Genealogy for Clan MacKenzie
Go straight to genealogical enquiries
The clan's genealogical origins are discussed at Origins of Name & Clan, and the chiefly succession can be found via Chiefs. The origins and succession of the main branches of the clan are given in the "History of the MacKenzies" published in 1879 by Alexander Mackenzie (who was known in Inverness as "The Clach") - which can be found online here - and in the genealogical charts published in the same year by James D. Mackenzie of Findon (now known as the "Findon Tables"), copies of which can be purchased from the Clan MacKenzie Society of Scotland.
Some of the material from Mackenzie's history and Findon's tables was updated and corrected in the mid-20th century in Duncan Warrand's "Some MacKenzie Pedigrees". Over the last three decades, the current clan seanchaidh/shennachie, Graeme Mackenzie - creator of this website - has used The Clach's history, Findon's tables, Warrand's corrections, material from other contemporary historians & genealogists, and his own researches, to compile a series of hand-written trees of the families of the MacKenzie lairds and gentry (landowners, wadsetters, tacksmen, merchants, lawyers etc) which are regularly updated as new info comes to hand. They now consist of over eighty A3 sized pages charting over 220 families or branches of families. He is currently compiling an index of all the individuals who appear on these charts, which will in due course be published on this website - and in the long term it's intended to make the material from the trees available on this site too. In the meantime an alphabetical list of the MacKenzie Lairdly and Gentry families that appear on these trees can be accessed by going to this page.
Graeme also has an extensive archive of material relating to other MacKenzie families which has been sent to him over the last three decades by clanspeople researching their ancestors, or asking for his help with further research into those ancestors. Some of the more recent material has been entered into a genealogical database - making it easily accessible for comparative enquiries - but much of it is still on paper and only of use for current enquirers if names, dates, places, occupations, careers, or stories, ring a bell in the shennachial memory. It's hoped, however, in due course, to index this material as well on this site.
Like many other clans, the MacKenzies have a DNA Project which is discussed on a separate page here.
It's part of the job of the shennachie to try and assist clanspeople who are researching their MacKenzie ancestors. Graeme can do this by consulting his genealogical archive of MacKenzie material to see if there are any matches or connections with the details sent in by enquirers; he can advise clanspeople on how to do further research into their own ancestors; or he can be commissioned by clanspeople to do the research for them (he's been a professional genealogist for over 30 years). Initial searches of Graeme's archive and the provision of genealogical advice are offered free of charge - within reason - and members of officially recognised Clan MacKenzie societies are offered a 10% discount by Graeme on his normal hourly rates for research.
General information about researching your ancestors in Scotland can be found on Graeme's professional website:www.highlandroots.net
If submitting an enquiry it's important to provide as much detail as possible about the ancestors who are the subjects of the enquiry, and their immediate families (ideally all that's been discovered about the three earliest known generations).
Three details in particular are essential:
Names - forename and surname (don't worry too much about spelling - our ancestors didn't).
Dates of birth, marriage, death, or residence in any particular place. A date of birth is most important (approximate if necessary).
Places of birth, marriage, death, or residence (countries/states/provinces/counties/parishes of birth can often be found in censuses).
Additionally, the names and dates of spouses and of all children (in order of birth if possible) should be provided if known.
To find the Scottish ancestors of those who settled overseas it is absolutely necessary to know as many of the above details as possible of the emigrant ancestor - particularly names & dates. If you have yet to trace back to your emigrant ancestor it may now be possible to help do that - on a professional basis - given how much genealogical material is now available online for the countries in which many emigrant Scots settled.
Using online sources
Most of the essential resources required to start a genealogical search in Scotland are available at: www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.
See www.highlandroots.net for details of other resources in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.
Many essential resources for other countries are available online via sites such as www.ancestry.com; e.g. official records of births, marriages, deaths; censuses; wills; military records; immigration & naturalisation records. However many such sites, and particularly Ancestry.com, also provide ready-made family trees submitted by users of these sites which should be treated with great caution. All too often they contain impossible things - such as children born before the dates given for their parents' births, or children born in a country after the parents are stated to have emigrated. Examine every tree carefully for such anomolies, and if you find any, look elsewhere. A clue as to the worth of any such tree is whether sources are given for each event. If the only sources given for events are other trees from that site, then again, look elsewhere.
Submit an enquiry to the Seanchaidh
Please be sure to provide the sort of details given above as a starting point for any search (even if those details are of a relatively recent ancestor).
If you think you may wish to commission paid research from Graeme, please send him as much as you already know about your earliest ancestors - the sort of details mentioned above - so he can see if a paid search would be feasible (and not a waste of his time and your money). If such a search looks feasible he will send you a copy of his terms and current fees, and an application form.
Please be patient. Graeme is often away from home researching, lecturing, or attending clan events - and while he would hope to be able to reply promptly to an initial enquiry, searching his own archive or doing research online or at libraries and archives in Scotland (or elsewhere) may take some time.
To submit an enquiry please email here.