Thursday, November 17, 2011

Visions of Celtic Lands

On my first trip to Ireland.

I've been planning a trip to Ireland--a country I haven't seen now for more than two decades. I do have Celtic in my background--McHutchison was my paternal grandmother's family name--but it is, I believe, of the lowland Scot variety.

I like to pretend I'm related to T.E. Lawrence, whose father was the Anglo-Irish baronet Sir Thomas Chapman. 

Unfortunately--at least for Lawrence of Arabia, as T.E. Lawrence was later called--his father, Sir Thomas, already had a wife in Ireland when he ran off with the family governess.  The governess was T.E.'s mother and the family lived under her name, Lawrence, for many years.  

By his living wife--who would not divorce him--Sir Thomas had only daughters, and his sons being on the wrong side of the blanket, as they used to say, did not get to inherit either the name Chapman nor the title and it died out. T.E. never used the name Chapman and never even married, much less had any children.

But I could be related through a branch, don't you think?

On the McHutchison side--Mc and Mac in Celtic mean "son of" and if the name is "Mc" it is usually believed to belong to an Irish Celt and if "Mac"--to an Scot. But, this isn't always true. My father's mother's family came here from Glasgow and their last name started with a Mc.

The Anglo Saxons were very inexact at spelling these--to them--foreign names, and since it was these English-speakers who were doing most of the spelling back then there are a variety of Mcs and Macs on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Chapman, of course, is an English name.  It means "seller of things." Or "a man who sells things." So our origins are humble, as you can see.

By the time we get to Sir Thomas Chapman, however, the baronet wasn't getting any dirt on his hands doing any selling.  Though, he does appear to have been a bit of a scamp. 

I have a friend who is Anglo-Irish who says every time he touches down in Ireland, or Scotland, or the Isle of Man--any Celtic place--he feels as if he is home.

I'm home in America.  But I'm looking forward to visiting that green land again where my ancestors once walked in the mist: long, long before the dawn of history.

An ancient Celtic stone. I photographed it on my last visit to Ireland.

Add to 
Google Reader or Homepage
Subscribe to Robin Chapman News


Laura said...

Hi Robin,

I, too, have Irish blood. My dad's mom was a Gallagher. Her parents were from Co. Donegal and Co. Armagh. My great-great-grandmother was a "McPaul" which by Irish standards is quite uncommon. I've been working on my family tree on for many years and have found so much wonderful information.

Which county do your ancestors hail from? I might be able to guide you to some interesting sites before you leave for Ireland.
Take care,

Robin Chapman said...

I don't know so I guess I'll have to do a little detective work when I'm there.