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Restoring Our Standing as a Clan with a Chief
Status Report from the Committee for the Chief Restoration
John Logan Marjoribanks, Chairman
Gavinton, Scottish Borders, Scotland
29th July 2012

Interested in learning more?
In early 1802, Hugh Logan, the witty Laird o' Logan, famed in poetry and prose, died at Logan House, Ayrshire, Scotland. Hugh was the youngest of three brothers, but the only one to survive his father, succeeding him as Chief of the Logans in 1759. Hugh never married so, when he died, the Logan estate passed through his sister Janet to his nephew Hugh Goodlet Campbell of Logan. Janet and her descendants never used the name of Logan and, within a few years, the estate was broken up and sold. Nobody claimed the right to be the next Chief, so the chief-ship had lain dormant for 200 years when Vernon Logan (Of North Carolina) re-founded the Clan Logan Society in 2002. Now, another 10 years on, Peter Logan (of the UK) and I are trying to establish who has the right to petition the Lord Lyon King of Arms to be recognized as the Chief of our clan. We are making progress and wanted to share with you where we are to see if you can help us come closer to our goal.

Hugh Logan of Logan, the last Chief, was the son of another Hugh, who, like his son, had inherited the chief-ship after the death of his two elder brothers, William and Allan. It was the elder Hugh's father, George, who had, in 1672, registered his coat of arms as Logan of that Ilk in the newly-opened Public register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland maintained by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Incidentally, 'of that Ilk' (in Latin 'de eodem') means 'of the same' and shows that your surname is the same as the name of your lands. In Scotland it has the particular meaning that you are chief of your family or clan. To be recognized as 'Chief of Name and Arms' a petitioner must not only show that he is the most senior heir of the last chief, but must also bear the name. He does not have to show that he still owns the land.

Our research so far indicates that there are no descendants of George Logan of that Ilk, the man who registered arms as chief in 1672, alive today who bear the name of Logan. I'm glad to say that doesn't mean we can never find our rightful chief, because there were many Logans of that Ilk before then. The Court of the Lord Lyon has specifically agreed that a descendant of an ancestor of George will be able to petition the Court for the matriculation of the arms in his own name as Chief, subject to all the necessary procedures which I describe below.

The earliest Logan we've found who is actually described as 'of that Ilk' is Patrick Logan of that Ilk, who, with William Logan, his son and heir apparent, is listed as a member of a panel convened on 29th July 1558 to determine the right of one Robert Clerk to inherit the estate of Annanhill in Ayrshire (about 16 miles from Logan). This disproves the statement in the book The History of the Logan Family by Major G.J.N. Logan Home that the family of Logan of that Ilk is descended from the fourth son of Robert Logan of Restalrig, Alexander, who was born in about 1590. It seems the chiefly line of Logans coexisted with the Restalrig Logans, but on the other side of the country. It is by no means unique that a junior branch of a family should achieve greater eminence than the senior line. Incidentally, the first recorded use of the Logan arms is on a seal by Walter Logan attached to the Ragman Roll of 1296, a document in which Scottish nobles were forced to pay homage to King Edward I of England. At that time the arms did not have the heart, as Robert the Bruce was not yet dead!

But let’s return back to our search for the chief. As George, the Chief who registered arms in 1672, has no Logan heirs left, we look next to the other sons of his father, also George Logan of that Ilk. We know that, when the elder George died in 1647, in addition to his eldest son and heir he had three other sons because, in a document dated 23rd June 1647, George's brother James was appointed guardian to his newly orphaned nephew and his three surviving brothers. We know their names because, on 6th December 1664, one of the brothers, William Logan, “brother german to Mr. George Logane of that Ilk”, drew up a bond in favor of “Allan and James Logans my brethren” in which he cedes a number of debts owing to him in exchange for a payment by them. The deed was registered in Edinburgh in 1666: it mentions four brothers, not five as stated in Logan Home's “History”. William's description as brother
german to George Logan of that Ilk means they share both mother and father. Of the three younger brothers, William appears to be closer to George than either Allan or James, although this is not yet proved. The birth order of George's younger brothers is a key focus for our research at the moment. If William was the eldest, then his descendants, rather than those of Allan or James, would have the prior claim to the chief-ship.

We believe that William had two sons, another William, who stayed in Scotland, and Hugh, who immigrated to Pennsylvania. We think that both of them have descendants alive today bearing the name of Logan. There may be living descendants of Allan or James as well. One of these descendants, the eldest surviving son of the eldest surviving son right back to George Logan of that Ilk, the father of the man who registered arms in 1672, will have the right to petition Lord Lyon to be recognized as Chief of Name and Arms of the Logan family. We need as much help as we can get from you all to find out which one it is.

When we have identified the candidate, there are two possible ways to complete the process of having the Chief of the Logans take his rightful place on the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

The most satisfactory is for the candidate to establish enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is the legitimate claimant. In such a case, he can prepare a Petition to the Lord Lyon which sets out his descent from the line of Chiefs. To this he must attach a Condescension of Proof, containing birth, marriage and death certificates, wills, testaments (inheritance of moveables), retours (inheritance of land) and such other official documents as prove each claim in his Petition. This includes both the positive claims like 'I am the son of my father' and the negative ones like 'my father's elder brother did not leave any descendants who might have a senior claim'. It takes a lot of time, effort and cash to do it, but is extremely rewarding if successful.

The second way of proceeding requires less rigorous proof and involves the old Celtic procedure of the Derbhfine or Family Convention. The Court of the Lord Lyon is supervising two such conventions at the moment, for the Ewing and the Gunn families (you can see the details on the webpage of The Lord Lyon). The first step is to hold a Derbhfine under the supervision of the Lyon Court to appoint the candidate as Clan Commander. The second step is to wait and see if anyone pops up with a better claim (usually a period of 10 years is allowed). The third step is to hold another Derbhfine to confirm the Commander as Chief. The final step is for the Lord Lyon formally to recognize the new chief as Chief of Name and Arms of Logan.

For us, the first stage is to complete, with the whole Clan's help, the research that identifies the candidate. Next is to secure his agreement to take on the role. Then we enter the process of working with him to accumulate the detailed proof needed. After assessing the evidence, a decision must be taken whether to submit a Petition direct to the Lord Lyon or to enter the Derbhfine process. Finally, the process chosen must be followed through to its conclusion. This will require financial backing as the Lyon Court fee for a new matriculation of existing arms, with the addition of supporters as now deemed appropriate for a chief, is currently £1,808 (about $2,800). 

The Clan Logan Society has opened a fund to support the Chief Restoration Project? Donations are very welcome. Please send your donations to:

The Chief Restoration Project
Clan Logan Society
6255 Towncenter Dr., Suit 636
Clemmons, NC 27012

So, one way or another, we will be able to resurrect the position of Chief of the Logans. It may take time, it will take a lot of effort and quite a bit of money, but with help from the whole Clan, I am sure we can do it. What a glorious achievement it will be!

John Logan Marjoribanks