The Glenbuchat Image Library
Alex Glennie Year: 20171 The Glennie Family - Introduction
The Glennie Family from Strathdon
Pictures above of;
1. Map of Strathdon area (Click for larger version)
2. Aerial view of Strathdon with place names
3. View of Bellabeg
3. Alex Glennie of Invercargill New Zealand
2 Glennie Family Tree
3 Glennies at Towie
4 Glennies in Strathdon
5 Glennies in New Zealand 1
6 Graveyards and Graves
7 Glennie Families in New Zealand 2
8 The Grassick Family
9 Grassicks of Sleepytown
In 2015 Alex Glennie from Invercargill New Zealand visited Strathdon and attended the Lonach Gathering . Click to see the details of his visit Alex Glennie and before him his father have spent a long time researching the origins of the Glennie family. Alex kindly gave a copy of his extensive family history and gave permission for relevant parts to be reproduced here
Alex Glennie has a mine of information on the Glennie family and if you wish to contact him, his contact details are in his entry in the Contributors Section
The Glennie ancestors had come from a number of parts of Strathdon and some of the places are noted in the above map. The full family tree is recorded on the next page.
Strathdon is an area in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is situated in the strath of the River Don, 45 miles west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. Strathdon is an informal geographical area. It stretches from the village of Mossat in the east and follows the Don River to Cockbridge in the west. The River Don rises in the eastern Cairngorms and winds its way eastward through Corgarff, Strathdon, Glenkindie and Kildrummy; on its way to the rest of Aberdeenshire. It is mainly a farming area with sheep, cattle and barley. The high moors are managed for grouse shooting and acres of forestry clothe the glen sides.
The main village in the strath is called Bellabeg but often referred to as Strathdon.
It is the founding place of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, and the Lonach Highland Gathering. This is a traditional Highland Gathering with the heavy sport events such as tossing the caber, hammer etc., and it also hosts a competition of Highland dancing. Dances
Alex Glennie’s Family History (2015)
Written by Alex Glennie
It is evident that the Glennies, although located in the hinterlands of Aberdeenshire for centuries, were never anything like a recognized Highland Clan. They probably may not originally have been Gaelic, but European or southern immigrants absorbed into the Scottish people. The tradition in my own family, from my father Alexander, was that we had a dash of something else other than Scottish blood in our make-up on the Glennie side.
Historians tell us the name is of local origin in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, and is of some antiquity in and about Aberdeen with generations of tenant farmers in the Dee and Don districts. A History of the Highland Clans and Septs states that Kennedy “Annals of Aberdeen 1399" mentions suit of Willielmus (William) Gleny with respect to the wool from certain lands. These lands are still called “Glennie’s Parks”. Glennies settled in Strathdon and Deeside appear to have followed the banner of the MacIntosh.
So they have been living there six centuries anyway. Willielmus looks more like a European name than Gaelic and it is anyone’s guess from where he sprang. It has been my theory in the absence of any other knowledge that Gleny, Glen or Glennie simply meant those characters that lived or lurked around up those glens. If they had no Gaelic identity then all the more reason to find such a label for them. Anyway they came to be Scots and Highlanders, a Sept of the MacIntosh Clan and traditionally wearing those tartans.
Whether the Glennies got mixed up in clan strife or battles or not the MacIntoshes were major participants, being engaged in warfare in the Don region with Montrose in 1645 and supporters of the Jacobite cause in the rebellions of 1715 and 1745. The Glennie's could hardly have been neutral during all this turbulence. It was said in my family that during one period of trouble some of the children, by accident or design, were in Italy.
Two Glennies aligned to the Jacobites cause (see note 2 page 118) were traced. They were William Glennie, a gardener from the Port of Aberdeen, his Regiment unknown and a Peter Glenny a weaver, from Coupar Angus a town in Perthshire who served with the Forfarshire Regiment (the Ogilvy's) and eventually returned home. I do not know the fate of the former, his rank, whether he was killed, wounded, or escaped after the battle or was captured and executed or transported to the "colonies", particularly the America's or the Caribbean like many.
I corresponded with John Glennie Frederick MacGregor of Strathdon who said that there were quite a few of that name living in the parishes of Strathdon, Glenbuchat and Towie, all in the same region on the Don River. His great grandfather James Glennie, probably closely related to our great grandfather John Glennie, was born in 1823 at Leochrie in Towie. With the exception of his mother Margaret all of his family emigrated to USA where they settled around North Andover, Massachusetts, about 30 miles from Boston.
Glennies spread around the world from Aberdeenshire. In Michigan we find the town of Glennie on the shore of Lake Huron. Glennie’s Creek in NSW is named after an early settler James Glennie. In 1885 James Glennie, farmer, lived at Sumner, Christchurch, being apparently not directly connected with our family. In Toowoomba, Australia there is the Glennie School. Patrick Glennie of Limerick was buried at Norfolk Island in the days of the penal colony. As well there are 13 Glennie’s recorded as descendants of the crew from HMS Bounty (Mutiny of the Bounty) mostly it seems through the family of Captain Bligh
There is Glennie Island in Bass Strait that I wrote about to the Royal Historical Society of Victoria concerning its history. They replied that Glennie Island is the largest of a number of precipitous rocks which rise from the sea in Bass Strait about 5 miles from the land opposite Wilson’s Promontory. It is about one mile in length and half a mile in breadth. The collection of islands is commonly called “The Glennies”. They were first discovered in 1800 and named after George Glennie who was a friend of Captain Schanck when his vessel the “Lady Nelson” was on its first voyage to Sydney from London. I did not discover what George Glennie’s claim to fame was.
Maps and references to Aberdeenshire and Strathdon (our James Glennie’s birthplace) tell us that it is also named Invernochty, population about 800; an agricultural village and parish, about 60km west of Aberdeen, a few km west off the main highway along the Don River. Nochty Water is a tributary of the Don with the town at their confluence. The Grampian Mountains 3000 ft lie to the south of the Ladder Hills 2000 ft to the NW. There are forested areas and ancient castles nearby. Bellabeg Park, Strathdon is the scene of the annual Lonach Gathering and Games, (see note 4 page 118), an established part of Highland life since 1823, which surely had a connection with James’s Highland musical ability. “Lonach” is the gathering cry of the Forbes Clan and is the name of a hill by Strathdon where the clan assembled in times of trouble. The Forbes’ are known to have possessed lands in this part of Aberdeenshire since the 12th century.
The eastern region of Scotland was accessible to contact and immigration by travellers throughout the centuries and there was a story in my family of an incomer who joined us from Europe. It is possible that this arose from the marriage of great grandfather John Glennie to Jean Bremner. The name Brebner or Bremner is derived from Braboner or weaver originally native to Brabant (Brabander) an old Duchy covering what is now Southern Netherlands and central and northern Belgium. Artificers and traders from this region settled in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere on the east coast at an early date, in the 16th century.
Edith Sharrock (nee Whitfield) of Auckland, daughter of my Aunt Isabella, relates that during the Great War two of her uncles were listed in British newspapers as being wounded and in a London Military hospital. Two Glennie women from Aberdeenshire came to London and took them back to convalesce in Scotland, telling them that they really had no business fighting the Germans from whom they were descended. Of course half the British nation, including the King, could have said the same thing but I think it likely that this story relates back to the Brebner connection.
Our Uncles, Charles and Ernest both visited relatives in Aberdeenshire during the Great War. Charles was not wounded but Ernie was gassed, spending 9 months in hospital in England. Uncle Arthur in the AIF (Australian Imperial Air force) was wounded twice and gassed twice and he was in London and Aberdeen. Arthur’s photograph was taken in Aberdeen with two fine looking dark-haired girls who would have been his cousins (see photograph page 41).
Uncle Ernie said he visited his aunt and two other relatives. Katharina and Daisy taught school for many years in the Middle East. Ernie said “the name was Dalzell or Dalziel" (See William Glennie Grassick pages 63 - 65 and Note 44 page 148).
Edith Sharrock also had the tale, gleaned from her mother and Aunt Jean (Hiscocks) which she freely stated to be hearsay, that Grandfather James and his brother Alexander were connected to a banking family in Aberdeen. I inquired of the Archives Department at Aberdeen University about this banking business during the period of the latter half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. No Glennies were discovered in direct connection with any Aberdeen banks but it is always possible that it was a female branch of the family that was involved.
Frank Garland of Christchurch, son of our Aunt Harriet, has a postcard picture of Bellabeg House, which is across the river from Strathdon and is described as the birthplace of the Glennies. He thinks it was given to his mother by Uncle Ernie who would have obtained it from his relatives during the Great War. It is postmarked 1905 and is addressed to Mrs Kellas, Rose Cottage, Forbestown. Ernie’s Aunt Mary Jane Glennie, aged 37 years, of Cottown, and married James Kellas, farmer’s son aged 32, of Meikle Tolly, in 1876 at Strathdon.
From the photo Bellabeg House is a substantial two-storied stone-built mansion with four front windows below and five in the upper floor. A rounded tower frontage with a gable window rises above the front door
In 1986 Doris Anton of Aberdeen, with whom I corresponded, visited Strathdon and located Bellabeg House and Cottown Farm the home of great grandfather John Glennie and his family. She wrote that it is still a farm in the Newe estate, still owned by Forbes’s but is smaller than it was. She thinks the house to be early Victorian with 5 bedrooms. Since our photo was taken it has been harled and is not a very handsome house but has an attractive situation on the River Don. The present occupants knew nothing about the Glennies and it would seem that there is none of that name in the Strathdon district now. In the Valuation Roll of the Parish of Strathdon, 1870, in the Estate of NeweSir Charles Forbes, Bart., Proprietor, the yearly rent of the Mansion house of Bellabeg was shown as £16.
The Farm of Cottown, occupied by John Glennie, had a yearly rent of 42 pounds (it was 15 acres in size ... 1851 Census, 45 acres and employing 1 man 1861 Census and 60 acres 1871 Census). After his death in 1873 it was occupied by Mary Jane Kellas, his daughter and wife of James Kellas. Mary Jane Kellas died in 1927 and James Kellas in 1932.
When tracing the origins of family, records become increasingly difficult to locate and then to corroborate the further back you search.
In Scotland prior to 1855 Birth, Death, Marriage and Baptism records were the responsibilities of individual parishes. These were always hand written and varied widely in content and style. Some were duplicated and others made worse by the ravages of time. In some instances there are no records at all with the obvious end result of gaps in the family history.
Variations of both Christian and family names are frequent i.e Grizel Dalgardno and Grizzel Dalgarno or James Glenny instead of James Glennie and Isobel Crookshank instead of Isabel Cruickshank.. At all times any information discovered was checked and double checked extensively against Scotland's People, Family Search (Mormon Church), Ancestry.Com and other Genealogical sources.
While I wouldn't expect everyone to agree I am very satisfied that with the information available what I have recorded is accurate.
Alex Glennie 2014
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Picture added on 15 January 2017 at 15:46
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