Those of you who are 'hooked' will know just what a fascinating hobby/labour of love this is.

I started at the beginning of 2003 and in no time at all - with the power of the internet - I had traced my kith and kin back to the 1700's. Admittedly I now need to put some meat on the bones and this can only be achieved by pure research. Finding enough time and my location in the wrong part of the UK conspire against me. I have to have an excuse.

Where to start? Being a good Scot, my given surname was/is something to be proud of/uphold. Its what being a member of a Clan is all about at the end of the day. My big problem now is just what clan do I belong to? Let me explain the predicament.

The only difference between Mac and Mc is in the spelling. McInnes is the more prevalent whereas MacInnes is the more romantic (and the only one the Gift shops entertain). McInnes in the Gaelic is MacAonghais -or- son of Angus and is very popular around the West coast of Scotland and in particular, Argyll. My McInnes however, are, as far as I can confirm to-date; all originating from in and around the Speyside region of Scotland. My predicament can therefore be found in the following quote from with this bit of information acknowledged to come from Pringle Weavers (Inverness)

Quote. The MacInnes on Speyside are quite distinct from those of Clan Aonghais, and are regarded as a branch of the Clan Innes of Morayshire.Unquote.
On checking (1 Jan 2005) this statement has now been removed (?). (It should be noted that a search for MacInnes in Speyside will only turn up McInnes!)

There are those who do not uphold the views quoted above. Donald McInnes (International Adjutant) of the Clan MacInnes Society being one of them. One thing is for certain; that the Innes and McInnes are two separate clans altogether.

However, wish that it were that easy. We also have a tartan that both clans have worn and contested as their own. To add to the confusion the earliest Coat of Arms relating to the McInnes and known as the Ancient MacInnes have been contested by the Innes family as belonging to the McInnes of Speyside saying that in reality these MacInneses were Moray Inneses.

During my own research into my tree, I noted that Mary McInnes, daughter of my Great, Great, Great Grandfarther, James McInnes (1816 -1902) had twin boys (George and James) to a Thomas King. The boys being born September 2 1874. Thomas was happy to put his name to the birth certificate but for some reason he and Mary never married. Thomas became a Police Constable and was murdered at Nethy Bridge, Inverness on the 20th December 1898. The boys found their way to South Africa and prospered. It is reported that they were colleagues/friends of Cecil Rhodes. A gravestone was erected in the grounds of Mortlach Church, Dufftown to Mary. Now upon talking to my father he asked if there were any Kings in the family? The reason for him asking was that a King had kitted out Dufftown Pipe Band in McInnes tartan. It is my firm belief that this would have been James King and would have been done in the honour of his mother, Mary. Now, James would not have gone to the expense of kitting out the Pipe Band in the wrong tartan (that of the Innes if it belonged to them) yet to this day it is erroneously referred to as Innes tartan and I witnessed this myself when the Dufftown Pipe Band were introduced at a Grantown Highland Games some years ago as wearing the Innes tartan.(Thanks to Jocelyn Gould of Australia for the info on Thomas King).

I believe that these claims need looking into in more depth and maybe from a McInnes of Speyside angle. (a job for the retirement then!)

The following is taken from the Banffshire Herald of May 24 1902 and relates to the death of my Great Great Great Grandfather James McInnes (1816 - 1902). Easy in this day and age to forget, or not realise, that pensions were not always around.

"Death of a Mount Stephen Pensioner. - Mr James McInnes, 47 Fife Street, Dufftown, one of the persons selected by Lord Mount Stephen to participate in his old age pension scheme, died at his residence on Tuesday, at the age of 85. Deceased had spent all his life in the neighbourhood of Dufftown. He was born at Braehead, Auchindoun, and was one of the oldest men in the parish. Since the institution of the trust in the beginning of the year, McInnes is the second pensioner who has died. There were 35 applicants for the last pension, which was granted to John Glass, Conval Street."

(Lord Mount Stephen, hailed from Dufftown and was instrumental in the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad)

The parish of Mortlach and in particular in and around the town of Dufftown is where most of my McInnes can be found. Dufftown itself was built in 1817 as a means of employment following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Dufftown today probably produces more revenue for the UK than anywhere else. The reason for this being the fine waters to be found around here and whilst "Rome was built on seven hills; Dufftowns' built on seven stills". Yes, this is Malt Whisky country and since the rhyme, there are now nine distilleries around the area.

Mortlach Parish Church was founded around 566AD by Moluag of Bangor, a contemporary of St Columba.

My 5th Great Uncle, John McInnes farmed Dandaleith near the town of Craigellachie. His wife Jane, was the daughter of William Marshall (1748-1833). Marshall himself was an extraordinary gentleman. Born in the village of Fochabers he is one of Scotland's most famous Fiddle composers having published over 250 tunes. The son of Francis Marshall and Isabel Marshall (nee Innes), he entered the service of the Duke of Gordon at about the age of twelve, and was later appointed butler and house-steward at Gordon Castle, a position that he held for thirty years. At the age of twenty-five, Marshall married Jane Giles, and the couple had five sons and one daughter. A man of high intelligence, his interests included the study of mechanics, astronomy and architecture. He was renowned as a clock maker, and three of his clocks are known to survive. His astronomical clock must rank as one of the finest in Britain.

William Marshall by John Moir. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery

In addition to farming, John McInnes, was the overseer for the building of Craigellachie bridge, built in 1814 to a design of Thomas Telford and was possibly one of the biggest voices that talked Telford into building it 12 feet higher than he had originally planned. This action undoubtedly saved the bridge in 1829 when the Spey rose 12 feet. John was also one of the first to register a distillery following the change to the law in 1823.
Dandaleith Distillery
was registered by him in 1825 and ran until its closure in 1837 (just time enough for a nice 12 year old!!??). Interestingly the two Grant brothers worked for John at Dandalieth in the 1830s before branching out on their own.

Graigellachie Bridge

This is a picture of my Great Grandfather, John "Jock" McInnes that I found in a book entitled "Snippets of Alves" by Sammy Fraser

For more information on the Clan Aonghais in general please visit the Clan MacInnes Society's outstanding website.

Any 'Black Sheep' in the family? Not that I have found to-date but watch this space! Anyone who thinks that I may have information that can help them is free to contact me. Likewise, if you have something that may be of interest to me, I'd love to hear from you.