General Category => ARE MACTAVISH REALLY THOMSONS? => Topic started by: Mary on August 24, 2013, 07:28:42 PM

Title: NEW!! Are MacTavish REALLY Thomsons?
Post by: Mary on August 24, 2013, 07:28:42 PM
This article was written by one of the premier heraldic scholars in the UK. He has no "ax to grind", is not a Thom(p)son and has no other connections to our clan. The members of the Heraldry Society in Scotland do a lot of research/discussion/dissecting/and tracing of arms (corporate, individual, chiefly,etc) - some of which is available to non members on their forum but more in depth discussions are either in the 'members only' section or are published in their magazine, The Double Tressure.   In-depth article

See:  the THOM(P)SON CADET BRANCHES CHART in this board also

Due to some of our past experiences with information we post and others "lift," this file is protected. If you need a copy, drop a note to and they'll forward.

Title: Re: NEW!! Are MacTavish REALLY Thomsons?
Post by: MICHAEL the Canadian on April 28, 2014, 07:38:29 AM
Hello i am a recent joiner of this site, I was just reading the article on are Mactavish really thomPsons. After reading the connected  article I am trying to understand, to me it says MacTavish came from Thompson, because Thompson was in existence before Mactavish and that Thompson's is a separate clan on it`s own not following under Campbell or I was once told at a Highland games that Thompson s fall under Campbell of Argyle. I am new to this methods of deciding why and who and what we fall under, etc.

I had a sister who had tried to research the family name THOMPSON, more for reasons to create the roots of the Thompsons.
When you research different site and you seem to be sent this way to that way, recently read articles that the Thompsons could of possible came from Ireland, then to Scotland.
Title: Re: NEW!! Are MacTavish REALLY Thomsons?
Post by: Barbara on May 01, 2014, 12:54:41 PM
Hello Michael and welcome to your Clan.  I'm not a genealogist but I do read a lot.  I've read the lowland Thompson Scots (which is where they originated) went to Ireland when the English made it impossible for them to live in the Borders.  From my understanding the Irish Thompson/Thomson was originally from Scotland.  A lot of the Thompsons came to America from Ireland after leaving Scotland, sometimes after a couple of generations.  Wish I had access to ancient libraries and Parish records, but alas, so much of our history has been destroyed or molded away.  Happy hunting!  :D

Title: Re: NEW!! Are MacTavish REALLY Thomsons?
Post by: MICHAEL the Canadian on May 04, 2014, 08:51:10 AM
Thank you Barbara It is nice to here(read) from other people who talk as if we are all from the the same CLOTH as we say!
Title: Re: NEW!! Are MacTavish REALLY Thomsons?
Post by: Mary on May 08, 2014, 10:51:57 PM
Hi Michael,

Thompsons were included as septs primarily of the large clans of Campbell and Fraser. This is not unusual as many Thom(p)sons lived in the Argyll area and would have aligned themselves with the strongest clans. There was no Clan MacTavish until they had their first chief matriculated in 1997, so it would have been impossible for Thom(p)sons to have been septs of or (as claimed by MacTavish) BEEN the clan "way back in history". MacTavish has campaigned for over 15 years to mislead Thompsons into joining their clan based on the meaning of the two names - son of Tom or Thomas. There are 27 other Scottish names that mean the same thing......are they going to claim them also? Then, they could claim the MacThomas  - even though they have a chief. So, it's patently false, but the fastest way to build a clan in the absence of a clan/society recognized by Lyon Court AS THOM(P)SON. MacTavish were always a sept of Clan Campbell until Dugald was matriculated in 1997. Why he felt the need to create his own clan - who knows? The latest change in the MacTavish arms - there have been 3 since the matriculation - makes the situation even more confusing. This is from the Heraldry-Scotland forum where heraldry experts and enthusiasts discuss history, conventions, etc:   Since my recent article in Tak Tent, “Are MacTavishes Thomsons?”, I have learnt that MacTavish of Dunardry, the clan chief, rematriculated his arms last year, so now we have a progression of arms for the name, matriculated 1793, 1997 and 2013. While the addition of the galley was appropriate for a West Highland clan, it is interesting that the first quarter was unchanged, so that MacTavish continues to bear arms which suggest that he is a rather junior Thomson!

In an curious parallel, MacThomas of Finegand, chief of the other “Thomas” clan of the Highlands, also bears arms suggestive of cadetship. John Gaylor

In the graphic showing the change of arms, it is important to note that the 1793 arms were PERSONAL arms granted to Lachlan MacTavish --- He was not matriculated as the chief of ANY clan (MacTavish or otherwise). I know of no other MacTavish arms having been registered.

We have documented Thom(p)sons in the 15th century in the border area of Scotland. While there were undoubtedly some MacTavish in Argyll during that time, they were a sept of Campbell while we were an independent clan. We were recognized as being in the West March in the acts of the Scottish Parliament 1587 and 1594 - one of which listed all the clans in the Isles, Highlands and Borders.......MacTavish is not listed, nor is it included in the other act. Historically, it is never referred to in any scholarly work as a "Clan" whether by it's Gaelic name or Anglicized.

If you go to the MEMBERS ONLY area of the clan website, the discussions leading to the matriculation of our society may shed some extra light on the subject. If you have other questions - feel free!

Title: Re: NEW!! Are MacTavish REALLY Thomsons?
Post by: William Payne Thompson on June 19, 2014, 12:09:56 PM
I fell for the MacTavish/Thompson misinformation several years ago at the Arizona Highland Celtic Festival!  I was there with my sister and we came across their clan tent.  We figured it made sense considering our Irish roots and MacTabhais (Irish spelling) means son of Thom/Thomas in Irish. I even signed as a member (since expired).  It wasn't until later that I started seeing things online that it the names were not associated and the conflicting information.  I'm so glad I finally found my TRUE Clan!! ;D
Title: Re: NEW!! Are MacTavish REALLY Thomsons?
Post by: Mary on June 21, 2014, 05:11:30 PM
.....and so are WE! So many were intentionally misled by the combining of the names MacTavish and Thom(p)son......a practice that continues today with the MacTavish clan in flagrant violation of explicit instructions by Lord Lyon himself about 7 years ago that they were MACTAVISH and not Thom(p)son. Remember the prime requirement - the clan carries the surname of the chief and that is MacTavish. (Oh, and a chief can't have a hyphenated name either, so trying to use both would lose him his chiefship).

Hope you will take time to continue to participate online....maybe one day you would like to try your hand at running a tent at the Vegas games ;)