4. Dugal McQueen, Scottish Rebel and Gateway Ancestor to Royalty

The Scottish ancestry of Dugal McQueen is fully extended in the The Omnibus Ancestry. It is available through Lulu.

Dugal McQueen arrived in Maryland in 1716 aboard the ironically named “Friendship”, probably in chains and certainly under edict never to return to his native Scotland. He had been captured the previous autumn at the battle of Preston, part of the doomed first Jacobite rebellion aimed at restoring the Stuarts to the throne [1]. Given a choice between exile and the barbaric ritual of hanging, drawing, and quartering, he and his fellow transportees had sensibly chosen exile.

From this ill-starred beginning descended a numerous and prosperous American family. It included the actor Steve McQueen, star of The Blob, The Great Escape, The Cincinnati Kid, The Sand Pebbles, Bullitt, The Getaway, Papillon, and many other films of the 1950s through 1980 [5]. He was my distant cousin, for I descend from Dugal McQueen through my grandfather Loren Ellsworth Bowers [1].

My genealogical interest in Dugal has been intense, because he is my only confirmed Highland immigrant ancestor. He was recorded at his prison in Lancaster Castle as a resident of the parish of Moy, co. Inverness, Scotland [1]. There the Macqueen clan was seated at Corrybrough, Little Corrybrough, Pollochaig, and Raigbeg, among other locations.

The Mackintosh Muniments

A major advance in tracing the exile’s genealogical origins came from a message thread hosted by Ancestry.com, implying that Dugal was mentioned in the published muniments (i.e., archived documents) of the Mackintosh clan [1,2]. I was subsequently able to access this at an out-of-town library during a personal trip. The_ruins_of_Shenachie

What I found was extraordinary. Dugal was mentioned as being of “Pollockack” [Pollochaig] in 1714 when he leased land from the Mackintoshes at the west end of Ruthven, a tiny settlement on the northwest bank of the Findhorn River near Tomatin. He had married in Scotland a woman of social prominence, namely Elizabeth, the sister of Lachlan Mackintosh, the 20th chief (or laird) of clan Mackintosh. By her he had a daughter Anne [1,2]. Neither Elizabeth nor Anne joined Dugal in exile. From other sources I learned he remarried years later in Maryland, ca 1726?, to a wife named Grace who bore his American children, one of whom was my ancestor [1]. Presumably this followed Elizabeth’s death.

Antiquarian Contributions

Even more extraordinary discoveries were to follow, courtesy of a great genealogical revolution. (I mentioned another such revolution, the creation of the International Genealogical Index and its successors, in a previous post.) Just within the last few years a great many out-of-copyright books have become available as high-quality PDFs through such free services as Google Books, the HathiTrust Digital Library, and the Allen County [Indiana] Public Library Internet Archive. Because the late 1800s and early 1900s were a golden age of genealogical publication, this has placed a great deal of research within easy access of any computer browser.

Among the recently accessible books was an antiquarian publication dating from the 1890s [1]. Its author aimed to tell the history of the parish of Moy. Noting that the parish was dominated by the Mackintosh clan, with the laird holding nearly 70,000 acres including land along the river Findhorn, he nevertheless launched into a brief history of Pollochaig, which had long been in possession of the Macqueens. In his account there was an interesting piece of information: A John Macqueen of Pollochaig, son of Dougal and living in the early 1700s, had married Anne, sister of chief Lachlan Mackintosh [1].

If John lived in the early 18th century, his father was of too early a generation to be the exile. Thus while the appearance of the name Dougal seemed meaningful, what relationship if any existed to the later Dugal the author could not or did not say.

That information, fortunately, was provided by another out-of-copyright work, this time a Highland historical magazine also dating from the 1890s [1]. It indicated that John Macqueen, certainly the same man referred to above, had a son Donald [sic], who married Elizabeth, also stated to have been the sister of chief Lachlan Mackintosh. Furthermore, the son was stated to have been an officer of the 1715 rising and as a consequence was banished to America. This was a clear reference to Dugal (not Donald) McQueen, known from the Mackintosh muniments as the husband of Elizabeth Mackintosh and certainly a man banished to America [1].

Dugal, the immigrant, was therefore the son of John Macqueen and Anne Mackintosh. But how could both father and son have married sisters of chief Lachlan Mackintosh?

That answer was provided by published Mackintosh genealogies, for Lachlan, the 20th chief, was the son of Lachlan, the 19th chief [1]. Manifestly, John had married Anne, sister of the 19th chief, and his son Dugal had married his first cousin Elizabeth, sister of the 20th chief. Such marriages were not uncommon following their legalization in 1567 [3], accounting for perhaps 3.5% of marriages among the landed gentry (although that figure is for the British Isles more generally) [4].

In any case Dugal, it was clear, was the son of John Macqueen by Anne, daughter of William Mackintosh, the 18th chief, and his wife Margaret Graham [1].

An Explosion of Prominent Scottish Landed, Noble, and Royal Lines

Anne Mackintosh was what one might call “connected”, and massively so. Through her parents she descended from dozens of the most prominent Scottish families of the 1600s on back. They included among others the families of Beaton, Campbell, Drummond, Gordon, Graham, Grant, Halyburton, Hamilton, Keith, Kennedy, Learmonth, Lindsay, Mackenzie, Maule, Murray, Ogilvy, Rollo (Rollock), Rose, Ruthven, Scrymgeour, Sinclair, and Stewart [1].

A number of noble ancestors were among them, the latest-living of which was Sir John Murray, Earl of Tullibardine (1550-1613). There were also royal descents from King James II of Scotland (1430-1460), King Jean II of France (1319-1364), and King Edward III of England (1312-1377), among many others. In other words, Dugal McQueen was a gateway ancestor. A gateway ancestor is a genealogical predecessor, generally an immigrant, whose own genealogy can be traced to kings and queens, thereby providing all descendants with such ancestry [1].

In this case intense genealogical interest paid off . . . royally.

The Scottish ancestry of Dugal McQueen is fully extended in the The Omnibus Ancestry. It is available through Lulu.


[1] Boles, D.B. (2016). The  Omnibus Ancestry.  Tuscaloosa, AL: private print.  Available through Lulu.

[2] Information retrieved from http://boards.ancestry.com/localities.britisles.scotland.inv.general/650.3/mb.ashx (2015).

[3] Parker, H. (2012). “In All Gudly Haste”: The Formation of Marriage in Scotland, c. 1350 – 1600. Thesis presented to the University of Guelph.

[4] Information retrieved from http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/38/6/1453.full (2015).

[5] Information retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McQueen (2015).

Picture attribution: Frances Watts, The ruins of Shenachie – geograph.org.uk – 667349.jpg, retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_ruins_of_Shenachie_-_geograph.org.uk_-_667349.jpg#file. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. (NB: Pollochaig has been mapped as “Shenachie” since 1908-9.)