compiled from the pages of Clan Fergusson Society of North America a few years ago
The name Fergusson and its history spreads from Antrim in northeastern Ireland to the shores of Dalriada under Fergus mor Mac Erc, into the Highlands and to Dunkeld. Through emigation, either forced or voluntary, the name Ferguson and its rich heritage have travelled throughout the world.
As with world history much of the Clan Fergusson history has been lost through time and translation. It is generally believed all Fergussons claim descent from a very early king of the Scots, Fergus mor MacErc. The “Scotti” were well established in Dalriada (Argyllshire and the islands of Jura, Islay and Iona) by 500 A.D. The Scots spread from Ireland in the third century throughout “Caledonia” leavening the country around the ancient seats on the Tay and the Earn, spreading into Carrick and Galloway. According to Mediaeval historians Fergus was the founder of the Scottish monarchy.
Ayrshire and Dumfries Fergussons alike claim descent from Fergus, Prince of Galloway. The grandfather of Duncan Earl of Carrick and in turn great-great-grandfather to Robert Bruce, Fergus, restored the see of Whithorn and founded the Abbey of Dundrennan during the reign of David I and Malcolm IV. He died as a monk at Holyrood in 1161. Through Robert Bruce passes the line of the Royal Family of Great Britain.
It was the 1st Earl of Carrick’s signature that might suggest the origins of the Fergusson surname, Duncan, son of Gilbert, the son of Fergus, hence MacFhearguis. The Gaelic spelling has been corrupted through tranlation into the forms, MacFergus, MacFerries, and MacFerris. Since the “f” and “g” are silent in the old language such variations as MacErries, MacHerries, MacKerras (especially common in Argyll and Australia) and even MacIrish were formed.
The Anglicised “Fergusson” was widely used by the reign of James IV. The shortened form of the name with the single “s” was initiated by record clerks before the 1600’s. The common spelling of the day was “Fergussoun” and by the reign of Charles II, “Fergussone.” In the modern era the Ayrshire, Dumfries, Argyll, and Perthshire families have retained the double “s” while those of Fife, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Ireland have the single “Ferguson.”
We know with certainty that by the 13th century there were men in widely separated districts of Scotland which called themselves “sons of Fergus.” It is recorded in the “Annals of Ulster” there was in 1216 a day of disaster to the “Clan Fergusa” at the hand of the Mormaer of Lennox’s son. Through the passing of the ages however the particulars of the story have been lost.
In one of the oldest documents of Scottish history, the Irish “Tract of the Men of Albyn” ours is the only modern clan listed. Two offshoots of “Clan Fergusa” from the Royal Race are mentioned. It is thought that from these offshoots comes the possible origin of regional separations of Fergusson. Thus lending explaination as to why the Aberdeenshire, Atholl and Ayreshire clans are under the arms of the boars head and the Dumfries and Galloway Fergussons are found with the lion rampant arms.
Robert Bruce granted certain lands in Ayrshire to Fergus MacFergus, and in 1466 John Fergusson resigned a portion of his estate to Fergus Fergusson (of Kilkerran), his son, and Janet Kennedy, his wife. From this line stems Sir Charles Fergusson, 9th Baronet, and Baron of Kilkerran who holds the undifferenced arms as Chief of the Name. The Fergusons of Ayrshire
While historically there have been several branches of the Clan, each with its own head, the Chief of the Kilkerran Fergussons has been recognized by the Lord Lyon of Scotland since the early 18th century as the Chief of all the Fergus(s)ons.
The House of Furgesson of Kilkerran in Ayrshire is descended from Fergus Son of Fergus who received his lands by charter from Robert I, King of Scotland. Sir Adam Fergusson, 3rd Baronet, died in 1813, and was succeeded by Sir James. Sir James upon his death in 1838 succeeded to Sir Charles, his son. The Right Honorable Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran, 6th Baronet, G.C.S.I., K.C.M.G., etc. became chief in 1849. He perished in the Jamaica earthquake in 1907. His son, Sir Charles succeeded him as 7th Baronet of this line
The present Chief of the Name, is Sir Charles Fergusson of Kilkerran, 9th Baronet, who lives in the ancestral home near Maybole, Ayrshire
Azure on a chevron argent between three boars heads couped, or a buckle between two falcons of the first is the Kilkerran Fergusson Blazon of Arms.
Two offshoots of “Clan Fergusa” from the Royal Race are mentioned in the “Tract of the Men of Albyn” one of the oldest texts of Scottish history. Some feel that the possible origin of regional separations of Fergusson are derived from these two groups. This could then account for the similarity in the armorial bearings of Aberdeenshire, Atholl and Ayrshire clans under the arms of the boars head while the Dumfries and Galloway Fergussons were under the lion rampant arms.
In the Ayreshire regions the Little Sunflower is considered to be the plant badge. It is traditionally worn as a sprig on the staff, spear, bonnet or tartan. In Dunfallandy the Crithean (Poplar) has been documented as the talisman as Scotch Pine has been listed by others.
The armorial badge which all members of the Clan are entitled to wear embodies the Chief of the Clan’s crest and consists of a bee on a thistle encircled by a strap and buckle bearing the clan motto Dulcius ex Asperis (sweeter after difficulties).
Fergie,Fergus, Fergushill, Fergussill, Ferrie, Ferries, Ferris, Forgan, Forgie, Grevsack, Hardie, Hardy, Keddle, Keddie, Ketchen, Kidd, Kiddie, Kydd, MacAdie, MacCade, MacErris, MacFergus, MacFhearghuis, MacFirries, MacHerries, MacInlay, MacIrish, MacKeddie, MacKerras, MacKersey, MacKestan, MacMangus, MacTavert (all spellings)