On the western coast of Scotland and on the Hebrides islands, the Connerty family was born among the ancient Dalriadan clans. Their name comes from the personal name Robert. The name Connerty is one of the Highland families whose legendary spirit and valiance is a match for any. From the bleak, sea-swept Hebridean Islands and the stormy western coast, this surname has emerged as one of the great families whose history is romanticisted by the skirl of the bagpipes, and broadswords, the swinging kilt and the highland games.
Historical researchers, using some of the oldest manuscripts including Clan genealogies, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Ragman Rolls. the Inquisittio, parish cartularies, baptismal records, and tax records found the name Connerty in Perthshire where they were seated from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.
The name, Connerty, occured in many manuscripts, and was also spelled Robertson, MacConachie, MacConaghy, MacConchie, MacConckey, MacConkey, MacDonnachie, MacDonachie, MacDunnachie, MacInroy, MacLagan, Mac Railbeirt (Gaelic), MacDhonnachaidh (Gaelic), and these changes in spelling could occur often, even between father and son.
The surname Connerty is believed to be of Dalridian origin, a tribe that invaded Scotland, along with other Scoti tribes from northern Ireland. The genealogy of present day clans and individual decendents of the Dalriadans, can sometimes be traced back to King Colla da Crioch, who is said to have been banished from Ireland in 327 A.D., along with 350 clan chiefs. King Fergus Mor MacErc, first king of Dal Riada, defeated the Picts in 498 A.D. Scotland was to some extent united by Kenneth MacAlpin, a Dalriadan who also became king of the Picts in about 839 A.D.
The name Connerty emerged as a Scottish Clan or family in the territory of Perthshire where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. They were decended from Abbot Duncan of Dunkeld who married the King's daughter. Their son was father of King Duncan of Scotland who was killed by MacBeth. King Duncan's youngest son, Maelmore, became the Earl of Atholl who sired Conan of Glenerochie, first chief of the Robertsons. They became the Clan Duncan or Connchaidh. Duncan the fifth Cheif supported Robert the Bruce as Bannockburn in 1314. His grandson Robert was known as "the Robertson." The first Robertson of Struan captured the Stewarts and Graham who murdered King James I, and it was from this branch that the Donnachies were decended. They are said to have adopted this name "in order to conceal their identity after the events of 1745." They branched to Loch Tummel, Carie, on Loch Rannoch, Mount Alexander and to the western end of Loch Rannoch. The seventeenth Chief of Struan supported the Royal Stewarts at Sheriffmuir with 500 of his Clan. He escaped to France. In 1745 this Clan again supported the Royal House and suffered terrible losses at Culloden. The present branches included Kindeace, Aucklecks, Kinlochmoidart, Woodsheal, Faskally, Straloch, Dalcaver, and the main seat Struan. There is a museum at Brair Falls in Struan. Heath and bracken are this clan's plant badges, the war cry is "Garg'n uair dhuis gear" (Fierce when raised). One of the tartans is a red and black sett. Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Robertson of Struan.
Once the Monarchy had become firmly established, the Highland Clans still remained detached from the Scottish politics for several reasons. The Clans were closely knit groups, related by blood, and intensely loyal to their customs and families. Under the clan system a man's first loyalty was given to his chief and not to a state or ruler. The Clans were often quite isolated: Parliament at Edinburgh was far south of the Highland line and removed from the daily realities that the clans faced. Many battles were fought against the Scottish Kings who generally had difficulty uniting and controlling the clans no matter who was on the throne.
Many adventurous Scots moved to England, Ireland and the Colonies. For most, it was an economic necessity as the industrial revolution consumed jobs, and landlords tried to free up land to raise sheep. A great number emigrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries where they were granted the lands previosly owned by the native Catholic Irish. The name Connerty may well have arrived in Ireland early in the 17th century suring the reign of James I of Britain, when six counties in Ulster were confiscated and settled by the Protestant "Planters" or "Undertakers" as these settlers were known.
Scots risked the difficult journey to the New World, crossing the Atlantic on ships that sometimes arrived with only 60 to 70 percent of their original passenger list, the rest dying at sea from disease, malnutrition and the elements. In North Amirica, the Highlanders settled in the New England states, the Carolinas, Nova Scotia and the Ottawa Valley. Early immigrants who could be considered kinsman of the name Connerty include Daniel Robertson settled in Virginia in 1716, along with Francis, Isabella, James, John, and Donald; Alexander, Archibald, Charles, Daniel, Duncan, George, Henry, James, Jane, John, Robert, Thomas and William Robertson all arrived in Philadelphia between 1800 and 1870; James McConachey settled in Philadelphia Pa. in 1832; John MacConnochie landed in America in 1685; C. MacDonachie settled in Virginia in 1730; Catherine and James Donachy landed in America in 1805. In recent history there have been many prominent people of the name Connerty and among them were: Lord Ian Robertson, Judge; Sir Alexander Robertson, British Veterinary; Alexander Robertson, Canadian Lawyer; Donald Robertson, Australian Phisicist; Robert Robertson. Canadian Civil Servant; James Robertson, British Musician; James Roberson, American Anatomist; Sir James Robertson; John Robertson British Chemist; Sir Rutherford Robertson, Physiologist; William Robertson, British Engineer.
You have obviously put a lot of work into it. How did you get the information?
It was of particular interest because my family is believed to have moved from Scotland to Ireland and the later back to Scotland but with no information about dates or locations. Our surname is now Donnachie so it is possible that there is a very distant relationship between us.
I have traced back to a family arriving In Ayrshire by 1841 from Derry.
I think I came accross your earlier post where you mentioned Trainor and Liverpool. This triggered a faint memory. When I saw your photo, I thought I was looking at a photo of myself!