who had previously been researched as part of the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. These findings will be supplemented by submissions from Diploma students in the next academic session. The findings consist of brief biographies, four generation genealogies showing descendants of the grandparents of the focus individual and details of coats of arms. The list of their names can be found on the Strathclyde genealogy website at http://www.strathgenealogy.org.uk/declaration-of-arbroath/

Genetic genealogy strand

The first phase of this strand involved the gathering of DNA test results from well documented male line descendants of some of those who were associated with the Declaration. This strand of the Project is now entering the second phase, which will focus on analysis of test results and identifying matches with individuals who do not have documentary evidence of their medieval descents.

18 relevant DNA test results are now included in the Project and the major focus will be on the following families –

Boyd (including descent from Hay)
Lindsay
Sinclair
Stewart
Sutherland

If feasible, further research on other families may be carried out, such as the families of Campbell, Maxwell and Umfreville.

Contact has been made with a number of DNA surname projects and we are beginning to work with these as the research progresses.


Exhibition

As mentioned in previous Progress reports, the Project Exhibition will be held initially at Arbroath Abbey from 3 July to 14 August 2020.

The exhibition will also be presented at Dumfries Museum from 12 September to 31 October.

Other outputs

Article in History Scotland, either November/December 2019, or January/February 2020 issue, by Graham Holton and Alasdair Macdonald

Presentations by Graham Holton and Alasdair Macdonald

  • Medieval Bruce Heritage Trust symposium on the Declaration of Arbroath, March 2020, Dumfries
  • Declaration of Arbroath 700th Anniversary Conference, 23-25 April 2020, Newbattle Abbey College
  • Pre-exhibition presentation, 11 September 2020, Dumfries Museum (provisional)

Coverage in the press

The Courier 10 August 2019 – https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/angus-mearns/953759/boffins-begin-search-for-declaration-of-arbroath-descendants-ahead-of-700th-anniversary/

The Scotsman 13 August 2019 – https://www.scotsman.com/heritage/dna-search-to-identify-descendants-of-declaration-of-arbroath-nobles-1-4983072

Progress report 4, 27 June 2019

Documentary strand

As reported in the previous Progress report, at least one set of research findings on all 48 individuals associated with the Declaration have now been submitted by Diploma students – 40 as part of this Project, in addition to findings on another 8 who had previously been researched as part of the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. These findings will be supplemented by submissions from Diploma students in the next academic session. The findings consist of brief biographies, four generation genealogies showing descendants of the grandparents of the focus individual and details of coats of arms. The list of their names can be found on the Strathclyde genealogy website at http://www.strathgenealogy.org.uk/declaration-of-arbroath/

Genetic genealogy strand

The first phase of this strand involves the gathering of DNA test results from well documented male line descendants of some of those who were associated with the Declaration. Following on from this, the second phase will focus on analysis of test results and identifying matches with individuals who do not have documentary evidence of their medieval descents.

Preparatory work is currently being undertaken on 12 families.
The current status of the work is as follows –

  • Sent out invitations to documented male line descendants to take a DNA test – 5, with 2 positive responses so far
  • Issued invitations to documented male line descendants who have already taken a DNA test to join the Project – 3, all have agreed to take part. There are also a number of other DNA test results available within the Project to allow further analysis
  • Research needed to identify documented male line descendants (in progress) – 4

The families concerned are –
Campbell, Arthur
Campbell, Donald
Graham
Hay
Lindsay
Maxwell
Menteith (Stewart)
Ramsay
Ross
Sinclair
Sutherland
Wemyss

It is also planned to undertake further work on the Stewart descendants of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland, following on from the research for the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project.

Contact has been made with a number of DNA surname projects and we are beginning to work with these as the research progresses.

Exhibition

As mentioned in previous Progress reports, the Project Exhibition will be held initially at Arbroath Abbey from 3 July to 14 August 2020.

Other outputs

Article in History Scotland, either November/December 2019, or January/February 2020 issue, by Graham Holton and Alasdair Macdonald

Presentations by Graham Holton and Alasdair Macdonald

  • Medieval Bruce Heritage Trust symposium on the Declaration of Arbroath, March 2020
  • Declaration of Arbroath 700th Anniversary Conference, 23-25 April 2020


Progress report 3, 23 April 2019

Documentary strand

At least one set of research findings on 40 individuals associated with the Declaration have now been submitted by Diploma students, in addition to findings on another 8 who had previously been researched as part of the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. This completes the initial coverage of all the relevant individuals and these findings will be supplemented by submissions from Diploma students in the next academic session. The findings consist of brief biographies, four generation genealogies showing descendants of the grandparents of the focus individual and details of coats of arms. The list of their names can be found on the Strathclyde genealogy website at http://www.strathgenealogy.org.uk/declaration-of-arbroath/

Genetic genealogy strand

Preparatory work is being undertaken on 13 families.
The current status of the work is as follows –

  • Sent out invitations to documented male line descendants to take a DNA test – 3, with 1 positive response so far
  • Issued invitations to documented male line descendants who have already taken a DNA test to join the Project – 3, all have agreed to take part
  • Research needed to identify documented male line descendants – 4
  • Investigate feasibility of including family in genetic genealogy strand of Project – 2

The families concerned are –
Campbell, Arthur
Campbell, Donald
Graham
Hay
Lindsay
Maxwell
Menteith (Stewart)
Oliphant
Ramsay
Ross
Sinclair
Sutherland
Umfreville

It is also planned to undertake further work on the Stewart descendants of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland, following on from the research for the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project.

Contact has been made with a number of DNA surname projects and it is hoped that we will be cooperating with some of these as the research progresses. 

Exhibition

As mentioned in previous Progress reports, the Project Exhibition will be held initially at Arbroath Abbey from 3 July to 14 August 2020.
Quotations for the hire of display boards and printing have been obtained.


Progress report 2, 5 February 2019

Documentary strand

Research findings on 32 individuals associated with the Declaration have now been submitted, in addition to findings on another 8 who had previously been researched as part of the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. The findings consist of brief biographies, four generation genealogies showing descendants of the grandparents of the focus individual and details of coats of arms. The list of their names can be found on the Strathclyde genealogy website at http://www.strathgenealogy.org.uk/declaration-of-arbroath/

Research is still to be carried out on another 8 individuals.

Genetic genealogy strand

Preparatory work is being undertaken on 13 families.
The current status of the work is as follows –

  • Waiting to send out invitations to documented male line descendants to take a DNA test – 2
  • Current address for documented male line descendant to be traced – 1
  • Issue invitations to documented male line descendants who have already taken a DNA test to join the Project – 4
  • Research needed to identify documented male line descendants – 4
  • Investigate feasibility of including family in genetic genealogy strand of Project – 2

The families concerned are –
Campbell, Arthur
Campbell, Donald
Graham
Hay
Lindsay
Maxwell
Menteith (Stewart)
Oliphant
Ramsay
Ross
Sinclair
Sutherland
Umfreville

It is also planned to undertake further work on the Stewart descendants of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland, following on from the research for the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project.

Contact has been made with a number of DNA surname projects and it is hoped that we will be cooperating with some of these as the research progresses.

Exhibition

As mentioned in Progress report 1, the Project Exhibition will be held initially at Arbroath Abbey from 3 July to 14 August 2020.
Some quotations for the hire of display boards and printing have been obtained.

Progress report 1, 3 December 2018

Documentary strand

The first batch of student work contributing to the Project has been submitted. We now have research findings on 23 individuals associated with the Declaration, in addition to findings on another 8 who had previously been researched as part of the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project. These findings consist of brief biographies, four generation genealogies showing descendants of the grandparents of the focus individual and details of coats of arms. The list of their names can be found on the Strathclyde genealogy website at http://www.strathgenealogy.org.uk/declaration-of-arbroath/
Research is still to be carried out on another 17 individuals.

Genetic genealogy strand

We already have access to one DNA test result from a documented male line descendant of an individual associated with the Declaration and several others have been identified whom it is hoped may be willing to participate in the Project by taking a DNA test. E-mails have also been sent to a number of relevant DNA surname projects to discover whether documented male line descendants have already taken DNA tests and are members of a project. If so, it is hoped that we can cooperate with specific projects to carry out genetic genealogy research into the families of those associated with the Declaration.

Exhibition

Following consultation with Historic Environment Scotland, it has been confirmed that the Project Exhibition will be held initially at Arbroath Abbey from 3 July to 14 August 2020.
Quotations for the hire of display boards and printing are now being sought.

Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project To mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 2014, we ran the Battle of Bannockburn Family History Project, to throw light on the participants in the Battle from a genealogical point of view.

There are two strands to the Project

  • Documentary strand
    This features biographical information and coats of arms of 70 of the combatants and genealogies of their families over four generations.
    According to our research, the number of combatants in the Battle who are named in primary sources amount to 161 individuals (142 English, 19 Scottish), while the names of another 125 individuals who may have been present appear in secondary sources. The major primary sources used were several chronicles, particularly The continuation of the annals of Nicholas Trivet, the Calendar of documents relating to Scotland and a number of rolls of arms from the period.
  • Genetic Genealogy Project
    Genetic genealogy is becoming more and more important as a tool for genealogical research and this strand of the Project aims to show the power of genetic genealogy by revealing living descendants of combatants in the Battle. Having identified several male line descendants of combatants using documentary sources, we invited them to take a DNA test, and then attempted to find another individual who closely matched each testee. If successful, this would show that the second individual was descended from the same combatant, despite having no supporting documentary evidence.

Some of the results of this Project can be seen by clicking the links on this page.

For further information please contact Graham S Holton at g.s.holton@strath.ac.uk