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Sunday, 29 May 2016

Publish your own book for free, Lulu voucher

My book 'Key issues for a Clan Gunn history' is published by Lulu books - see for more on the publisher. Click on the image on the right to see my Lulu page on this book.

Lulu is giving people a chance to publish a book they have written for free, and you can keep the book 'private' if you want to. If you can use 'word' to make documents then you can publish a book as the instructions you need to follow on the Lulu site are quite easy to follow. I assume you will have to pay postage and packing. Obviously the book can be on anything - family history, philately, fiction, photography ... The key point is that normally you have to pay for every copy you buy from Lulu.

You get a copy of your book for free (as said I suspect you pay for postage and packing) and I get some money back to spend in the Lulu library if you use the code. I will use any money I get to buy copies of my two books on Gunn history which I will then donate to libraries in Scotland and around the world...

The code is 

Monday, 9 May 2016

'Clan Gunn castles'; more accurately Gunn fortalices

'Clan Gunn castles' are not castles - they are, at best, fortalices (fortified houses) due to their size.
Glensanda 'Castle' (Morvern) is classified as a Tower House by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland; NIgel Tranter page 178 in Volume 5 of his The Fortified House in Scotland which covers Caithness and Sutherland, views Glen Sanda as a fortalice. And the supposed 'Clan Gunn castles' are roughly the size (or smaller) of Glen Sanda... (The RCAHMS give measurements for the 'Clan Gunn castles'; Bulnacraig 'castle' is 37 feet by 23 feet and Halberry 'castle' 44 feet by 28 feet'.)
The word 'castle' has been lazily applied; its use supports a vainglorious view of Gunn history.

Nigel Tranter, Volume 5, The Fortified House in Scotland

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Gunn history; 'Clan Gunn Society history' and St Donan's Day

St Donan's Day is tomorrow and it is an event much celebrated by the Clan Gunn Society even though it has nothing to do with any academically based Gunn history.

By this I mean St Donan had nothing to do with Kildonan in Sutherland. One has to consider the traditional Gaelic name for Kildonan - and it has nothing to do with St Donan. If St Donan had impact on the Kildonan area then it is logical to assume the traditional name would show it. As well, the lives of the saints on the west coast are quite well documented, including St Donan, but there is no paperwork for him visiting what is now Sutherland. And we are talking the 600s here - moving from the west coast of Scotland to Sutherland would be like visiting Mars today. For more see

Which gets to the point of this entry. There are basically two Gunn histories now operating -

I like real Gunn history and will continue my research...

Friday, 15 April 2016

Origin of the Gunn surname

'Professor Carole Hough, Professor of Onomastics at Glasgow University, said most (Scottish) surnames came from a place, an occupation, a relationship, or a characteristic.'​ 

The origin of the Gunn name is from a place (northern Highlands) and that place had a characteristic people ('prickly'). As said, to believe that all Scottish surnames are clan names is simplistic nonsense. The Gunn name being of a regional / characteristic origin  is not an unusual idea if one considers all Scottish surnames.

Monday, 11 April 2016

'The Gunns' by Thomas Sinclair - are Gunns a clan?

I note the title of the seminal Gunn history text is 'The Gunns' and not 'Clan Gunn'. Given 'The Gunns' was published in 1890 it provides incidental support for the idea that even in the late 1800s the Gunns were not axiomatically viewed as being 'Clan Gunn'.