Tuesday, November 28, 2017


While looking through Scottish ancestries, which I share on both the paternal and maternal sides of my family, I have tried to discover where those ancestors came from, and I'm finding them very mixed. For example, the one documented mercenary I have, no first name given, but his surname was Saunders, presumably hired himself out and left Scotland at or near the time when Mary, Queen of Scots, began her reign, and all the troubles the Scottish people suffered with her. He went to work for the kingdom of Denmark, which was striving to hold on to its northern possessions, now part of Sweden.

Grandpa Saunders learned enough Danish to later serve as a district judge in Buskerud County, Norway, years after he finished his enlistment, and settled down with his Norwegian wife. Many Norwegians with the surname Sanderson continue his legacy. What was his ancestry, was he part Danish?

I've not been able to find anything about his origins, other than what I have listed above. So he probably had some viking ancestry, mingled with the Celtic, Roman, Saxon, and African ancestries of many others. Is it any wonder so much strife exists all throughout Scottish history?

Scotland pursued the somewhat French-favoring Auld Alliance. Mary, Queen of Scots, was half-French, and a descendant of the Guise family, her mother being descended from the Medicis, some who had African ancestors. There is some wonder about the Berber origins of some Scots. That's not so surprising, when you consider some of the Moorish caliphs who ruled what is now Portugal and Spain converted Berber tribesmen in North Africa to Islam, and marched with them to the Iberian penninsula.

The descendants of these Berbers became the police force for the Caliphs, for at least four hundred years, and intermarried with the local people. When the caliphs were pushed out of Spain and Portugal, their posterity would continue to mingle, eventually working for and with royalty, and coming under the power of France.

Mary brought people with her from France, as other Scottish kings would have, due to trade and diplomatic ties, who would be more likely to have African ancestors. The Romans posted African contingents on the northern border between Roman-dominated Britain, and the Picts.

All these differences in ancestries eventually played into Scotland's favor, being able to unite under one king, generation after generation, to fight the English. It was these mixed Scottish and Irish-Americans, who helped the fledgling United States finally defeat the British, the world's biggest superpower of the times of the American Revolution.

If the Scots had gone down in history without the African, Roman, Saxon, French, or descendants of many other nationalities, would they have been as successful? I don't think so. What do you think?

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