Fergus Mor Mac Earca

The Fergusson are generally supposed to descend from Fergus Mor Mac Earca (Mac Earca : Irish, son of Earca, daughter of Loarn) an early king of the Scots in the year 501 AD. Ancient genealogies exist for Fergus showing both his ancestors and descendants. Fergus is #89 in O'Hart's compilation Irish Pedigrees, 3rd edition, 1881 p. 287 and a grandson of Niall Mor.

From an early period Fergusons are found settled in widely distant parts of Scotland ; more especially in Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, and Dumfriesshire. Between these families no definite link of a proved relationship can be established, but interesting traditions and curious coincidences suggest that all may originally have come from a common source. [Records.... p. 16]

The table below shows no DNA evidence of a common origin when examined by either landed families or by observed matches of non landed Ferguson in same locations as the landed Fergusson.

Mis-Matches By Landed Family

 

Non Landed Matches By Haplogroup

Shire Specific Proxy Haplogroup
Argyll Glenshellish St. Kilda R-M269¹
Aberdeen Inverurie Daviot R-S971
Ayr Kilkerran - I-L338
Dumfries Craigdarroch   N/A
Perth Dunfallandy Minister of Logierait R-S603

¹ The terminal haplogroup is unknown but S603 and S971 are ruled out

 
Shires Argyll Aberdeen Ayr Dumfries Perth
Argyll -       R-M222
Aberdeen   -      
Ayr     - I-L126 R-DF49
Dumfries     I-L126 -  
Perth R-M222   R-DF49   -

Fergus de Galloway

There is evidence that the Fergusson of Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire are descended from Fergus de Galloway according to Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran (1904–1973) in his book "The Fergussons". He states the first Earl of Carrick styled himself as Duncan, son of Gillbert, son of Fergus and this suggests the beginning of use of Fergusson as a surname. How and if these Fergusson descend from Duncan is lost to history.

The diagram below depicts key descendants of Fergus of Galloway. Note that they include Dowal of Galloway. There is a haplotype of a McDowell on ySearch.org as id NAZGR. His ancestor is listed as John MacDowal of Dumfries and Galloway origin, born about 1579 and died about 1635. Apart from a slight spelling difference a proposed pedigree of the aforesaid John McDowell is presented on the site The Descendancy of King Fergus of Scotland to the the McDowells of Greenbrier, Virginia by Jana Black. If she is correct and there have been no non paternal events then the haplotype of Fergus falls within the R-M222 haplogroup. The terminal SNP of the McDowell line is unknown precluding a comparison to the R-M222 Ferguson. The Fergusson of Kilkerran, Ayrshire are haplogroup I1- L338 whereas the haplogroup of the Fergusson of Craigdarroch, Dumfrieshire is unknown.

The Fergussons of Craigdarroch trace their descent from Fergus, Regulus (Prince, or Lord) of Galloway, this according to Captain Riddell of Glenriddell as quoted in the Dumfries Herald, 25th May 1892 [referenced in Records of the Clan....p. 401]. It should be noted that neither this statement nor that of Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran is it claimed the descent is strictly patrilineal. According to Black, Surnames of Scotland, patronymic surnames commenced with the start of the fourteenth century. Some descendants of Fergus de Galloway by the fourteenth century may have assumed the name Fergusson and yet be patrilineally the son of a Fergus who married a female descendant of Fergus de Galloway.

Fergus de Galloway Tree

Heraldry

The arms carried by the various families of the name are of two classes. The one class are those which have—either plain or properly differenced—the silver buckle and the three gold boars' heads upon an azure field. In the other class the principal charge is a lion rampant, azure on a silver field, with subordinate charges, on a chief of which the tincture varies. The first class are borne by the Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Irish, and Polish families, and by custom, if not by official authority, by the Athole families, and by the Dutch family; the second by those who trace their origin to Dumfriesshire and by the family of Raith in Fife, and would seem to have been borne by custom, though not by official authority, in Balquhidder, and by an ' ancient and honourable family of the Feargusons' in Ireland. There exists an old tradition associated with the boars' heads, the dagger crest, and the motto Arte et Marte, and it is perhaps not a mere coincidence that the arms of the old lords of Galloway, one of whom bore the name of Fergus, were azure, a lion rampant argent, crowned or. [Records, p. 495]
The table below shows no evidence of a common origin when sorted by arms.

Mis-Matches By Three Boar's Heads

 

Mis-Matches By Lion Rampant

Place Specific Proxy Haplogroup
Aberdeen Inverurie Daviot R-S971
Antrim 1st Four Mile Burn   R-BY246
Ayr Kilkerran - I-L338
Donegal Burt Knockinkerragh R-M269¹
Dumfries Dutch   N/A
Fife Raith   N/A
Perth Dunfallandy Minister of Logierait R-S603

¹ The terminal haplogroup is unknown but S603 and S971 are ruled out

 
Place Specific Proxy Haplogroup
Mayo MacRath Fergus Burrishoole R-S659
Dumfries Craigdarroch   N/A
Antrim Whitepark I-L126
Perth Balquhidder   R-S691

Craigdarroch

Many modern Fergus(s)on families have a tradition of descent from the Fergusson of Craigdarroch typically citing as their ancestor Alexander Fergusson (1685-1748) who married Annie Laurie. Said Alexander is about 6 generations removed from the present. The earliest known ancestor of the Fergusson of Craigdarroch is about 16 generations back. The table below compares participants from families with this tradition that have DNA tested. What the table shows is that only two kits with a traditional ancestor of Alexander exhibit a range bracketing 6 generations. Those same two kits are the only ones bracketing 16 generations at the 5% to 95% confidence limits.

If the computations are done for the 1% to 99% confidence limits the third kit is then 13-59 with respect to the first kit which does bracket 16 meaning it is possible the first three kits share a common ancestor 16 generations ago but that it is unlikely. The other matches in the table do not bracket 16 even at 1% to 95%.There are then at least 4 and more likely 5 families whose tradition is the same yet they are not of the same genetic line. Unfortunately nobody known to descend from the Fergusson of Craigdarroch has tested so the Haplogroup of the ancestral family is unknown and there is no basis for saying whose tradition is correct.

Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (Generations)
Kit Ancestor Haplogroup Cluster Branch 1
3
8
8
9
5
0
3
0
4
3
1
5
9
1
7
6
3
5
3
6
5
0
4
2
5
1
0
7
3
3
6
13889 Alexander I-L126 Isles/Sc - 15 II 66 2-19 17-49 143-244 131-226 113-225
50304 Alexander I-L126 Isles/Sc - 15 II 2-19 66 22-58 150-254 137-235 123-242
315917 Craigdarroch I-L126 Isles/Sc - 16   17-49 22-58 66 143-244 150-254 105-210
63536 Alexander R-S764 Scots II 143-244 150-254 143-244 67 22-58 48-113
50425 Alexander R-S764* Scots III 131-226 137-235 150-254 22-58 111 39-97
107336 Craigdarroch R-M269     113-225 123-242 105-210 48-113 39-97 37
- Infinite allele mutation model is used
- Average mutation rate varies: 0.0026 to 0.0036
- Mutation rates from Heinilia, 2012
- Values on the diagonal indicate number of markers tested
- Probability is 5 to 95% that the TMRCA is no longer than range indicated

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