Cos. Tyrone, Donegal, Londonderry & Fermanagh Ireland Genealogy Research

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President James Buchanan's Genealogy, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Freeman’s Journal [Sydney, Australia] May 16 1857
Transcribed, compiled and submitted by Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia



James Buchanan is now President of the United States and a brief notice of his historical lineage may not be uninteresting to some of our readers. The Clan Buchanan, though, located in the Highlands of Scotland since the tenth century, derives its origin from the O’Kanes of County Derry, according, to its oldest archives and traditions, as published in the year 1728 by William Buchanan of Achmar, under the title of ‘An Historical and Genealogical Essay upon the Family and Surname of Buchanan’ This volume was reprinted in Edinburgh in 1775, and it contains the accredited history of the sept, as drawn up by one of its chiefs from documentary and other sources. The story is briefly this — Asian Buidhe O'Kane was one of the Irish youths who, in the habit of ladies, had attended the celebrated banquet given by Turgesius, the Danish general, to his officers, and; who, with concealed daggers under their dresses, dispatched their brutal enemies, when the latter imagined they had in prospect only scenes of drunken licentiousness. When the Danes recovered from the surprise into which they had been thrown by the slaughter of their leaders, they inflicted terrible revenge upon the native Irish, and, Asian O'Kane, with a small band of attendants, passed over to the north of Argyleshire, near the Lennox, where he settled, and soon, afterwards distinguished himself in the service of the Scottish monarch in two battles against the Danes of England. Extensive lands were consequently assigned to Asian and his followers, who, during two centuries, afterwards, were called 'Mac Asian' — in modern orthography 'M'Causland',- this having been the original designation of the clan Buchanan. The name of Buchanan appears in the first instance to have been territorial – Buadh Chuanais - Cuanan' s conquest, and it was not till the 13th century that it was assumed as a surname, a portion of the clan, however, still retaining; their ancient family name of 'Mac Asian'. In ancient charters the name of Buchanan frequently appears as' O'Quahuanan' (“Ui Chuanain”), with the regular Irish prefix, meaning descendants of Cuanan or Conan and between them and the Dungiven O'Kanes, a friendly recognition of the kindred, according to our author, was constantly maintained. The powerful clan in question was divided eventually into the leading families of Auchmar, Arnpryor, Drumikill, Lenny, Carbeth, Auchneiven, &c., and from these principal streams branched off in the course of time, a considerable number of subdenominations, as the M'Causland's, M'Millans, M'Watties, M'Robbs, M'Collmans, M'Aldins, a section of the M'Kinleys, (sons of Finley,') &c, &c. The ancestors of the principal families of M'Causland in the north of Ireland are stated to have been Andrew and John, Mac Auselan, sons of the Baron Mac Auselan, who went out of the parish of Luss to that kingdom in the latter part of the reign of James VI. Alexander, a son of Andrew M'Auselan held a commission in the army during the civil wars in the reign of Charles IV and he acquired, 'partly, by debenture and partly by purchase, the estates of Resh and Ardstraw, in the county of- Tyrone’. Among the ancestors of the Buchanans in Ulster our author, mentions Robert, son of the laird of Blairhhenachum, a cadet of the Drumikill family, who went to Ireland, and resided in Glenmaqueen, in the county of Derry, also a cadet of the Drumhead family, named George, who is, said to have resided in the neighborhood of Raphoe. This gentleman, we are, informed, purchased a pretty good interest in that kingdom, and had two, sons, of whom the 'eldest succeeded' to his interest; the youngest was a clergyman.'' From, Finlay, son of Patrick Buchanan, called Courrui, or the “champion, in consequence of ‘his daring character’- are descended Alexander Buchanan, father, to James Buchanan, now of Cremannan, who, with his sons, Ireland,' the author adding in, a, sub sequent passage,” of Patrick, the fourth son of Patrick, the Courrui', is descended Finlay Buchanan, in Laggan of Tyrconnell, in Ireland, who has some brethren, and other relations of that race, residing near Raphoe, and some other places of that kingdom. A branch of the Carbeth Buchanans also settled in Tyrone and Donegal, and one of its members, George, in Munster, while those of the same name in Down and Antrim are generally descended from the family of Wester Ballat, a cadetship of the house of Drumikill. James Buchanan, the American President, in descended from a family of those early settlers in, the north of lreland. His grandfather, we believe, was a farmer in the townland of Tattyreagh, parish of Drumragh, in County Tyrone, about four miles from Omagh. His father, the eldest of two sons, emigrated to the United States some time towards the end of the century, and died in America, having never revisited his native country. Some of his relatives are still resident in the county Tyrone, and occupy respectable positions in society.

A correspondent of the Tyrone Constitution writes: — ' In your last paper you correctly state that the new President of the United States is the son of a Tattyreagh man — but you should have added that the nearest male relations of the Tattyreagh Buchanans in this county, are Alexander and George Buchanan, Esqrs., of Ednasop, Fintona, and- their brother, Beavor Buchanan, Esq., of Tullybroom, near Clogher, their father and the President's having, been cousins. It is upwards of eighty years since he emigrated with his brother. The Mullins, who belonged to the neighbourhood of Omagh, and their connexions, are also of the Tattyreagh family, but of the female side.'