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MacLean line in Holland (1800's)?

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  • MacLean line in Holland (1800's)?

    I am doing genealogy research on my grandma Forbes (MacLean). I have traced her MacLean line to Holland. My great great Grandfather, John MacLean, was born in Holland in 1848. How did the MacLeans end up in Holland? This seems very odd to me. His fathers name was Marinus MacLean. Just found him this week, so have no data on him at all yet.

    Just wondering if anyone knows anything about this, or can make suggestions as to where to look.

  • #2
    Scots were involved in Holland over some considerable time, through trade and military employment. You may wish to consider the possibility that a MacLean ancestor may have been a professional foreign soldier in the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in the 18th Century. The VOC attracted many Highlanders to their ranks and they mostly served in Java (in modern day Indonesia). I lived in Indonesia for four years and in East Java there is still a village called Glenmore, named by Highland VOC troops stationed in that area whose many hills reminded them of their mountainous Highland homeland. In fact, there is a Glenmore on Mull and it's intriguing to think of MacLeans being a clan belonging to Mull and there being a Glenmore in East Java. I read historical accounts that some of the Highlanders settled locally and stayed on after their service was over, by that time having local wives and families. Others settled in Holland, which is where the Holland connection with your ancestor may kick in.

    No trace of their presence exists in East Java today other than the name though a DNA check on the local population may result in some evidence of their long-past presence.

    Also, a very interesting article about this once appeared in KLM's in-flight magazine.

    However, if you go to Wikipedia for the Indonesian Glenmore, it will tell you that the name Glenmore dates back to an English planter called Ros Taylor who set up an estate there in 1910 and gave it the name Glenmore. That is the first time I have read this account and I personally feel that it is unlikely that an Englishman with likely no connection to the Highlands would choose the name Glenmore for his estate. More likely the name already existed and Mr Taylor adopted it.

    Anyway, I guess Glenmore is a bit of a red herring here, your ancestor, if an ex-VOC soldier based in East Java or elsewhere in Indonesia, would have re-settled in Holland.
    Last edited by Lachlan09; 20 October 2013, 07:17.


    • #3
      He probably sailed there , no planes or trains crossing the Channel back then .

      The 'Why' is more interesting .
      As Lachlan points out , the reasons for Scots migrating to the Netherlands are many.

      Do you know what Marinus MacLean did for a living ?
      By the look of his given name 'Marinus' , he may well have been born there , so perhaps his grandfather , or possibly his father, fought in the Napoleonic Wars and never returned home to Scotland .
      Or maybe the immigrant was a chapman ('packman' = commercial traveller) ,
      or a seaman who liked the look of a person or a place and decided to stay.

      Looks like you have your work cut out for you .