1  Publications on DNA

2  Publications on Irwin Genealogy

1. Publications on DNA

There are many books and websites but as this subject is still evolving rapidly, really up-to-date publications are desirable.  I can recommend:

Tracing Your Ancestors Using DNA – A Guide for Family Historians, ed. by Graham S Holton 2019, available in UK from www.pen-and-sword.co.uk for £14.99 and in USA from www.penandswordbooks.com for $24.95.  An excellent up-to-date guide.

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA by Richard Hill, available from www.DNA-Testing-Adviser.com for £13.99.  A very readable educational case-study on the use of DNA to find biological relations.

For those who prefer on-line guidance I am always happy to answer queries specific to our Study, but for a broader perspective I can recommend the blogs of Roberta Estes (https://dna-explained.com/) and Debbie Kennett (https://cruwys.blogspot.com/).

2. Publications on Irwin Genealogy

2.1  Three books have been published in 2020 by James M Irvine that provide background to our DNA Study and reflect decades of meticulous research in libraries and archives, public and private, in Scotland, England, Ireland and USA.  All are A4 sized, soft-back, well illustrated, printed on-demand in UK and USA, and can be ordered on-line from Amazon, or Blackwells or Waterstones in UK, and from Amazon or Barnes and Noble in USA.  Proceeds go to the Bonshaw Preservation Trust.

1.    The Irwin Surname:  its Origins, Diaspora and Early Branches.  This volume shows how the traditions, buildings, heraldry, DNA testing and historical records now available all contribute to a modern understanding of the surname Ervin, Erwin, Irvin, Irvine, Irving, Irwin or Urwin: its origins, its spelling and pronunciation, its associated migrations, its chiefs and its tartans.  The text corrects, updates and expands on previous books and articles on the subject, and develops several genealogies: of Drum and its alleged cadet lines surviving today; of some Continental Irwin lines apparently now extinct; of six early Dumfriesshire branches, including Bonshaw; and of nine Irish lines, of which at least five still survive.  It includes mini-biographies of 30 previous Irwin genealogists, transcripts of some early records and hitherto unpublished texts, and lists of the many places and notable persons bearing the surname, and references to all the Irwins on record before 1500.

Intriguing new research throws fresh light on many early Irwins who were not ancestors of Bonshaw or Drum, on the early Barons of Drum and Lairds of Bonshaw, and on the many associated coats of arms and mottoes.  

-  a delightful distillate of knowledge and highly readable exposition of the surname (Gordon Casely);

-  I am learning so much, and enjoying it immensely (Peter Irving);

- essential reading for all genealogists with the Irwin surname, however they may spell it (Barbara Edelman, Chairman, Clan Irwin Association).
320 pages;  ISBN 978-1-78955-852-4;  £12.99 in UK,  $17.99 in USA,  p&p additional.


2   Dr Christopher Irvin and his ‘Original of the Family of the Irvins’.  Christopher Irvin, 1618-1693, was a cadet of the Bonshaw line.  He graduated from Edinburgh University, served as a military surgeon, practised as a doctor, and was a successful author.  He was Physician and Historiographer Royal in Scotland to King James VII and inherited Castle Irvine in Co.Fermanagh, but led an unorthodox private life:  in a lawsuit after his death he was accused of being “an adulterer, a bigamist, a trigamist, a poisoner and a murderer”.

Part I is a biography of this Jacobite polymath.  Part II addresses the account he wrote on the origins of his family and its surname, traditions that have since been the basis of most genealogies of the Irwin surname.  Five different versions the ‘Original’ are transcribed, the oldest now published for the first time, and a detailed analysis made of the veracity of its controversial claims that the early Kings of Scotland were Irvins, that Robert the Bruce was sheltered at Bonshaw, and that the Irvine/gs of Bonshaw, Drum and Orkney all share a common ancestor.

141 pages;   ISBN  978-3-78955-473-1;   £8.99 in UK,  $13.99 in USA,  p&p additional.

3   The Genealogy of Washington Irving.  Several biographies have been written on Washington Irving, 1783-1859, the creator of Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, America’s first literary writer, diplomat and popular raconteur, but this is the first publication devoted solely to his Scottish ancestry, from the youngest son of a lowly crofter in a small island in Orkney, through these islands’ largest landowner, back (allegedly) to the armour-bearer of King Robert the Bruce.

Part I is a transcript of the hitherto unpublished but very readable and, for its time, surprisingly well-informed genealogy written in 1858 by Washington’s nephew and biographer, Pierre M Irving.  Part II updates this pioneering account in light of recent DNA and other research.  Appendices include family trees and transcripts of relevant correspondence of Pierre M Irving and several Scottish genealogists, and explore the provenance of associated gifts.

126 pages;    ISBN  978-1-78955-477-9;   £8.99 in UK,  $13.99 in USA,  p&p additional.

2.2  Older publications on Irwn Genealogy.  In addition to several privately published books on specific branches of the name and various articles in The Holly Leaf Chronicle, the following are still relevant: 

4  The Book of the Irvings by Col. JB Irving, 1907, reprinted 1990s, now out of print.  Stimulating and wide ranging, but very dated.

5     The Irvines and their Kin by Lucinda Boyd, 1908, now out of print but available as a 2004 CD from http://www.rootspoint.com/?product_cat=&s=irvine&post_type=product for $4.99, and available in text format at https://archive.org/details/irvinestheirkinh00boyd.  Wide ranging, with many American lines, but very dated.

6     The Irvines of Drum and Collateral Branches by Lt.Col. J Forbes Leslie, 1909, now out of print.  Good, but dated.

7  The Irvings of Bonshaw by Alastair MT Maxwell-Irving, 1968, available from the Laird of Bonshaw at candcirving@outlook.com, price £35 including packing and airmail postage to USA (cheque payable to Christopher Irving).  Short and very readable, but now dated. 

8     The Irvines of Drum and Their Cadet Lines, 1300-1750 by DM Mackintosh, 1998, available from Linda Baker at linda.search@gmail.com, price US$45 plus surface postage.  Excellent modern research. 

9     The Origins of the Irvings by Alastair MT Maxwell-Irving, 2009.  Text available at http://www.dgnhas.org.uk/transonline/SerIII-Vol83.pdf < pp.81-9.  Until recently this article was the most authoritative published work on this subject.

10  Some Genealogies of the Irvings, edited by James M Irvine, 2012.  In CD format only.  Copies of this CD may be ordered from candcirving@outlook.com, price US$95 including packing and airmail postage to USA (cheque payable to The Bonshaw Trust).  Content includes:

a.   Genealogy of the House of Irving, transcript of one of the later versions of Dr Christopher Irvin’s Original of the family of Irvines or Erinvines of c.1680;   

b.   Some Bonshaw Titles, 1475-1655, transcripts of texts of 24 title deeds to the Bonshaw estate; 

c.    Memoirs Historical and Genealogical of the Irvines or Irvings - A Border Clan of Dumfries-shire, by Rev. Christopher Irvine, 1895:  transcript of well-researched but hitherto unpublished text;

d.   Short family trees of the Irvings of Bonshaw and the Irvines of Drum, by John Bell Irving of Beanlands, c.1911:  transcripts illustrating the text of Irvine 1895; 

e.   Family tree of the Royal Houses, Irving of Bonshaw and Irvine of Drum by EJB Irving of Kirkintilloch, 1960s:  black & white copies of 16 sheets of his 44ft long tree; 

f.     The Origin of the Irvings by Alastair Maxwell-Irving, transcribed from The Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, 2009 vol. 83 pp.81-9.  This article offers an authoritative interpretation of the early family traditions.
Copies of this CD may be ordered from candcirving@outlook.com, price US$95 including packing and airmail postage to USA (cheque payable to The Bonshaw Trust).  

Three excellent biographies may also be of interest:

11  Robert the Bruce, a trilogy by Nigel Tranter, 1971, 1985, now out of print but available from Amazon and on Kindle.  A most readable historical novel in which William de Irwyn is a principal character.  

12  Fearless on Everest: The Quest for Sandy Irvine by Julie Summers, 2001.  Available from Amazon and on Kindle.

13  Washington Irving: The definitive and very readable Biography of America’s First Bestselling Author by Andrew Burstein, 2007.  Available from Amazon