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Logan-Clements Family History 2: The Logan Family

A broad look at the name Logan and then Sam Logan

edited from "The Family Tree"
I have assumed that this page was written by Joy Logan





Coats of arms




Logans are a sept of the clan M' Lennan, whose original homeland was in Ayrshire and the Mull of Galloway (see map). According to The Family History the tartan is "red with green, black and yellow stripes, though there are several variants, as indeed there are for most tartans." This is evident from a search of the web which has everything except red with black and yellow stripes! The two most common are illustrated.

The coat of arms turned out to be more of a puzzle. Although Hugh [Selby?] had drawn one on the cover of the family history [third item in right column], the family had generally assumed that it was the 'Passion Nail' one, though even this comes in two versions - one with one nail and one with three nails. One reference suggest that the three nails is the Irish version and one nail is the Scottish version.

However, when Jill [Taylor] Logan ordered bookplates for her husband, John [Samuel Robert John Logan], she was sent a totally different one. She queried this with the firm, and an extract from their reply follows.

"It would appear that the name Logan has many crests attributed to it. At the last count it could bear the crest of any of the following (from Fairbairn's Book of Crests) depending on which branch of the family a person came from:

  • Logan, Scotland: A bugle horn, stringed, perpendicular
  • Logan, England: A hand erect, pointing with two fingers to the sun, perpendicular
  • Logan, Ireland: A demi-lion rampant, vertical
  • Logan, Scotland: A passion-nail, piercing a mans heart"

Unless a customer specifies which crest is theirs then the supplier would normally send the most common, which in this case was the green lion of the Irish Logans.

What was most surprising was the assertion that the Irish Logans were the most numerous, A Book of Irish Surnames gives it as Gaelic O Leoghan, with variants Lohan, Loghan or Loughan: 'originally of Westmeath, this sept became established in County Galway. Duck is a synonym by mistranslation.'


Of Granda's history [Samuel Logan] little is known for certain. We do know that he was illegitimate, and there are three different accounts of his origins, which however are not wholly impossible to reconcile.

The first, which came from my mother [Annie (Adair) Logan], is that Logan was his mother's name, and that his father was the 'son of the Big House' where his mother worked as a servant. This was assumed to be Glenarm Castle, where she certainly did work later in life, but otherwise there seems no foundation for the story - unless, as will be seen later, the 'Big House' concerned was not Glenarm Castle but the home of the Jamieson's.

Beth [presumably Beth Hamill] has Granda's marriage certificate, on which his father's name is given as 'Robert Logan, labourer'. On the strength of this we have put Robert Logan as his father on the family tree, but it does leave several questions unanswered. I have not been able to find out what name his mother used, but if Robert Logan was the man she subsequently married, that would have legitimized their son. Even if he were merely protecting his wife by giving his name to her illegitimate child, their marriage would have been adequate 'cover' to make it unnecessary for their son to carry the stigma of illegitimacy throughout his life - a stigma so strongly felt that as late as 1924, when he was almost sixty, his prospective daughter-in-law was solemnly taken aside to be 'asked if she minded' before she married into the family. Only if his real father publicly recognized and supported him, perhaps paying Robert Logan to bring him up, need the story have remained public knowledge.

The third version comes from Peg [(Roy) Harris] in Australia, She writes:

"I was led to believe that his father's name was Jamieson, and apparently he contributed to Grandad's upkeep when he was quite young. I seem to remember a story that Mum [Agnes] and Dad [Sam Roy] mentioned. There was a relation in Australia who owned a sheep station in western New South Wales. (I can't recall whether the relation was a Jamieson or a Logan.) When Grandad Logan was quite young he offered him a home with him in Australia, offering to pay his fare out to Australia. He lodged the money in the local Post Office, and in the meantime the Bushrangers raided the Post Office and stole the money, so naturally Grandad Logan never made it to Australia."

That story rings true, and is strengthened by the fact that his first grandchild, Sam and Agnes's first son, was christened Thomas Jamieson Roy. Clearly the original Thomas Jamieson kept in touch with his son long enough to know his grandchildren. Did he emigrate to Australia, and perhaps even help the Roys to do so later? Certainly there was a serious plan in the early 1930's for my parents [Jack and Annie Logan] to join the Roy's in Australia, at a time when I do not think they could have afforded the fares without help.

[For more comments on the name Jamieson, see Agnes Jamison/Gamble's notes.]

That story would also go some way to explain what has always puzzled me: why, given the social attitudes of the late Victorian era, a girl of Granny's family connections - even if her father was, as Beth tells me, 'the black sheep of the family' - should she have been allowed to marry the illegitimate and possibly illiterate son of a labourer when she was only eighteen? It becomes a little more understandable if he was recognized as a son of another family of property in the area. (Perhaps their 'black sheep' had been shipped off to Australia, as was common practice!)

That brings me to another legend about Granda: that he was illiterate until his marriage, and that Granny taught him to read and write. This, a surprise to those of us who remember him as an omnivorous reader, seems to be based on the fact that he signed his marriage certificate with a cross- but then, so did Shakespeare! I have read that it was common practice for registrars to fill in certificates themselves, and then simply say "Put a cross there" without asking whether the person could in fact write. (This was to prevent forgery.) Another reason why I query this story is that the Compulsory Education Act was passed in 1870, when Granda was only five years old, and while of course children did "slip through the net", it seems unlikely that Thomas Jamieson would not have ensured that his son went to school since the law required him to do so - unless of course Thomas Jamieson was already in Australia. This must remain, in the Scottish phrase, "not proven".

Linked toLiving; Robert Logan; Living

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