We join into the clan through my GG Grandmother, Isabel D. McCrillies. The email with additional information about our McCrillis family is below.
McCrillises are MacNeils. Although the former Clan Chief, Ian Roderick MacNeil, did formally acknowledge us as a blood-sept of the Barra MacNeils (the only one of the MacNeil clans still intact) in 1991, I wouldn't look at it so much as the MacNeils "taking us in" as us receiving formal, written recognition from Ian MacNeil that we ARE MacNeils. This fact tends to confuse many inside and outside the family. Afterall, clearly "McCrillis" looks and sounds nothing like "MacNeil", right? Well, the problem is that unless you understand that our ancestors spoke a different language in the old days and unless you understand the orthography of that language, you're not going to see the very clear evidence. Case in point is your own surname: Williamson. William is actually Uilleim. Son of William would be MacUilleim. That's what it was until it was rendered into English, anyway (in the Williamsons' case likely in the late medieval period because of a proximity to England). Most of these anglicizations, however, took place during the colonization of New England. The United States is fraught with such examples of Gaelic surnames that have been wrent and wrested into English by monoglots. Unfortunately, instead of seeing a modern reversal of this trend which one would expect would compliment the Gaelic revival, modern Scottophilia and consumerism have coupled to produce consumer nostalgia for clans, tartans, military piping and haggis, especially in the US. However, the tartan system was devised by two Polish brothers, military piping was invented by English King George, haggis is a lowland food and the clan system went defunct when Scotland conceded to the Unionism. Even Ian Roderick, Attorney at Law, of Chicago, Ill., reclaimed the chieftainship of the MacNeils through the legal maneuver of tanistry. You know, Victor, I was inspired by the way you honored our 5th generation grandfather, Robert, with the historical details about his service in the Revolution. You seem to realize that our pride is our people, as I did when I visited Robert's gravesite this weekend on the anniversary of his death. But without our language, we are adrift and no other beacon but that language will gather us again. As I stood there alone in the small, rock-encircled McCrillis Cemetary in Corinth, saddened that the grass was overgrown, that many of the stones were broken and that most of the writing on the stones was washed away by time, much like our Gaelic language, I did think of your website and I was happy that someone cared.
Tapadh leibh is le meas,