Buchan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The current generations of the Buchan family have inherited a surname that was first used hundreds of years ago by descendants of the ancient Scottish tribe called the Picts. The Buchan family lived in the lands of Buchan in Aberdeenshire having derived from the Gaelic word for little or small.

Early Origins of the Buchan family

The surname Buchan was first found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historic county, and present day Council Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland.

Some of the first records of the family were Ricardus de Buchan, who was clerk of the bishopric of Aberdeen c. 1207-1208 and William de Buchan who held land in Aberdeen in 1281. A few years later, Thomas de Boghan of Edinburghshire rendered homage to King Edward I in 1296. [1]

Early History of the Buchan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Buchan research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1376, 1369, 1391, 1405, 1436, 1477, 1458, 1446, 1708, 1309, 1272, 1291, 1296, 1296, 1301, 1309, 1720 and 1318 are included under the topic Early Buchan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Buchan Spelling Variations

Scribes in the Middle Ages did not have access to a set of spelling rules. They spelled according to sound, the result was a great number of spelling variations. In various documents, Buchan has been spelled Buchan, Buccan, Buckan, Buchane and others.

Early Notables of the Buchan family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Andrew of Buchan (d. 1309?), Bishop of Caithness, former Abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Cupar (Coupar) Angus, to which he had been preferred in 1272. His name appears on the Ragman Rolls as paying homage to Edward at the church of Perth 24 July 1291, and at Berwick-on-Tweed 28 Aug. 1296. He was nominated to the bishoric of Caithness by Pope Boniface VIII, 17 Dec. 1296. "The date of his death is usually given as 1301, but this...
Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Buchan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Buchan migration to the United States +

The cruelties suffered under the new government forced many to leave their ancient homeland for the freedom of the North American colonies. Those who arrived safely found land, freedom, and opportunity for the taking. These hardy settlers gave their strength and perseverance to the young nations that would become the United States and Canada. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name Buchan:

Buchan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Buchan, who landed in Virginia in 1772 [2]
  • James Buchan who arrived in New York in 1774
  • Thomas Buchan, who arrived in New York city in 1775
  • Thomas Buchan, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1775 [2]
Buchan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Buchan, aged 29, who arrived in South Carolina in 1812 [2]
  • George Buchan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • George Buchan, who arrived in Boston Massachusetts in 1821
  • Sarah Buchan, aged 58, who landed in New York in 1854 [2]
  • James Buchan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1877 [2]

Australia Buchan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Buchan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Buchan, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australian" in 1837 [3]
  • Frederick George Buchan, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"

New Zealand Buchan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Buchan Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Mathew Buchan, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 14th October 1860 [4]
  • Mrs. Margrie Buchan, (b. 1826), aged 37, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [4]
  • Mr. William Buchan, (b. 1826), aged 37, British ploughman travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [4]
  • Miss Marjory Buchan, (b. 1849), aged 14, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [4]
  • Miss Helen Buchan, (b. 1852), aged 11, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Buchan (post 1700) +

  • Peter Buchan (1790-1854), Scottish editor, and Scottish Ballad collector, born at Peterhead in 1790, traced his descent from the Comyns, Earls of Buchan [5]
  • Elspeth Buchan (1738-1791), née Simpson, Scottish head of a religious sect generally known as ‘Buchanites,’ daughter of John Simpson and Margaret Gordon [5]
  • Martin McLean Buchan (b. 1949), Scottish football player
  • Norman Findlay Buchan, Scottish politician, member of the UK Parliament
  • Sir John Buchan (1875-1940), Scottish novelist, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, best known for his novel "The Thirty-Nine Steps"
  • David Buchan, Scottish naval officer and Arctic explorer
  • William Buchan (1729-1805), Scottish physician
  • Alexander Buchan (1829-1907), Scottish meteorologist
  • Alastair Francis Buchan (1918-1976), Scottish authority on geopolitics
  • James Buchan (b. 1954), British novelist and journalist
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Buchan Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Non inferioria secutus
Motto Translation: Not having followed mean pursuits.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The SOUTH AUSTRALIAN 1837-1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837SouthAustralian.htm
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 5 Feb. 2019


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