Clan MacKenzie History 1800-1900

Lord Seaforth died in 1815, apparently in circumstances predicited nearly 150 years before by the Brahan Seer. Though the Seaforth lands went to his daughter and her descendants (the Stewart-MacKenzies of Seaforth), the chiefship eventually passed to Seaforth's 4th cousin once removed, George MacKenzie of Allangrange. When he died in 1841 he was suceeded by his son John, who in turn was succeeded in 1849 by his brother James [see family tree here]. By this time however the social and economic state of Scotland had changed so radically that the title was virtually meaningless. Many MacKenzie lairds and tacksmen had emigrated, and were followed by thousands of ordinary clanspeople who had been cleared from their native glens to make way for sheep-runs and exclusive hunting estates. Some settled in the industrial areas of the Scottish Lowlands, others emigrated to English cities, and yet more to North America & Australasia. MacKenzies were particularly prominent in the history of Canada, both as explorers & politicians, and the first Surveyor-General of India was a MacKenzie. See Emigrants & Explorers.

Yet even as the Highlands were losing so many of its native people, a Celtic cultural revival was growing which sought to preserve the traditions of the Gaels and resurect their language. The Highland Society of London, which had been founded in 1778, had as its long-serving Secretary, until his death in 1802, John MacKenzie of Arcan. The "King's Jaunt" - the visit to Edinburgh of George IV in 1822, choreographed by Sir Walter Scott - created interest in clans & tartans, which was followed later in the century by Queen Victoria's discovery of the Highlands and purchase of Balmoral. The Gaelic Society of Inverness was founded in 1871 following correspondence in the Inverness newspapers carried on by, amongst others, three Mackenzies - including Alexander the clan historian who wrote as "Clachnacuddin" (hence his later nickname, "The Clach"). This stimulated the writing of clan histories (Alexander Mackenzie's history and the Findon Tables were both published in 1879) and the founding of clan societies (the first Clan MacKenzie Society was established in 1891). See Histories & Historians.