Clan Cunningham and what I’ve Learned about My Ancestry

clan cunningham badge People are naturally curious about their ancestry.

I gave up trying to figure out my own long ago, but my younger son hounded me about it back in 2009. So I gave in and showed him the information available about our last name and Clan Cunningham. The last name is Scottish and all the variations of it point back to the original Gaelic name for Cunningham.

Unfortunately, I can only trace my ancestry back a few generations because there isn’t much available in the way of genealogical records. I’ve learned at least a couple of new things since then.

The Origins of Clan Cunningham

I’m not going to repeat what’s publicly available. The Wikipedia article on Clan Cunningham begins in 1059, when King Malcolm rewarded Malcolm, son of Friskin with the Thanedom of Cunninghame. It ends with Captain Cunningham commanding British artillery in 1746.

I can only trace my ancestry back to my great-great-grandfather born in 1800, who is shown in my family tree as having the same name as my great-grandfather, James Ivy Cunningham. I can only assume my great-grandfather is a junior.

The last time I did some research, I found a note on one website that said that there was a Captain Cunningham that fought on the side of colonies during the revolutionary war. I couldn’t find anything to back that up and I’m almost certain whoever wrote that note was confusing things with the captain I just mentioned.

As you can see, there’s a gap. Not only that, but there’s no way of knowing if Captain Cunningham is part of the direct bloodline or not.

The Wars of Scottish Independence and Clan Cunningham

The only thing I know is that Clan Cunningham fought for Robert the Bruce, a Scottish nobleman, after Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland. Sometimes I’m a bit slow and I don’t see the connections.

Have you seen the movie Braveheart from 1995? At the end of the movie, Robert the Bruce led the attack against the unsuspecting British Army. This is the part of the war where Clan Cunningham supported him. The movie is a historical drama, with creative liberties taken, I’m sure.

My Ancestry as it Pertains to Clan Cunningham

In my opinion, it’s interesting but unimportant. My older son, my adopted stepson, is far more interested in my ancestry than I am. He’s in England as a military dependent of his wife, who’s in the United States Air Force. He’s already collected some mementos about Clan Cunningham and he plans to visit the Cunningham area in Scotland before his family leaves England for the next tour of duty.

I’ve made it abundantly clear to everyone I know that it isn’t important where you came from. It’s much more important to know where you’re going. You don’t want history to repeat itself, but you shouldn’t dwell on your family history.

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