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Much has been written about the Chiefs of Grant. Their genealogy is well documented from the mid-15th century and considerable evidence suggests that their ancestors flourished in the Scottish highlands for several centuries before that time.
There were a number of other Grant families whose precise origins cannot be documented. They were nonetheless an integral part of the Clan Grant. It is quite likely that some of these families descended from the younger sons of early chieftains. It is also possible that they were independent families or clans who simply aligned themselves with the more powerful Grants for economic or political reasons and later assumed the surname Grant.
At the head of each family was a chieftain – usually the senior direct lineal descendant of the family’s founder. Although their precise origins are unknown, the branch families are of great antiquity. Some became extinct after a few generations; others have flourished into the 21st century.
Some of the principal branch families of the Clan Grant are the following:
The Grants of Freuchie and of Grant – Sir James Patrick Trevor Grant of Grant, Baronet, 6th Lord Strathspey, is the representative of this family and the Chief of the Clan Grant. His family’s line of succession can be documented from Sir Duncan Grant of Freuchie in 1434. The chiefs were originally known as the Lairds of Freuchie. In 1694, Ludovick Grant, 8th Laird of Freuchie, had his lands erected into the Regality of Grant. From that time forth, he and his direct lineal descendants have been styled “Grant of Grant.”
The 1st Grants of Ballindalloch, in the parish of Inveravon – The earliest known ancestor of this family was Patrick Grant of Ballindalloch, circa 1520. A significant rivalry developed between the houses of Ballindalloch and Freuchie in the 16th century. In the early 18th century, the Laird of Ballindalloch became financially insolvent and the estate was taken over by his creditors. Ballindalloch was sold to Col. William Grant, a younger son of the Laird of Rothiemurchus and brother-in-law of the Chief of Grant.
The Grants of Blairfindy, in Glenlivet – According to tradition, the Blairfindies descended from William Grant, a younger son of the Laird of Freuchie, circa 1527. Situated in remote Glenlivet, a number of the sons of the family were educated at Scalan, a nearby Roman Catholic seminary, and supported the Jacobite cause in the Rebellion of 1745.
Clan Phadruig, the Grants of Tullochgorm, in the parish of Inverallan – The earliest known representative of this family was Patrick Grant in Tullochgorm, circa 1530. Descendants of the family were prominent members of the Clan Grant and later distinguished themselves as military officers. The most notable of these was Field Marshal Sir Patrick Grant, GCB, GCMG (1804-1895).
The Clan Donnachie, the Grants of Gartenbeg, in the parish of Duthil – In 1537, John Mackonachie Grant was the chieftain of this ancient family. Descendants of the family have been distinguished educators, advocates, military officers, colonial administrators, and Members of Parliament.
The Clan Allan, the Grants of Auchernach, in the parish of Abernethy – According to tradition, the Clan Allan, descended from a younger son of an early Grant chieftain in the 13th century. The earliest documented chieftain of the family was James Grant in Auchernach, Procurator to the Laird of Freuchie in 1569. Another James Grant of Auchernach was the laird’s Chamberlain a century later. In 1777, the chiefship of the clan was transferred from the senior line of Auchernach to Dr. Gregory Grant, a descendant of a junior line, the Grants of Burnside.
Clann Chiaran, the Grants of Auchnarrow, later of Dellachapple, in the parish of Cromdale – According to tradition, this ancient family descended from Lucas Ciar, a younger son of an early chieftain of the Clan Grant. The most influential descendant, John Grant in Dellachapple, was Procurator to James Grant, Laird of Freuchie, in 1647.
The Grants of Glenlochy, in the parish of Abernethy, later of Kilgraston in Perthshire – The earliest documented ancestor of this family was Donald Grant M’Allister vic Robie in Glenlochy, circa 1620. A son of the family went to Jamaica in the 18th century and later retired to the estate of Kilgraston, Bridge of Earn, in Perthshire.
[For additional information on these families, see “Branch Families of the Clan Grant” under the heading “For Members Only.”]
James Grant, historian
Clan Grant Society – USA