Elementary my dear Watsons, I bet you’ve never heard that before, have you? In our continuing efforts to compile an exhaustive catalogue of blogs about Scottish surnames we turn our attention to Clan Watson.
Is there a Clan Watson?
According to my trusty companion, Scots Kith and Kin, it would appear that there is no such clan as Clan Watson, the name merely forming septs of Clans Buchanan and Forbes. Tush and nonsense say I, the Watsons have a tartan and a coat of arms so in my book that makes them a clan, dispute it if you like, that’s your prerogative but you can rest assured that your protestations will fall on deaf ears. My answer is a resounding yes, there is a Clan Watson.
Where does the name Watson come from?
Unlike most family names that appear in these blogs the name Watson has its roots in Germany rather than Scotland, France or Scandinavia. The name Watson is a derivative of Walterson, son of Walter. Walter, as a first name, comes from Wald (rule) and Hari (army) so it means the ruler of an army. The name made its way to Scotland through the Norman invasion and formed a wide variety of names such as Wattie, Watt, MacWattie and Macouat.
Clan Watson can count numerous notables among its members, let’s take a look at some of them, mainly to meet my strict minimum word count limit but also to allow you to brag about how you may be related – however, distantly – to somebody of real intelligence.
James Watt was born in Greenock – near Glasgow- in 1736. Although an irregular attendee of academic institutions, Watt showed a natural aptitude for sciences and engineering, and it was in these fields that he was to make his name. After moving to London to study as an instrument maker – scientific not musical – Watt returned to Glasgow where he eventually found work in the University where he befriended other notable men of the day such as Adam Smith and James Black. It was through one of his academic friends that Watt was first introduced to the idea of using to steam to harness energy when he was introduced him to the Newcomen engine. Watt’s interest was piqued and he set about improving the design. Watt managed to increase the efficiency of steam engines by about 500% as well as allowing them to produce rotational movement as well as linear. Watt’s achievements made the industrial revolution possible and it is for him that the unit of energy is named – the Watts for your lightbulbs.