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FAMILY PROFILE: Arms and Clans

Bartholomew Coats of Arms and Clans


Historically, there was no coat of arms specifically assigned to or adopted by the Bartholomews of Linlithgow, Muiravonside or Duntarvie.

A variant of the Scottish Bartholomew coat of arms
Adopted Scottish Bartholomew
Coat of Arms
Family genealogist Robert G Bartholomew informally adopted the arms of the Bartholomew family in the 1980's as recorded in Fairbairn's Book of Crests, 1905 ed. There are two variants of the demi-goat coat of arms in this authoritative publication: The Glasgow family variant is represented by a black (sable) goat, whereas the Bartholomew’s of Rochester adopted a white (argent) one. The background colour (tincture) was not defined, so the yellow or gold background here was adopted informally at a worldwide Scottish Bartholomew family reunion in Edinburgh in 2022.

Bartholomew blazon:'[Or] A Demi-Goat Saliant Sable., Gorged with a Wreath of Laurel Proper'. Bartholomew Motto: Ad alta (To things high)

Bartholomew of Burford Coat of Arms
Bartholomew of Burford
The English Bartholomew family originating from Burford and Warborough, Oxfordshire have used this blazon on right since the early 1600’s : A chevron engrailed between three lions rampant, sable. This is the coat of arms used most widely around the world by Bartholomews. Based on DNA, we know this Oxford family’s origins have a common ancient lineage shared with the Scottish Bartholomews rather than a Norman descent.

Most Bartholomews in the United States come from this branch and use this coat of arms. The use of the lion rampant, might suggest a Scottish connection, though this is highly speculative!


Though long established in Scotland from ancient times, like many Lowland families, the Scottish Bartholomew family groups were never clearly affiliated with any specific Highland clans.

Historically, clan membership could be acquired by blood and descent on male or female lines; by geographical association living on or farming the lands of a clan; or by military allegiance having bourn arms on behalf of the clan.


Macfarlane clan crest
Macfarlane Crest
The Bartholomew name is often associated with Clan MacFarlane as one of the clan’s septs in historical lists. Parlan in Gaelic means Bartholomew which was an established biblical first name. Hence, the English-speaking translation of the name MacFarlane is Son of Bartholomew The MacFarlanes ruled the land on the west of Loch Lomond, which is not an area typically associated with the Bartholomew family. We are not aware of a more formal connection between the families, and therefore we do not tend to adopt this clan affiliation in our own branches.

Barclay clan crest
Barclay Crest
With the frequent interchangeability of the Bartholomew name in family records written as Barclay, Barclaman and other variants of the Barclay name, Clan Barclay is also an appropriate clan choice. Though not descended from the noble Norman Barclay bloodline, many Barclays especially in the USA have been found by DNA to have recent shared paternal ancestry with the Bartholomews in Scotland.

Macdonald clan crest
Macdonald Crest
In reality, the Scottish Bartholomews often affiliate themselves to any one of the dominant clan names of their other Scottish paternal or maternal ancestors. For example, most Bartholomews descended from the John George Bartholomew have adopted his wife’s family’ affiliation to Clan Macdonald. John George’s wife Jennie Macdonald was born in Sutherland.

These days, many clans have relaxed the membership criteria. Bearing or adopting the clan’s name or one of its associated families is usually enough to join and to be entitled to wear the clan’s tartan and insignia.

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