History / FAQ

“On the 15th of May, 1986, a group of Clansmen met and decided to form a branch of the Clan Donnachaidh Society.  The name decided upon for this group is the Clan Donnachaidh Society of the Rocky Mountains.  Elected to office at that meeting were Robert H. Baskin, President; Barbara Bromgard, Vice-President/Treasurer, and Curtis W. Roberts, Secretary.” This began the Rocky Mountain branch.

There is a variety of local and international history.  These pages include the stories, the history, and bits and pieces from different sources ncluding documentation from the International Society, and research found by past and present members.  You may discover that there are threads of similarities as well as conflicting representations.  Thus is the reality of history, with it be things passed from one generation to another by word of mouth and/or the documented understanding of events.  We have included all different types of information to give visitors and members possible understanding of the history.  Some of these pages are printed and shared with visitors at meetings and games to give them a basic overview and understanding of our societies.

For International Society History we recommend that going to their website and we recommend The Robertson’s, by James Irvine Robertson.  This book gives anyone a great overall history.

This history description is from Maria Costantio’s book “The Handbook of Clans & Tartans of Scotland”

“The chiefs of the Clan Robertson are descended from the Celtic “mormaers” or ruling princes of Atholl.  The clan is more correctly called Clan Donnachaidh, which means “Children of Duncan”, after their ancestor Robert Riabhach “Grizzled Robert” Duncanson, the 4th Chief of the Clan.  His lands were elected into the Barony of Struan in 1451 by James II as a reward for the capture of Sir Robert Graham who had (under great provocation) murdered King James I in 1437 at Perth.  Riabhach’s son took the name Robertson, which thereafter became the Clan and family name.

Like many clans, the Robertsons feuded with their neighbors, in this case the Stewarts of Atholl; the 6th Chief, William Robertson was killed by the Stewarts while trying to recover lands stolen from him, and the 8th Chief was murdered.  His brother inherited an estate so deeply in debt that a large portion of the lands had to be sold off.  In early times, the chiefs had castles at Rannoch and at Invernack near Struan, and until 1854, their principal residence was Dunalastair, or Mount Alexander, at the foot of Schiehallion in Rannoch.  In 1606, John Robertson, a wealthy Edinburgh merchant with claims to kinship, transferred the title of the lands to Robertson of Struan.

In 1636, the chiefship was devolved to Donald, known as the “tutor of Struan”.  Intensely loyal to the Stewart monarchy, Donald raised a regiment to fight for Charles I in the Civil War.  Alexander, 17th Chief of Struan, was known as the “Poet Chief”.  He followed James VII into exile in France in 1690 and had his estates forfeited.  He was pardoned in 1703, but would never swear fealty to the Hanoverian succession, calling the Clan Donnachaidh out in 1715 to support the “Old Pretender” and again in 1745 when they rallied to the side of the “Young Pretender”, Prince Charles Edward Stewart.  When the Poet Chief died, the chiefship passed to a kinsman, Duncan Robertson of Drumachuine.  He was unable to take up the Robertson estates because he, too, had been forfeited for his participation in the 1745 Rising.  In 1784, his estates son Alexander, the 15th chief, succeeded in having the Barony of Struan restored to him by the Crown.  In 1854, George Robertson, the 18th Chief, sold off the Struan estates and, for many years, his successors lived in Kingston, Jamaica, although a Clan Donnachaidh Society was formed in Edinburgh in 1893.

A YouTube Documentary of  Scotland’s History: An On Line Event of Scotland’s Clans hosted by Paul Murton.  The Robertsons is Ep 2 but other Clans are included.  Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to pronounce Donnachaidh?

“Donna-key”, translated the Children of Duncan, emerged from the union of the Scottish and Pictish kingdoms and counts amongst its forebears the Kindred of St. Columba.

What are the things the clan does?

We have an Annual General meeting which includes a potluck. Our officers and council meet every other month—all members invited to attend and participate in these. We regularly participate in various games especially the Colorado Scottish Festival in Highlands Ranch and the Long Peak Estes Park games and are sponsors of Colorado Tartan Day. We have our own Robert Burns Dinner with a piper, haggis, drawings and a program with Celtic music by local performers. Our summer activities include an annual Ice Cream Social/Picnic, and a trip to the Renaissance Faire for the Scottish/Irish weekend. We try to have an additional program or fund raisers during the year like a Scotch Tasting or genealogy seminar.  The Yule/Holiday Party includes our community service project of collecting food donations for a local food bank.

Who is our  current International Chieftain? Alexander Gilbert Haldane Robertson of Struan