The Bartholomew Family
Researched and written by Margaret Odrowaz Sypniewska

The Origins of the Name Bartholomew:

Bartholomew was a widespread personal name in medieval England, of Semitic origin, meaning "son of the twin" (an Assyrian talisman=twins). The Feast of St. Bartholomew was celebrated in northern England. Bartholomew Fair was held in Kincardine of Neal, and was held on St. Bartholomew's Day (August 24th).

The name Bartholomew, Bartholomay, Bartholomae, or Batholomey is of English descent (but possibly relates back to the Normans). There is also a German and Italian form of the name. In Eldon C. Smith's book, American Family Names published in New York by Gramercy Publishing Company (1988), it states that Bartholomew (and its variations) means "descendant of Bartholomew (son of Talmai, furrow). The Italian form, Bartolemes, has the same meaning. However, the Encyclopedia of Saints by Clemons Jockle, London: Alpine Fine Arts Collections, Ltd., 1995; states that it is Bar Tolomai or Son of Tolomai. This is a cognomen (a surname) like Bar Jona, in the case of Simon Bartholomew, the saint was named thus.

Scottish Clan MacFarlane:

Clann is a Gaelic word that means children. A clan is a family, descended from some notable individual, often bearing his name. The clan chief is the prime descendant of the founder or father of the clan. Some clans and their members are from Ireland (6th century onwards), while others are from Norman, English, and Viking notables. Clans were linked by a common kinship.

In the sixteenth century, the French were auld allies of the Scots and thus offered Scots the right to become French subjects. The French were fascinated by the Scottish clan system, which allowed the poorest Scot to claim kinship with Kings. This being opposite to the European feudal structure and its emphasis on private property owned by the overload with serfs and vassals below them. Clans grew out of the Scottish sense of family and racial continuity. This system came from the Irish Celts (Scots) who had emigrated from Spain to Ireland.

In Scotland, the MacFarlane clan is associated with the name Bartholomew or Parlan. MacFarlane/McFarlane means son of Parlan (Bartholomew). Most likely this name goes back to Moorish Spain, in its origination. However, my particular line is first recorded in England. The Scottish McFarlane is said to be connected to the Earls of Lennox (Caledonia by Chalmers). An ancestor of the MacFarlane family was the Saxon, Arkll, son of Egfith. This Arkll, a Northumberian chief fled to Scotland to escape William the Conquerer. In Scotland, he received custody of the Lennox District, and was the founder of the family bearing that name. The son of Arkll was named Alwyn. Alwyn had a son named Alwyn who left eight sons. Alwyn II died in 1224. Two sons (Maulduin and Gilchrist) received the lands of Arrochar, and became the ancestors of the MacFarlane Clan.

The English Bartholomews:

Bartholomew family history seems to say that they came from Normandy, yet no "Bartholomew" (or its variations) are listed in the Dictionary of Heraldry: Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees by Joseph Foster. There was a William Bartholomew, in 1342, that was rewarded a share of land, for his helping in the capture of Edinburgh Castle, in Scotland. And a second payment was given to him in 1343. There are Martyns, however (see topic under The History of Oxfordshire and The Martin Family

The relationship between the Scottish and English Bartholomews is not clear. However, in Clan McFarlane by Cascade Publishing Company, Jedburgh, Scotland, it states, under "MacFarlane Associated Names: Bartholomew. Bartholomew is the original name. Bartholomew is the Anglicized MacFarlane. Alisaudre Bartholomew rendered homage in Edinburgh in 1296. John Bartholomew was a Glaswegian landowner in 1500.

For more information on Scotland see my Scottish Index.

In Fairbairn's Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, it lists only one Bartholomew (from Rochester, England). This arms is a demi-goat, ar. (gorged with a chaplet of laurel, vert).


The Arms of William Bartholomew

The arms adopted by the Bartholomews of Westhill Manor has a rampant lion as its arms. Therefore, the Rochester branch must be farther from the roots of this family. In Crozier's General Armory: A Register of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor edited by William Armstron Crozier, F.R.S. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1966; the crest of William Bartholomew is described as "Argent, a chevron engrailed, between three lions rampant, sable." This second arms is confirmed in George Wells Bartholomew's book, Record of the Bartholomew Family, and this crest also appears in Bartholomew Chapel in Burford, Oxfordshire, England.

The Martin Connection:

However, if we explore the name Martin, with all its various spellings, there is a connection. All the Scottish Martin/Martyn/Martine/Martyne have the same rampant lion. Since the rampant lion is one of the symbols of Scotland, perhaps this points us to the Scottish family, Martin/Martyn, that is forever added to the name: "Bartholomew alias Martyn" as seen in many of the early English Bartholomew records.

Records being what they are in this area and time period, it will be difficult to piece this all together, but this is my plan (to trace the line back to the Scottish Martins/Martyns). And since the Scottish McFarlane is said to also be of "Norman Descent," this confirms family legend.

It seems that the Martin connection was well known to our Bartholomew ancestors.

One possible connection is that they inherited Martin monies from a Bartholomew wife. One wife, Edith Mart, wife of William Bartholomew is mentioned on the stone tribute in the Chapel. They are both buried in the Bartholomew Chapel in St. John's Church (formerly the Holy Trinity).

Biblical References to Bartholomew:

St Bartholomew

Bartholomew was one of the twelve apostles. For more about Saint Bartholomew Saint Bartholomew

Saint Martin de Tours:

Saint Martin de Tours (316-397) was born in Sabaria, in the Roman province of Pannonia (Hungary) and raised in Pavia (Lombardy). Martin died in Candles, Touraine; on November 8, 397. Martin's friend, Suspicious Severus begun a Cult of Saint Martin in medieval France. Martin was made the Bishop of Tours in 371, and served for 25 years before his death. He was originally a cavalry officer in the Roman army of Constantine. His service in the Roman Army took him to France, where he was honored by Constantine the Great, however, when he wanted to leave the army, he was labelled a coward. Martin lived on an island near Genoa, Italy; until he was called back to France to be the Bishop pf Tours. Martin also lived as a hermit monk for about ten years before founding the first monastery in Gaul at Liguge. When Martin died, his coffin was followed by 2,000 monks, and it was said that the trees came into leaf as they passed with his coffin. Martin was educated in Pavia in northern Italy.

Related Links:

The Life of St. Martin
Clan McFarlane


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