BUCHANAN was a locational name from the district so called in Stirlingshire. BUCHANAN OF AUCHMAR trace the origin of the clan to Anselan O'Kyan, son of a King of Ulster, who landed in Argyll about the year 1016. For his services against the Danes, so it is said, he received from King Malcolm 11, the lands of Buchanan, lying to the east of Loch Lomond. These lands remained in the possession of the family for almost seven centuries until the death of John, 22nd laird of Buchanan in 1682. The lands were sold and the principal line became extinct in 1762, following the death of the 22nd chief. The chiefship then passed to Buchanan of Spittal. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles.
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