FAMILY HISTORY

 

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ccording to the Venerable Bede, the "Father of English History" who was born in 673, the Pictish race, one of the founding races of the British Isles, arrived in Scotland from Brittany about the 15th century B.C.  From France the Picts had sailed northward to Ireland.  The ancient Monarchies of Ireland refused them permission to land, but they were allowed to settle in the eastern part of Scotland on condition that all their Kings marry an Irish Princess.  This established a matriarchal hierarchy, first in the annals of British history.

The family name Meldrum is believed to be descended from this source.

Nechtan was the first recorded Pictish King about 724 A.D., although, according to Roman history, many Pictish kings before him had fought gallantly at Hadrian's Wall against the Roman invasion many centuries before.  From the north, after the year 900, the Picts were invaded by the Orcadian Vikings who penetrated as far south as Caithness, and there left with a territory on the eastern coast of Scotland from Aberdeen, south to Edinburgh.

The family name Meldrum emerged as a Scottish Clan or family in this territory.  More specifically they developed in the original territories of Aberdeen where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated at Melgdrum with manor and estates in that shire.  They were descended from Phillip Fe Darg who later was knighted sir Phillip of Meldrum who married the daughter of the Earl of Buchan.  His Successor sir William Meldrum in 1272 was allied with King John Balliol, but sir Phillip, his grandson aligned  himself with David Bruce, King of Scotland, he was Sheriff of Banff.  Sir William Meldrum, Chief of the clan in 1353 was succeeded by his grandson William who was one of the hostages for King James I of Scotland.  However, leaving only daughters the estates desc3ended to Alexander Seaton of Meldrum, and junior lines of the Meldrums continued.  The estates finally passed to Urquharts.  Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Sir William Meldrum chief of the Clan.

Scotland, during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries was ravaged by religious conflict.  The newly found passionate fervor of Presbyterianism and the church of Scotland rejected all who could not pass "The Test" of taking an oath of belief in the church.  Those failing the "test" were sometimes burnt at the stake or, more kindly banished to Australia, the Carolinas or the West Indies.

Many Clansmen were free "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland.  Families migrated from Scotland to Ireland with promises of cheap Irish land.  They became known as the "Scotch/Irish".  There is no evidence that the family name migrated to Ireland, but this does not preclude the possibility of their scattered migration to that country.

The migration of banishment to the New world also continued, some went voluntarily from Ireland, but most went directly from Scotland, their home territories.  Some even moved to the European continent.  They sailed to the New World across the stormy Atlantic aboard the small sailing ships known as the ''White Sales", ships such as the Hector, the Rambler and the Dove.  These overcrowded ships, sometimes spending two months at sea, were racked with disease, sometimes landing with only 60% of their original passenger lists.

In North America, some of the first migrants which could be considered kinsmen of the surname Meldrum, or having a variation of the family surname spelling were George Meldrem settled in Virginia in 1716, Michael Meldrum settled in Virginia in 1724; James Meldram settled in Virginia in 1774; William Meldrum settled in Philadelphia in 1865.

From the original ports of entry, the immigrants moved westward, some to the middle west, some across the prairies to the east coast.  During the American War of Independence some remained loyal to the cause, whilst others became United Empire Loyalists and moved north to Canada.

Many prominent people were a part of this notable name: Wendell Meldrum, Canadian lawyer, Andrew Meldrum, chief of Scottish Police.

Research has determined the above Coat of Arms to be the most ancient recorded for the family surname Meldrum.

 

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