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Would love to be appraised as to the present position concerning the Lord Lyon's recognition of a Chief of the name Macrae. Official legal recognition of the clan in Scotland is dependant on it. Can anyone fill me in here or by email directly at - many thanks.

Query posted by : Kim McGrath

20 Jan 2004 at 23.00
The following replies have been posted in response to the above query. They are sorted chronologically according to the time of receipt, with the most recent at the end of the page.
Do not be misled by prententious antics!
(1)It is a matter of pride that no MacRae owns any man to be his chief.
We were The MacKenzie's shirt of mail, but under our own name, and we bore the last Earl to his grave six generations ago (- poetic justice really, since the incompetence of one of his ancestors nearly wiped us out in 1715).
(2)I have no idea why you claim that "Official legal recognition of the clan in Scotland is dependant on it."
(3)The Lord Lyon states that the only legal recognition of a chief is by a unanimous gathering of the clan's armigers and Scottish landowners, called something like a "derbhfine" (sorry, I do not speak Gaelic!) The decision will be unanimous as the claimant must advance his title against all other clansmen until none live who oppose him! The Lord Lyon in the name of the Crown will then recognise the fact of the matter.
(4) If it is the wish of the clan to be "legally recognised", even the rival Conchra and Inverinate families have admitted there are other senior branches.
(5) The question has been running since long before the 1909 litigation , so I will not hold my breath....If you like, an annual "caveat" will entitle you to notice, if not to appear in the cause yourself before the Lyon Court!
(6) Alternatively, why not ride up to the clan gathering in 2005 with a bazooka, and try to claim the chieftaincy yourself? It should be worth a dram and a blether!

Jeremy Burnett Rae

Reply posted by : Jeremy Burnett Rae

12 Feb 2004 at 14.42
Concerning the Chiefship for the Clan Macrae
Dear Kim
Being a member of three Clan MacRae Societies and having fully studied the subject of a Chief for the clan, I will add my bit. I am definitely against any attempt to have official legal recognition of a MACRAE chief. We are, and always have been, a very proud clan without a Macrae chief.
In 1997, I was in correspondence with Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight KCVO,the then Lord Lyon of Edinburgh. He indicated that only the nobs of the clan, the wealthy members with Heraldic Arms could make any decision on the subject. In other words the day to day workers for the clan were to be ignored by this long outdated organisation of the Lord Lyon.
A promise was made some years ago by a leading member of one Society, to install a certain line as chief, with money involved. This goes against the wise words in a statement by the Clan Historian, the Rev Alexander Macrae, written in March 1925, and author of the 1899 Clan Macrae History.
A few extracts from this statement---'the chiefs with their hereditary jurisdiction were abolished in 1747, after the Battle of Culloden. After that date no new chief could be created'---'I cannot but deplore the ill advised action of those who, either by their wilful or their ignorant misrepresentation of historic facts,have divided the Clan and made it ridiculous'.
He ends with the reference to the Clan Chief, the Earl of Seaforth --'to try to disown that great and historic chiefship, for a purely fictitious one, shows an extraordinary lack of historic sense and loyalty'.
This sums it up for me and the subject should be laid to rest forever.
Hopefully my pleads to the Lord Lyon in 1997 to ban for all time, any appointment of a chief for the Clan Macrae, will hold. We are working well as a clan today. There should be no 'official legal recognition' appointment of a 'chief' as it can only be hereditary, which means that a repeat of the dreadful hatred and bitterness of the 1909 era could follow, between the Inverinate and Conchra lines and any others.
Molly Akers, RD 4, Palmerston North,
New Zealand. Phone/Fax (64) 6 329 1820

Reply posted by : Sue Tregoweth

29 Apr 2004 at 23.05
I come to this forum first as a youth in the clan and not but a member via my mother making mme a Sept of this great clan. I now seek out knowlage of my own history and seek a unity of my family of which I consider all who bear blood of the MacRae clan. This part of my life was brought on by the fact that I have found intrest in my own history and I have found a love of the Highland games I seek to find a truth about the past.

With that said I belive that a clan without a chief is like a body without a head. Even in every household you look to the oldest or strongest to guide and lead the family toward what will be best for the family in the long run. It is beyond time for our clan to take its place not only in our rightfull role as The Mail of Mackinzey but also as a clan of Scotland.......All clans all people all races need a leader, liege, or sire. perhaps I am misslead by the fires of youth perhaps I am misunderstanding the views of the world because I am not from scotland but I think it would be a fine thing to have a return of a chieften.

Reply posted by : Jessie Hartman

14 May 2004 at 01.37
Dear Kim,
I have studied this matter, and corresponded with the Court of Lord Lyon. I see others have replied with opinions, which are valid beliefs but do not answer your question. The current Lord Lyon would, in my professional opinion, support the Clan MacRae choosing its Chief through the derbhfine process. That is a remarkable thing, as our Clan has had no Chief. And, for those who wish to argue it based on blood line, neither Conchra or Inverinate can claim it on lineage superiority, as neither is the seniormost line of the Clan. That being said, I am firmly in favor of our Clan having a Chief, and the old ways of Scotland was to choose based on merit, valor, leadership skills. Unlike Ms. Akers comments, the people who choose are not nobs, but are Armigers. These are 9 or more people representing 3 or more generations of the clan. They either own land in Scotland (5 acres or more) or have a personal coat of arms. All clan members opinions could be heard. Eilean Donan owns the most photographed castle in Scotland, and I think not having a Chief makes us otherwise second rate. We were associated with MacKenzie, Fraser, Bissett and came from Ireland. Our history in Scotland can be used to unify us, with a leader of our choosing. And, if we choose to follow Scottish rather than English laws, we can also choose a Tanist, or heir to the Chief. Any MacRae of good character could qualify to be our leader, and I firmly believe we need and deserve one. It was not by choice but by accident that we did not have a Chief, and the Lord Lyon is willing to help us.
Best wishes,
Cornelia W. Bush, CLS, FSA Scot, and former Historian Clan MacRae North America

Reply posted by : Cornelia W. Bush

8 Nov 2004 at 13.32
The Question is, do we need a Chief for Clan MacRae.
I am the president of The Clan MacRae Society of Australia and New Zealand. I have been involved in Clan matters for most of my life. When ever the question of a Chief for clan MacRae comes up, the experts that have corresponded with the Court of the Lord Lyon comes out of the woodwork.
I am one of the ill advised, that Molly Akers from New Zealand refers to in her letter to Clan MacRae discussion forum on the Internet.
I am very happy that we have a Lord Lyon that on his recent visit to Australia, indicated to me. That he would be will-ing to listen to a submission from Clan MacRae. In my opinion, the current Lord Lyon would support Clan MacRae’s chosen Chief.
The Conchra family’s contribution is in my option worthy of consideration. Marigold MacRae and her family have trav-elled the world promoting Clan MacRae for many, many years. I believe that the majority of Clan MacRae members throughout the world today would support the Conchra Family.
Time is now running down, not out. The current Lord Lyon is an open-minded man, willing to restore dignity to Clan MacRae. If we listen to the doomsday predictions of a minority group within our membership, we will continue to be lost in the wilderness forever. I agree with the former Historian of Clan MacRae in North America, we need and de-serve to have a Chief for Clan MacRae.
We are a friendly clan, working well together. The bitterness between the House of Conchra and Inverinate was over, one hundred years ago. Today we are a Clan in name only. Tomorrow we can be a Clan with a Chief; the Lord Lyon is willing to help us. To sum up, I support the majority of the members of Clan MacRae. To be come a legitimate clan, we need a Chief for Clan MacRae.
Sincerely Yours
Ian McCrae J.P.
(President Clan MacRae Australia & New Zealand)

Reply posted by : Ian McCrae J.p.

20 Dec 2004 at 11.41
Dear Steve,

You touched a nerve. I had never heard of the Clearances before. I had some suspicions knowing the nature of men with great holdings or men in tights as you said, but your reference to the Clearances brought the reality of the past into the present. I am deeply mourning those who suffered such persecution and were driven from their ancient homes. If a having a Chief perpetuates this kind of class distinction & superiority over others, then I do not think that we need one. That kind of thinking belongs in the past. An elected representative over a MacRae/McRae et al international brotherhood perhaps formed for the purpose of promoting historical accuracy, educational support, geneological knowledge & research, etc. would be nice. Could there be clan recognition as such?

Reply posted by : Melody

29 Dec 2004 at 04.26
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