Clan Sincliar Formal

Sinclair Groupings - Overview

Click any one of these as we try to figure out all our Groups' complete path through time
Click to see all points of origin for this lineage Click to see where this group's lineages may have formed You're on this page now


Where Are They Now?

As this map shows, following our family groupings makes sense up until about 1,500 AD. By that point, allegiances were becoming more nationalistic and less tribal (clan tribes included). The yellow arrows from Europe pointing into the UK came from different areas carrying very different haplotypes. And they often came in as groups of the same haplogroup. By the time of the Conqueror, this had changed and different haplogroups were traveling together. They had become nations, not tribes. They mixed together in particular geographies, and then they launched out again.

Our haplogroups got geographically mixed in the UK. Then, there was not much logic to where they went after that.

The yellow arrows represent the invasion/migration into the UK from the Danes, the Anglo Saxons, the Norse, and William the Conqueror's assembled groups. These groups at first stayed together on the eastern coast of England. But eventually, by about 1200 AD, they had begun to move around England and Scotland for reasons altogether different than tribal land grabs. Economic reasons for moving had taken over. England became a bottleneck of sorts, and the bottle got shaken, mixing everything up.

The green arrows above represent the spread of the English Empire. Our family members are mentioned on ships traveling in the earliest parts of the expansion of the Empire. We spread as far as South Africa, India, the Colonies of North America, and the islands of the West Indies.

The orange arrows were somewhat different. I view these as opportunistic migration for purely financial reasons. The Exeter and Virginia lines (and others) all made such moves. These were the movements of individuals. Other family members followed to the same areas, but only after one had succeeded in setting himself up in the new world.

The light purple arrows represent the ongoing migration of Sinclairs to North America and even to South America from the earliest times, most drawn by the opportunities for more land and for better economic conditions. These arrows also represent the forced migration of the Clearances.

The red arrows represent those Sinclairs expelled in the final significant clan risings of 1715 and 1745. Many were shipped off to Australia, Virginia and the Carolinas to serve time as indentured servants.

What does this bottleneck mean?

Bottlenecks in any geography can make our job more difficult and this one certainly does. Had the Visigoths stayed in their group all the way to the present day, we wouldn't need to do much work to figure things out. Had the E1b1s stayed together, things would be simple. Unfortunately, documents were lost, and people moved to the Colonies as individuals, not as haplogroups.

It is this bottleneck, the loss of tribal affiliations and the subsequent mixing of our family members that causes much of the confusion. Some of the Anglo-Saxon Visigoth Invader group clearly moved north and were in western and northern Scotland sometime between c. 800 AD and 1,400 AD. These marker show up as far North as the Shetlands. The AMH group now show up in less spread out clusters. The DYS390=25 group show up mostly in Caithness, again not as spread out.

Different peoples, differen haplogroups, eventually mixing together and takng surnames
The slow invasion of England - Settlements of the Germanic (Angle, Saxon and Jute)
and indigenous (Briton, Hwicca) peoples around the year 600. 25

A Logic to our Immigrant Destinations in North America

While tribes with the same haplotypes didn't stay together, there is still hope for figuring this all out. In my years doing genealogy documents work, I've observed that family groups tended to end up in the same general destinations in the colonies. Given the risks they must have perceived in venturing to the New World, this makes a great deal of sense. We see this among modern day immigrants. Not 20 miles from my home are large Indian populations, Pakistani neighborhoods, and others.

So it occurred to me to examine the ship records of David Dobson to see if there are any large groupings of immigrants that have any logic to their destinations. In other words, are we seeing any family proofs based on the destinations they chose for their immigration? My source for this is the work of David Dobson, "Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America," and "Scots on the Chesapeake." I don't pretend that these works are complete, but his work is extensive enough that it's a good place to start. Lacking the resources to understand this phenomenon in Canada or Australia/New Zealand, I'll deal only with America.

There are six major points of immigration into North America before the advent of Ellis Island in 1890. These were New Hampshire/Boston/New York, Pennsylvania (Presumably Philadelphia), Halifax/Quebec, New Jersey, Virginia and the Carolinas.

First, it's important to separate out those who were forced to immigrate due to the troubles of 1715 and 1745. They could not choose their destination. You'll see these mixed into the list below. I see two Sinclairs who were convicted in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 and sent to Virginia. It's interesting that they didn't go elsewhere. I'm not certain of the economic or militaristic issues of the time that determined this destination.

A full list of immigrants will follow. But first, it's interesting to note that that we have one in 1760 from Nantz, France to Baltimore, Maryland. In 1778, Sinclair & Hepburn were trading tobacco with France. I believe there were other relationships between the Sinclairs and France.

Alexander Sinkler, progenitor of most of the Virginia line. Other than one Arthur Sinclair, merchant skipper, I don't see any Sinclairs of the Orkneys, Shetlands or Caithness settling in Virginia. However, there is the possibility of the "Lost Child" coming into Virginia (see Family Stories).

North Carolina (This seems to be a major landing point for Sinclairs)
Caithness and Collochlagy, Rea, Caithness - to - Wilmington, NC 1774
Glen Orchy – to – Wilmington, NC 1775
Greenock – to Wilmington, NC 1774
(This Greenock is likely not the port just west of Glasgow, but in Glen Orchy)
Greenock, Glen Orchy – to – Wilmington, NC
Forsenain, Rea, Caithness – to – Wilmington, NC 1774
Isle of Jura - to – Mecklenberg, County, NC

Holm, Orkney – to – Savanna, Ga. 1775
Kirkwall – to – Savanna, Ga 1775

Thurso, Caithness – to – Pennsylvania (gen. Arthur St. Clair)
Stornoway – to – Philadelphia, PA 1775
Inverness – to – Philadelphia 1775

Where Are They Now?

These mapping tools are available in many countries. You'll see them on the "Groupings" pages at the left where they are available. I've placed more at this link. You can find these U.S. Census mapping tools at  It's at least fun to know our actual geography in certain countries where such data is available. I've parked the U.S. data here to illustrate the range and possible logic of the distribution. What it means, I can't yet discern. I believe there may be real value in knowing the geography of the exact spellings of the name. For instance, there's a story about General St. Clair visiting families in other areas and if you track those families, you'll see the spelling of the surname change at about the time of the purported visit.

You'll see that this approach seems to be yielding real understanding of the United Kingdom distribution of our family.

Saint Claire with the "e"

Saint Clair - no "e"

Sinclair spelling USA

Sinkler spelling

St Clair - with the "e"

St. Clair - no 'e"

So Now What?

The next job for you, the reader, is to look through the genealogy groupings in the navigation above left and click your group. This is the part of the project where I rely on the documents trails of the participants and the work of folks like Margaret Stokes, Antonia Sinclair and so many family researchers to compare with the DNA lineages and see if we can make sense of this all despite the mixing that went on in the years preceding the migration out of the UK.


This family and our history are simply too big for any one person to solve. This "Genealogy Groupings" section is the part of our history which you write. If you can help us add to the knowledge base of any particular geography into which our family may have entered into a country of immigration, or if you can add to our knowledge in the UK, Norway or other areas, please send your thoughts (or better yet, completely written up sections like Stan and Antonia did) to Steve and I'll include it on this website.

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