Clan Buchanan has chief for first time since 1681

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The Clan Buchanan has its first chief in more than 337 years following over a decade of genealogical research.

John Michael Baillie-Hamilton Buchanan has assumed the chiefship which was last held by his ancestral kinsman John Buchanan, until his death without a male heir in 1681.

It follows 14 years of research by genealogist Hugh Peskett, who studied lineage back to 1370 and established references in 300 documents from around the world to verify the claim to the chiefship of Clan Buchanan.

The clan said the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court which regulates Scottish heraldry, has now formally upheld a petition for Mr Buchanan to assume the chiefship.

The Buchanan and family
Mr Buchanan with his wife Paula and son Bruce (Tony Marsh/PA)

“There has not been a chief for a very long time – over 337 years – but there is a thriving community of Buchanan clansmen, clanswomen and septs around the world.

“I look forward to meeting members of the clan, committing myself to clan matters in Scotland and attending some of the popular clan functions that take place overseas.

“My family has been acknowledged as leaders of one of the principal clan septs, the Buchanans of Leny and Arnprior, for many years but we have also believed that we had a good case for the overall chiefship. It has been a long journey to prove our lineage.

“We first approached the Lyon Court informally over 20 years ago and it has taken decades of genealogical research to back up our claim – I am indebted to Hugh Peskett, my fellow Buchanan clansman, for his meticulous research and enduring tenacity.”

The new chief is the manager of Cambusmore Estate near Callander and has four children with his wife Paula.

While the Clan Buchanan can be traced back to 1010 AD in Scotland, it has several million members across Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica and elsewhere.

Mr Peskett, who has also traced the lineage of former US president Ronald Reagan, said: “As a clansman of the Clan Buchanan, it was absolutely fascinating to delve into the history and ancestry of one of the oldest clans in Scotland.

“Tracing hundreds of years of lineage and unpacking the secrets of the past is no mean feat. My research took decades to compile and unequivocally confirms the chiefship claim.

“This is a historic moment for Clan Buchanan and I am truly privileged to have played my part. I believe my grandmother would be incredibly proud of what we have achieved.”

More than five million people around the world bear one of the recognised clan names, known as septs, such as Dewar, Gibson, Harper, Morris, Rusk and Watt.

David J Byrne, president of Clan Buchanan Society International, said: “After 337 years our clan is complete once again and we celebrate this historic event.

“I look forward to working with Michael as we continue to grow the traditions, history and honour of our clan name.”

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