McQueen Clan History 

McQueen Origins in Scotland*

It is believed that the McQueens of Scotland were of Norse origin, coming to Scotland with the Norsemen who occupied the Hebrides and west coast of Scotland during the ninth and tenth centuries. They were probably Vikings, who during that period of history conquered Ireland, England, Scotland and certain parts of France. In Scotland they eventually affiliated themselves with the Celtic tribes. Family names did not come into common usage until the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. Variations on the McQueen name are Swyne, Sveinn, MacSwann, MacCuine, MacSween, etc. The transition of the name into McQueen probably came about the fifteenth century when the clan was present at Garafad in the NE corner of the Isle of Skye. 

During this period (1400's) the Clan System flourished in the Highlands and the McQueens of Corrybrough (Clan Revan) identified themselves with Clan Chattan, a confederation of fifteen other tribes. The MacKintoshes were the chief tribe of the confederation. A Bond of Union into the confederation was signed April 4, 1609 by Donald McQueen of Corrybrough, John McQueen of Little Corrybrough, and Sween McQueen of Riagbeg. A witness was John McQueen who was the parson of Petty. Until the last clan battle was fought in 1746, the McQueen clan remained closely associated with the MacKintoshes.

Around 1600 King James II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, ordered large numbers of Scottish lowlanders to be moved to Northern Ireland to re-populate and farm areas devastated by war. The land was good as the native Irish economy had been pastoral rather than arable. Settlers were encouraged by the promise of long leases, far better than the unfavourable terms in their native Scotland. By 1640, at least 100,000 Scots had settled in Ulster, including a number of McQueens.

Mounting religious differences and escalating land rentals towards the end of the 1600s resulted in a number of "Irish Scots" returning to Scotland , with many settling around Glasgow and along the west coast of Ayrshire, almost within sight of Ulster. Church records show that in the early 1700s there were a number of McQueen families in this area and it can be assumed that many of them were returned settlers from Ulster.

Meanwhile in Argyle Donald McQueen, who signed the bond with Clan Chattan, was prominent in records of 1594, 1609, and 1623. His son George was mentioned in 1620. Donald died about 1623 and his nephew Angus McQueen succeeded him as the Chief. Angus died about 1676 and was succeeded by his son, Donald McQueen, who in 1685 and 1697 was Commissioner of Supply for the County of Inverness. He was succeeded by his son, James McQueen the younger of Corrybrough, who was a captain in the Clan Chattan Regiment in the Rising of 1715. He died in 1762 and was succeeded by his son Donald McQueen who was a sheriff substitute in Inverness and a noted authority on Celtic literature. He died in 1792.

He was succeeded by Captain Donald McQueen, who was reportedly a spendthrift, though of high character. Under his guidance, the family estate was lost because of financial difficulties. At that time the land holdings were approximately 7,000 acres. The estate went to a man named Smith, who sold it in 1844 to an Englishman named Malkin.

When Captain Donald McQueen lost the lands in 1811, the tenants of the estate were disposed, and most of the McQueens emigrated to the United States and Canada. Captain McQueen died in 1813. The chieftainship then went to his son, also named Donald, Captain of the second Madras Cavalry. He was succeeded by his brother, John Fraser McQueen. John died in 1881, and his brother, Lachlan McQueen, a distinguished officer in the East India Company, became chief. He died in 1896, and was succeeded by his only son, Donald McQueen, of New Zealand.

*Thanks to author Sheila McQueen Ellinson. Image of map produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland

Present Family Origins in Australia

John McQueen born 1937 is great grandson of ship's captain George McQueen from Kincardine Bridge Scotland, grandson of John McQueen engineer Stewarts and Lloyds steelworks and Mary Fraser Barrie of Bellshill near Glasgow, son of John McQueen baker of Bellshill and Agnes (Nan) Wright Gore of Hamilton. John McQueen 1937 was born in Kettering England after his parents moved from Scotland during the depression. He was educated at the Kettering Grammar School and completed an apprenticeship in aircraft engineering with Hunting Aircraft at Luton Airport, England graduating as an aircraft engineer (design) after specialising for the last 2 years of his apprenticeship in the Flight Test Department.

After this he set off on a trip around the world with 3 friends in a 1936 Ford V8. At Colombo Ceylon they took a ship to Australia and having run out of funds they decided to stay there. On an impulse John applied to join the Royal Australian Airforce as a trainee pilot and was accepted. Upon graduation John flew DC3's and Caribous. Whilst on a ferry to Toronto Canada to pick up an aircraft from the manufacturer John met Christine Brown  a trainee teacher whilst re-visiting Kettering for Christmas. After only a few weeks getting to know her he persuaded her to emigrate to Australia and marry him. 

Two days after they were married in Sydney John was posted to S. Vietnam for 8 months. On return he became an instructor on Winjeels, Macchis and Caribous and settled down to married life having 3 sons John, Andrew and Matthew. During his 20 year stay in the RAAF the family was posted to Perth, Melbourne, Sale, Papua New Guinea  and Kashmir, John being Flight Commander of the Caribou flight attached to the United Nations at Srinagar.

After his service in the RAAF, John was accepted in the Dept of Civil Aviation as an examiner of airmen and spent 18 years in this role flying out of  Sydney and Bankstown airports. During his career John specialised in aviation safety promotion and completed courses and seminars in Hatfield College England, Canberra, Paris and the University of Southern California Los Angeles. He also completed a script writers course at the Australian School of Film, Radio and Television. John fully retired in 2001. His hobbies are golf, thoroughbred horses and travelling around Australia and the world. 

Christine was also born in Kettering England but 6 years later than John and lived only about 8 minutes away from John but they never met in their early years. They also went to the same school although the girls section was known as the Kettering High School. Christine then went on to Wentworth Castle Training College near Barnsley Yorkshire to train as an early childhood teacher and was attending there when she met John. After Christine emigrated to Australia and John returned from Vietnam she was fully occupied in raising their 3 boys and supporting John in his career but after the family grew up she spent 12 years as a child care director near Penrith NSW and later in the administrative management staff in the same field.  She is now fully retired and her hobbies are reading, history and travel and her family. John and Christine live in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, have 3 sons nearby and 6 grandchildren, Anna, Zoe, Catherine, John, Freya and Rory and a border collie dog called Mr Biggs.

 


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