Clan Carruthers, Genealogy

CLAN CARRUTHERS: The Red Book of Scotland – History and Genealogy

The Red Book of Clanranald

As a Carruthers, in the same vein as many other Scottish names, we are more than aware of how poor research in the field of genealogy can muddy the historical waters. This manipulation, whether by accident or design is usually through inexperience, incompetence, laziness, frustration or simply to feed an ongoing agenda, commercial or otherwise.

As the official society, authorised by our Chief, Peter Carruthers of Holmains to represent our clan and family world-wide, we are pleased to announce that independent evidenced research into the history and genealogy of our family, is currently in process.  It is to be included in the definitive Scottish genealogical texts, the Red Book of Scotland series. These will include: the Chiefly line of Carruthers of Holmains, and the cadet line of Carruthers of Dormont and subsequently the Carruthers of Brydegill.

As regular readers know, we’re always delighted to review and support precise and in-depth methodology in historical research, especially when it includes our family. This is more so when it is carried out with a high level of competence in the gathering and referencing of information and accurately reflects, based on the hard evidence, the history of both our own family and the Scottish nation.

Gordon A. MacGregor, the Author

The author and researcher behind the project is one of Scotland’s foremost genealogists, Gordon MacGregor. His first book, the Red Book of Perthshire, was the birthplace of the Red Book of Scotland.

Gordon, who acted as a document researcher leading to the confirmation of the Chief of Carruthers in 2019 by the Lord Lyon, has over 30-years’ experience in his field. His reputation is such that he has been used as an expert witness in court hearings on a number of occasions where genealogical evidence or documentation was required. He is also regularily called in as a consultant to the legal profession, on the same basis. With this level of expertise, it is no surprise to learn that he has been used by television companies as a background researcher for many historical documentaries.

Gordon also offers his expertise to private clients in area such as: standard genealogical research; and research and reporting to assist in petitions to the Lord Lyon in the claim of dormant arms and titles. He also offers property searches to establish ownership, full and complete name studies on Scottish clans and families, and translation and transcription of documents from the 12th century upwards, including the inventory of historical papers. He is therefore a man, highly regarded in his field.

Recent involvement in the Court of the Lord Lyon

Graham has of late, been involved as a researcher in the following:

  • Ingles of Nether Cramond (Baronetcy):

Outcome: petition was successful.

Dormant since 1817.

  • Pringle (Chiefship):

Outcome: Sir Norman Pringle of Stitchill Bt, confirmed Chief of the Name and Arms of Pringle.

Dormant since 1737.

  • Carruthers (Chiefship):

Outcome: Peter Carruthers of Holmains confirmed Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers

Dormant since 1809.

  • Oliphant of Newton (Baronetcy):

Outcome: awaiting further details.

  • Wood of Largo (Chiefship – succession):

Outcome: awaiting a decision on the succession of the next heir.

  • Blair (Chiefship):

Outcome: awaiting further details.

  • Livingston (Chiefship):

Outcome: awaiting further details.

  • Oliphant of Bachilton (Baronetcy):

Outcome: awaiting further details.

Other cases are ongoing and in various stages of preparation, and therefore are sub judice.

The Red Book of Scotland series  

Red Book of Monteith

The volumes themselves are an essential source and a must for any serious researcher into Scottish history and genealogy.

The project started in the mid 1980’s. Currently covering 10 volumes, the Red Book not only contains historical and genealogical facts, the concept is based on a Scottish historical tradition. In the Gaelic culture of the past, the genealogy of the Clan was written in the ‘Leabhar Deag’ or ‘Red Book’ representing the colour of blood.

Using the Red Books of Clanranald and Monteith as a basis to work from, the project began with a search for an evidence-based genealogical text. It was noted that little existed, and none were found that were current. This reflected how much genealogical research, worthy of having a place in Scottish historical research, had declined.

This in itself has had a serious impact on the academic standing of genealogical research itself,  which has become viewed as nothing more than a ‘hobby’ by researchers, rather than a necessary part of their academic curriculum.

Interestingly, the author handles the ‘Origins of the Families’ in a very sensitive but definitive manner by using the documented evidence and taking the ‘origin’ from the first records of the name being used. He doesn’t delve into legend or supposition but offers simple, provable historical facts.

The high quality of the content is reflected in its availability in the National Records of Scotland, and ‘Scotlandspeople’ search rooms in Edinburgh, as well on the internet eLibrary page.

The Books are also available through the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde, the latter of which who offer 8 week classes and degrees (up to postgraduate and PhD courses) in Genealogical Research.

The Content of the Volumes.

Accepting that not all Scottish names are families or clans who would historically have had Chiefs, here is an idea of the amount of work that has been undertaken to date by the author.  It is an ongoing project, which is expanding as other names and histories, such as our own, are dovetailed in. What is important is that this information is accurate and factual, and a portays a life’s work of dedication and research by the author.

Vol. 1. Abercrombie – Boyd

Vol. 2. Brander – Christie

Vol. 3. Cheyne – Dundas

Vol. 4. Dundemor – Haliburton

Vol. 5. Halkerston – Livingston

Vol. 6. Lockhart – Morton

Vol. 7. Moubray – Primrose

Vol. 8. Pringle – Stark

Vol. 9. Stewart – Young

Vol. 10. has a forward by Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, Baronet and QC, and Rothesay Herald and who acted as the Chief’s legal counsel at his hearings, and contains the author’s acknowledgements and bibliography. (Free to view online)

How to purchase

Each digital volume is fully searchable in pdf format and a simple content can be viewed online. A full digital volume cost £30, and hard back at £90 (not including p&p). 10% of all proceeds are donated to Social Bite, to end homelessness in Scotland.

For further information, please see the website:

Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey Final to use


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