Stewarts of the South

Stewart HOME Discussion Forum Principal Families Ardvorlich Glenbuckie Gartnafuaran Annat GlenfinglasStewarts of the South

The Stewarts of the South: Introduction

An Annotated Genealogical Analysis of Captain James Stewart's Letters
ca. 1815-1820
Referencing the Stewart Families of Southern Perthshire, Scotland

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Contents of this page

  1. Introduction
  2. Explanatory Notes
  3. Map of Balquhidder/Comrie-West Area
  4. Document Sections
    1. Section I - Ardvorlich

    2. Section II - Glenbuckie

    3. Section III - Gartnafuaran

    4. Section IV - Miscellany

  5. Contact:

Links to other related pages on this web site

  1. Stewarts of Balquhidder Research Group Home Page
  2. Stewarts of Balquhidder Discussion Forum
  3. Stewarts of Balquhidder Principal Families

    1. Stewarts of Ardvorlich

    2. Stewarts of Glenbuckie

    3. Stewarts of Gartnafuaran

    4. Stewarts of Annat

    5. Stewarts of Garchell

    6. Stewarts in Glenfinglas

    7. Other (non-related) Stewart Families

  4. Stewarts of the South Document Analysis

    1. Section I - Ardvorlich

    2. Section II - Glenbuckie

    3. Section III - Gartnafuaran

    4. Section IV - Miscellany

  5. Balquhidder Births with Stewart Surname - Grouped by Family & Location

  6. Ryk Brown's Main Page
  7. Ryk Brown's Index and Online Database
  8. Chuck Speed's Stewart Page
  9. Ardvorlich Photo Page


If you are researching ancestors of the surname Stewart who came from southern Perthshire any time before the early 19th century, welcome to a genealogical gift from heaven.  If you've been frustrated that the earliest census information you can access is 1840 and you just wish there was something earlier, or if you wished there was just some way of knowing which branch of the Stewarts your ancestors came from, well, you may be just about to have both of those wishes come true.

We highly recommend reading this entire introduction page BEFORE trying to jump into any of the sections to find your ancestors.  Or at the very least, please have read this entire page before you send us your questions.

Sometime around the year 1815-1820 several letters were written to Colonel David Stewart of Garth when the Colonel was contemplating writing a history of the Stewart families. Colonel Stewart never had any children of his own, but these letters were passed down through the family of his brother until they came into the hands of James Irvine Robertson, author of Garth's biography, The First Highlander: Major General David Stewart of Garth CB, 1768-1829.  (I highly recommend the book as excellent background material for the study of the Stewarts of the South, and as a portrait of the man who was the recipient of these letters, or at the very least for a most enjoyable read.)  Mr. Robertson, with whom I have corresponded, transcribed these letters and donated them to the Stewart Society.  And we are all indebted to him for his generosity.

James' transcription of Stewarts of the South was originally published on the internet on, however the transcription has since been removed from that site.  We maintain a copy of the original transcription on the Stewarts of Balquhidder Research Group Web Site.  To see our copy of the original transcription please click here:

Stewarts of the South Original Transcription by J. I. Robertson

From their publication in this single document, entitled The Stewarts of the South, the collection of letters has since come to be known by that same title. 

James Irvine Robertson now hosts a remarkable website with all kinds of historical documents from his Garth collection which he has painstakingly transcribed and posted for free access.  Recently added to James' archives is "The Atholl Stewart Census" -- a document very similar to Stewarts of the South, compiled about the same time for the same purposes, but pertaining to the Atholl Stewarts. You can access James' archives here:


The author claims that the document took two years to write.  James Irvine Robertson originally narrowed down the dating to between 1815-1820. 

We have been able to identify the following specific references in the collection as to their dating:

  1. James Stewart in Laggan had his first son baptised in 1821 and this son is mentioned in Stewarts of the South: Section 1 - Ardvorlich.

  2. John Stewart, son of Peter Stewart in Lochearnhead, son of Donald Stewart in Edinample is described in Section IV of Stewarts of the South as having "two underage children".  OPR records confirm he had a son Peter b 1817 and a daughter Catharine b 1819 in Balquhidder.

  3. Donald Stewart in Summerline (from Ardvorlich 7.4) died in 1818 and is recorded as deceased in Stewarts of the South.

  4. Lieut. Alexander Stewart (Ardvorlich 7.4) is recorded in Stewarts of the South as having a son from his second marriage who was a minor.  This son is Robert Stewart b 1819 in Comrie.

  5. Angus Stewart (Glenbuckie IX.3) is recorded in Stewarts of the South as "Angus, who emigrated to North America, and who had three sons."  The eldest of these sons was born in 1827 and Angus did not emigrate until 1828.

  6. Robert Ban Stewart, son of John Ban Mor Stewart in Auchnahard, is described in Stewarts of the South as having two minor sons.  Robert's third son, Duncan was born 7 AUG 1820 and is not recorded in Stewarts of the South.

Above we find several items in the range of 1818-1821 which are mentioned in Stewarts of the South and one exceptional item as late as 1828 that appears to be included in Stewarts of the South.  Yet we also find entries as early as 1820 that are absent from Stewarts of the South.  It is important to remember that this document is really a collection of letters which the author claims were written over a two year period.  If the author's claim of two years is accurate then it would seem the letters were probably written about 1818-1821 with some exceptional additions made as late as 1828.


The author of these letters is not known for certain as they appear to have been unsigned.  In the final section of the collection, the author says of himself: "The family that I am of, about five generations back came up from Dunkeld to be factors to the family of Athol."  Based on this comment, and other internal evidence, Mr. Robertson originally believed the author to be Captain James Stewart who was dismissed as Athol's Factor in 1818.  However, Mr. Robertson informs me that recent research by Australian descendants of Captain James Stewart shows that the handwriting on these letters does not match that of other correspondence by Captain James Stewart.  As such, they claim that the author may not be Captain Stewart.  We find the internal evidence to be more compelling than the hand-writing analysis, as there are many possible explanations as to why a man's handwriting might vary over time.  We think we can be reasonably confident that the author was indeed Captain James Stewart, former Factor of Athol.

Colonel David Stewart of Garth and Captain James Stewart, Factor of Athol

The author and recipient of these letters shared a common passion for the culture of their Highland home and a common revile for the Highland Clearances and a common condemnation for those landlords who evicted long-standing tenants just for improved income.  In the Garth biography, Robertson asserts that Capt. James Stewart was in fact dismissed as Atholl's factor precisely because of his refusal to evict longstanding tenants from their farms on the Athol lands.  Col. David Stewart of Garth was himself unyielding in his public condemnation of landlords who evicted tenants, even to his personal detriment.  On his own estate of Garth, David drove himself to economic ruin to avoid evicting his own tenants.  Col. Stewart has also been acclaimed as one who did more than just about any other man in Scotland's history for preserving and promoting the culture of the Gael and for defining the image of the Highlander that endures today, including the beginnings of the modern system of family or clan tartans.

The Stewarts of the South document describes many of the Stewarts living in southern Perthshire at the opening of the 19th century, including partial fragments of their ancestry, sometimes going back a further hundred years or more!  The document categorizes each Stewart household of that day according to which branch of which principal Stewart family they belonged, including the origin of the patriarch of that branch.  Unfortunately there is often a 100-150 year gap between the origins of each branch and those living at the time of the letters.  The challenge is left to the genealogist to fill in the intervening generations -- a difficult, but not impossible challenge.  And, if you are successful, you could have a provable ancestry going back to King Robert II (the first of the Stewart kings) and his grandfather, Robert the Bruce.

The document describes several branches of the three principal Stewart families of Southern Perthshire:

bulletthe Stewarts of Ardvorlich,
bulletthe Stewarts of Glenbuckie,
bulletthe Stewarts of Gartnafuaran,
bulletand their cadet branches, as well as many other Stewart families. 

The original transcription is extremely difficult to read.  It contains almost no punctuation at all (as I believe to be also true of the original letters).  It is like reading a 100-page run-on sentence.  Just trying to figure out where one sentence should end and the next begins will drive you batty.  Furthermore, the author had a habit of seemingly randomly capitalizing words in the middle of sentences (a common style from that era), making it even more difficult to determine breaks in his thought patterns.  To complicate matters further, the transcriptions carry no paragraph breaks to indicate where the author has changed from one branch to the next, thus when the author says something like "James Stewart was the brother of the aforementioned John" you may find that there are three John Stewarts that could be the brother, or perhaps one is a father, or an uncle, or....  Trying to find your ancestor and then trying to decipher his relationship to the main family branch can cause premature greying of your hair!  However, the value of the information contained in this document makes it worth the effort in the end.  That is why the team of researchers at the Stewarts of Balquhidder Research Group began the long and arduous task of reformatting, editing, analyzing, and providing commentary for this document.  It has taken a team of eight researchers nearly two years just to get as far as you will see ahead.

This present analysis project includes edits to the original document with punctuation and paragraph breaks added in, to make it easier to read and to more easily identify the branches of the family.  The editing also includes correcting much of the spelling and grammar to 21st century conventions.  (Not that there is anything wrong with the original spelling or grammar; it is just that our modern conventions have changed enough as to make the original very difficult for the average modern reader to understand.)  This project should not be understood as a replacement for the original, but rather as a commentary to aid in the understanding of the original document.  f you wish to read the unedited original version please follow the link above.

In our analysis, the following conventions have been followed:

bulletwords enclosed in round parentheses "( )" or bulleted and italicized represent our own editorial comments
bulletwords enclosed in round parentheses "( )" that are NOT italicized represent the original author's own parenthetical comments, but which were not necessarily marked by parentheses in the original.  They have been so marked now in order to make the document easier to understand.
bulletwords in square braces "[ ]" represent our additions, corrections or interpretations of the original text in order to make it easier to read (either for spelling, grammar, punctuation, or logic).
bulletall headings and sub-headings are our additions to make the text easier to read, however, the numbering system of branches and sub-lines has been preserved from the original document.
bulletfurthermore, where possible, Gaelic names and phrases have been translated into English (to the best of this web-master's elementary knowledge of Gaelic)

If you can help to further identify any one of these branches, please contact us so that your information may be added to this site.

Explanatory Notes

The following points will help you to better understand the family references in the document and hopefully help you more accurately identify your own family ancestors.  So, please note the following:


Where no surname is given in the text then Stewart should be assumed.  However, because Gaelic nicknames are used throughout the text, it may be difficult for the reader who does not understand Gaelic to differentiate between Gaelic nicknames and surnames.  For example: Iain Dubh Mor should be understood as "Big Black John Stewart" -- where Iain is the Gaelic form of John, Dubh and Mor are nicknames, and Mor is not a surname, and the "Stewart" surname is not written, but is just presumed.


In the original author's presentation of the families, he does not discuss daughters (or wives, for that matter), except in a handful of cases.  Thus, when the document says "so-and-so had four sons" it does NOT mean that he had ONLY four sons; he may also have had several daughters.  Regrettably, the author did not seem to consider women worthy of recording.


The author often distinguishes between adult sons and minor sons (under the age of 16).  If the author mentions "two sons" without qualifying whether they were adult or minor then it is presumed to mean "two sons at least age sixteen", but don't count on this being absolutely accurate or consistent.


The author claims that the document took two years to write.  We believe that the document was written probably somewhere between 1815-1821.  Knowing this can help you identify a particular family.  You can figure that minor sons were probably born between 1799-1815.  Adult sons were probably born prior to 1799.  Again, don't rely on this to be too accurate.


The author's system of accounting branches and sub-lines of families is challenging to understand at its best.  Exactly what is meant by 1st, 2nd, 3rd line, etc. is not always clear, nor consistent in the original.  There are several sub-lines listed for many of these lines.  Are we to conclude that the patriarchs of each of these sub-lines are all brothers or cousins from the same family?  It seems that a combination of both is the case.  However the author does not seem to use his system of lines consistently.  Sometimes it is clear that the the relationship of one line to the next is that of first cousin, other times, brothers.  Sometimes those listed within the same line at parallel generations are clearly labeled as brothers, other times cousins, and in one case even nephew.  In other cases the relationships are not indicated at all and the reader is left to guess.  Unfortunately for the reader this means that one cannot accurately infer any specific relationship just because certain people are listed consecutively.  However, with the team of researchers involved on this project and our knowledge of these Stewarts, we hope that our conclusions and educated guesses will be of assistance to you.


All of these points also assume that the author did not make any errors.  And it is known that he did make errors.  In fact, the author says, in his own words "for if I would examine it a dozen times I would still find some corrections."  Therefore, don't assume the entry for your potential family ancestor is absolutely correct.

When the author says, for example, "John Stewart had four adult sons and 2 minor sons", this should not be interpreted too literally, but should be read as "I think John Stewart probably had about four adult sons and about 2 sons under 16."  In cases where the author gives more detailed information on a family then the reader may presume the author had better knowledge of that family and may trust the entry to be more accurate.  However in cases where the author gives very little data on a family then the reader should presume the author was less familiar with the family and not trust the data to be absolutely accurate.


James Robertson also graciously admits that he probably made some transcription errors in preparing the typed document available on the Heartlander website.


We too have probably made some copying or interpretation errors in what has been presented here.


Therefore the serious researcher may want to refer back to the original letters in the Stewart Society Archives for greater accuracy


According to a comment made in Section 1, VI Branch, 5 Line, 5th son, the rents listed below are annual rents.


To convert rents and other monetary values to rough present day amounts:

multiply by about 34 to convert to present day British pounds


multiply by about 68 to convert to present day American dollars


multiply by about 85 to convert to present day Canadian dollars.


"Do" in the original means "ditto", however for readability, in most cases we have written the dittoed reference out in full.

The original author makes occasional reference to Duncan Stewart's Genealogy or Duncan Stewart's History published by Duncan Stewart in 1739.  This document can be found here:

Duncan Stewart's History of the Stewarts

Use of Gaelic Names

The author often switches indiscriminately between the English and Gaelic forms of many forenames.  Thus, for example, the reader will encounter both John and Iain being used in the same paragraph to refer to the same person.  Readers who do not understand Gaelic forenames and their English equivalents will be at a distinct disadvantage in trying to understand this text.  As such we have included a short list of the most commonly cited forenames in the text in their Gaelic form and their English equivalent.  There are often wide variations in spelling used in the text.
bulletAlasdair (Alistir) = Alexander
bulletCallum (Challuim) = Malcolm
bulletDomhnall (Dhomhnaill) = Donald
bulletDonnchadh (Dhonnchaidh, Donnach)= Duncan
bulletIain = John
bulletPatrick = same, but often rendered as Peter in English
bulletRab or Ross = Robert
bulletSeumas (Seamus, Sheumais, Hamish) = James

Map of Balquhidder/Comrie-West Area

The following map from MultiMap may help you to identify some of the places named in this document.

click map to enlarge

Document Sections

Please proceed to the section of your choice:

Section I - Ardvorlich

  1. I Branch (Ardvorlich) - Clan Sliochd Tigh Nan Ellain
  2. II Branch (Balmenoch and Ardvorlich)
  3. III Branch (Auchraig) - Clan Sliochd Alastair Oaig
  4. Stewarts in Glenfinglas
  5. IV Branch - Letter Stewarts
  6. V Branch - The Tulloch Stewarts
  7. VI Branch - The Flint Stewarts, Clan Sliochd Sheumais Chrosts
  8. VII Branch (Dalveich) - Clan Sliochd Iain Duibh Mhor
  9. VIII Branch - The Annat Family
  10. IX Branch - The Bains of Glenfinglas
  11. X Branch (Ballachallan)
  12. The Ardvorlich Lands
  13. (XI Branch) Campsie Family of Ardvorlich
  14. Parish by Parish Accounting

Section II - Glenbuckie

  1. Clan Sliochd nan Tigh Duibh
  2. John Glas Stewart of Benmore
  3. The Glenbuckie Farms
  4. I Branch - The Principal Family
    1. Alexander Stewart of Glenbuckie (of the old line)
  5. II Branch - Clan Sliochd Iain Duibh Bheig
  6. III Branch - Un-named branch
  7. IV Branch - The Craiglevan Stewarts
  8. V Branch - The Lorachan Stewarts
  9. VI Branch - Sliochd Bhalter nan Cliugh
  10. VII Branch - Un-named branch
  11. VIII Branch - The Glentarken Stewarts
  12. An Aside on the MacGregors of Glencarnaig
  13. Branch IX - Sliochd Gleanmagaolric
  14. Branch X - Un-named branch


Section III - Gartnafuaran

  1. I Branch - Sliochd nan Tigh Mhoil
  2. II Branch - Stuiartich a' Bhaid
  3. III Branch - Sliochd Rob Dhuibh Mhoir
  4. IV Branch - Sliochd Sheun Rob is Alastiar Oig
  5. V Branch - Stewarts of Glenogle, Cloich-Glas & Hynfield
  6. VI Branch - Stewarts of Coille Mor
  7. VII Branch - Stewarts of Port-an-ealan
  8. VIII Branch - Clan Stuirtaich Chireu
  9. Closing

Section IV - Miscellany

  1. Section IV: Miscellany
    1. Concerning the Lands of Ardvorlich
  2. Stewart Households Missed in the Previous Sections
    1. John and William Stewart in Drymen, of Ardvorlich
    2. Duncan Stewart in Buchlive
    3. Comments to David Stewart of Garth
      1. The Dastardly Duncan Stewart in Brainchoil and Letter, of Gartnafuaran
  3. Stewart Families Not Related to the Balquhidder Stewarts, But Residing in the Balquhidder Area
    1. Stewarts of Appin, Residing in Southern Perthshire
    2. Other Stewarts
    3. Stewarts of Grantully, Residing in Southern Perthshire
    4. Stewarts of Ballechan, Residing in Southern Perthshire
    5. An Alleged Appin Family Residing in Southern Perthshire
    6. Stewarts of Gachoille, Residing in Southern Perthshire
  4. Parish-by-Parish Census of Stewarts in Southern Perthshire, ca. 1820
    1. Callander and Kilmahog Parishes
    2. Callander Parish
    3. Balquhidder Parish
    4. Port of Menteith Parish
    5. Dryman Parish
    6. Kincardine Parish
    7. Stirlingshire
    8. Doune Parish
    9. Dunblane Parish
    10. Comrie Parish
    11. Monzievaird Parish
    12. Crieff and Strowan Parishes
  5. Comments on Stewart Families Not in Southern Perthshire
  6. Closing Comments to David Stewart of Garth
  7. Additional Correspondence


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