The McKerrow Family tree
The McKerrow’s can trace our family tree back to 1500 when the first McKerrow was born.. The great Grandfather of the man who fathered the first was well known, possibly famous or infamous, and was born around 1404 -1425. Although they have strong connections with Kyle, the first McKerrow’s may not have lived there. .
The Sasine (land deed of 1608) in which James McCerow and his wife Margaret Grier ( a hertiable Proprietrix) involved their married daughter, puts John’s birth not later than 1560.
Well known Scottish historian on the McKerrow family, Alexander Kennedy McKerrow of Endinburgh makes an interesting assertion in his book ‘Your Folk and Mine’ Story of the McKerrows. (1990)
“ From this point on, our search for the McKerrow progentitor has to be a supposition. The rigidly trained historian may perfer to ignore matters based on ascertainable data, but we are not fortunate enough to have all the data, nor are we bound by convention. The possibility of being wrong is the price to be paid for pushing on, and, so doing, we shan’t “miss the fun”, indeed we may very well get close to the truth.”.
He goes on talk about James V who was keen in getting about his Kingdom informally and other stories are told of happening during these trips. He was nearly as active as the early Plantagenes Kings of England and Normandy who were said to live on horse back and from whose entourage Jame’s ancestor Walter Fitzalan had come.. A mobile life suited his womanising custom, and if the truth were known, his natural descendents may comprise the largest clan in Scotland. A good deal of name-changing went on, and apart from a few Stewarts, McKerrows are possibly the only branch in which descent shows the name.
This theory leaves unanswered the question, which of the large number of unrecorded amours of James V led to the birth of the first McKerrow. ? This question is likely to remain unanswered; even though the theory postulates an educated young woman, such persons were few near “our” part of Scotland at that time.
To meet the requirement that the first McKerrow was the son of a man who was at least fairly well known, and whose great grandfather was well known, there are few, if any, better candidates than King James the V and I of Scotland respectively. Their positions were similar: James V (born 1512, the year of Flodden), after his escape from close Douglas guardianship set about reducing the power of the nobles in the interests of national stability, just as James I had to restore order in an unruly Kingdom where turbulence and lawlessness held sway.
Indeed James V himself was well aware of his familiy’s history. Referring to the crown coming to the House of Stewart via Marjory Bruce, amd in dispair at having only a newly born daughetr of uncertain life-expectancy as his direct successor, he exclaimed on his deathbed;
“Adieu, farewell, it came with a lass,
It will go with a lass”.
An incorrect forecast, for his daughter Mary who became Queen of Scots, married her relation Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley and their child became James VI. Like James I, James V had some claim to be a poet, though of less merit. James V must have been keenly aware that he was MacIEROE to James I, the reforming King, just as James I was MacIeroe to Robert the Bruce who completed the fight for Scotland’s independence begun by Wallace.
It would not be surprising if a natural son of James V, the king who had been bought up with great indelicacy by his Douglas keepers, should be named MacIeroe by a knowledgeable Mother, not herself sufficiently highly placed for her son to be acknowledged by a gift of rank, as were six of Jame’s other sons. And James certainly visited Kyle
There is a now obselete Scots word “ieroe”, also spelt airoe, jeroy etc., meaning great-grandson. This word comes from Daelic: iar (after)
Ogha (grandchild) In Gaelic the letter h practically silences the letter before it, in this case g. This word was used by both Sir Walter Scott (in The Lady of the Lake) and by Robert Burns (“ A Deidication to Gavin Hamilton”).. From the latter:
“.....till his wee, ourlie John’s ieroe
When ebbing life nae mair shall flow
The last sad mournful rites bestow."
A name McIeroe in which the hard c of Mc would naturally be dominent, has, become McCeroe, McCerrow and eventually McKerrow, the said hard c becoming anglicised to k, as in MacKenzie, there being no letter in the Gaelic alphabet. Properly pronounced, McKerrow sounds like McAiroe, the Air syllable being somewhat emphasis by its being very slightly drawn out..
Based on research by Sandy (Alexander) McKerrow