The History of the Black Family in Scotland

David Black bakery delivery wagon Musselburgh, Scotland 1886

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many unknowns about the origin of the Black name.  There are Black family lines that originated in both Scotland and England. What we do know is that our line originated in the Highlands of Scotland hundreds of years ago. If you could turn back the clock and visit the area in those early days you would not find anyone by the name of Black.  Instead, everyone went by the name Lamont. In our family line the first evidence is found in a letter from a Laird of the Lamont Clan in Scotland responding to a letter written by John Black in Belfast, Ireland in 1723, inquiring about information regarding his Scottish heritage for his son. The Laird states:

“You tell me your son, who has the honor of being his Majesty King Georges consul at Cadiz, wants to know when the BLACKs descended form the family I represent, and how they came to have their mane changed from Lamont to that under which they now go; in compliance to which reasonable request, please take an account of both as follows:–Lamont had a son about 400 or 500 years ago, whose hair, as we have it handed down by tradition, was very black, on which account he was called a Ghiolle dugh, which in English the Black Lad; his son, again, was called Mac a Ghiolle dugh, in English the Black Lads Son, and so was his posterity ever since called with us, of whom there is a pretty good number in Cowhall, and in other parts of the Highlands; but such of them as went to the Lowlands, England, Ireland, or other kingdoms, called themselves BLACKs, being a literal translation of dugh into English. And this branch of the family of Lamont were so very zealous and careful to preserve its memory.”

The name Black first shows up in Scotland during the 1400 and 1500 hundreds. This is about the time our family began their migration from the Highlands down to the more populated lowlands of Scotland. Early records show that many Blacks migrated to Edinburgh, Scotland, which in those days was the cultural center. It was where the Scottish Royalty lived and the center of government.  Formal records of our family line begin to show up in the 1500 hundreds. Records show the Blacks were not farmers but Townspeople, such as, tailors, builders, merchants, politicians, clerks, etc. Many Blacks became prominent as Lord Provost, Abbot, etc.

This was at the time of the reign of King James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots, when the kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciary, and laws, although both were ruled by King James.

In the 16th century, across the Irish Sea channel from Scotland, the English were seeking to extend their control over Ireland.  One of the ways was to drive the Catholic Irish landowners off their land and replace them with Protestant English or Scottish settlers between the 1550’s and the 1650’s. This process was called a “Plantation.”

John Black arrived in Ireland about 1609, as part 0f the Ulster Plantation, He was a soldier fighting for a Protestant King to free Ireland from Catholic domination. For his service he was awarded a land grant just outside Belfast, Ireland. It was on this land that he raised his family.

 

Letter Written by John Black 1723 to the Laird of Scottish Clan Lamont

History of the Scottish Clan Lamont

John Black III – First Scottish Black into Ireland

BlackFamilyTree – 13000, Family Records