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This name in Gaelic is rendered as ‘Mac Gille Eathain’, ‘son of the servant of St John’. It has also been suggested that there is an alternative derivation from ‘leathan’, meaning ‘broad’ or ‘broad-shouldered’. However they spell their name, the Macleans descend from Gilleathain na Tuaigh, Gillean of the Battle-axe. He may well have been the brother of Fergus Macerc, descended from the royal house.....

Heraldry Database: Anderson


Surname:  Anderson
Branch:  Anderson
Origins:  Scottish
More Info:  Scotland

Background:  The name Anderson meaning "son of Andrew" although widespread in Scotland is also found in Europe particularly in Scandinavia. In the Highlands the form MacAndrew is more commonly found and this family is thought to be connected with the Clan Anrias, a sept of Clan Ross who were also associated with the Clan Chattan federation from the beginning of the 15th century. In the Kinrara manuscript it is claimed that the MacAndrews came to Badenoch from Moidart about 1400. The first recording of this name appears on the Ragman Rolls of 1296 when David le fiz Andreu, Burgess of Peebles, and Duncan fiz Andreu of Dumfries were among those to swear allegiance to Edward I. One famous member of the family was John MacAndrew of Dalnahatnich - Iain Beg MacAindrea, Little John MacAndrew, a bowman of note and terror of all who fought against him; the family is, however, more renowned for its members' intellectual achievements. Aberdeen born Alexander Anderson was acclaimed as a brilliant mathematician in Europe when he published his works on geometry and algebra in Paris between 1612 and 1619. His cousin David Anderson of Finshaugh also had a fine mathematical brain and was known locally as "Davie-do-a'-things"; his best known achievement was to devise a method of removing a large rock which had been blocking the entrance to Aberdeen harbour. The family talent was passed on to a grandson, James Gregory, the inventor of the Reflecting Telescope. A later generation included James Anderson (1739-1808 ); his article on monsoons, for the first edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" predicted, with remarkable accuracy, discoveries made by Captain Cook before he had returned from his expedition to announce them! Prominent Anderson families are Andersons of Dowhill, Wester Ardbreck in Banffshire and Candacraig in Strathdon. Arms were awarded in the 16th century to Anderson of that Ilk, but his family has not yet been identified as the leading family and as a result, the main house is considered to be that of Ardbreck.

Motto:  Stand Sure.
Arms:  Argent, a saltire engrailed Sable between four mullets Gules.
Crest:  An oak tree.
Plant:  Oak Tree.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

This surname, meaning ‘son of Andrew’, is prolific, being common in Lowland areas as well as in the north-east. The reason why this name arises in so many different locations is due to Scotland’s patronymic system and little can be shown to suggest descent from a common ancestor. Thirteenth-century records give the earliest instances of the name and by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, several burghs were represented in parliament by Andersons. The Forman-Workman MS of 1566 includes arms for Anderson of that Ilk, implying that a notable Anderson was recorded as representer of the clan, but identification has never been established. In Privy Council records (James V, 2nd April 1526), one James Anderson of Sterheuch was made Carrick Pursuivant of Arms and in this position at the Court of the Lord Lyon, not to have borne and used arms is hard to reconcile. It has been suggested theat he, and Anderson of that Ilk, were one and the same. This James is claimed as ancestor of the Anderson of Noth family in Strathbogle, yet the present senior line remains unknown. In more recent times their crest of an oak tree Proper with the motto ‘Stand Sure’, has been tacitly accepted by the Andersons as their clansman’s crest badge. Cadets of this line are Anderson of Westerton, (Wester-) Ardbrake and Gracedieu; Anderson of Kinneddar; and Anderson of Newbiggin and Kingask. Other prominent lines were: Anderson of Dowhill; Anderson of Stobcross; Anderson of Inchyra and St Germain; Anderson of Linkwood; Anderson of Bourtie; Seton-Anderson of Mounie; and Anderson of Candacraig. A Clan Anderson Society has been active for some years in North America and St Andrew’s Day, 1993 saw the foundation of The Anderson Association in the United Kingdom.

Name Variations:  Aindrea, Andesoune, Andy, Androsone, Andrews, Andirsoune, Andrson, Andrew, Andersonne, Andersone, Andison, Andrewson, Andirsoone, Andersoune, Anndra, Andie, Andersoun, Andree, Androe, Andro, Andyrson, Androsoun, Androsoune, Andreson, Andresoun, Andrewes, Androw, Androson, Endherson, Endirsone, Enderson, Andson, Andirstoun, Andirston, Anderston, Macandrew, Macaindreis, Macandro, Macandrie, Macandy, Mackandrew, Makandro, Anderson.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Neil Grant - 2000.
Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia; George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire - 1994.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Ian Grimble - 1973.
World Tartans; Iain Zaczek - 2001.
Clans and Families of Scotland; Alexander Fulton - 1991.





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