A: Well that depends. In the area where the Clan originated, it is definitely pronounced “Mingus”. However the Clan Society recognises that those of the name Menzies have spread far beyond the limits of Strathtay where not everyone is familiar with local pronunciation. MCS happily accepts those who prefer to pronounce their name in a more phonetic style. Though, David Menzies of Menzies (the Clan Chief) when refered to as “Men-zies of Men-zies” is reputed to have responded that there is no such person.
A: The reasons are, at best, described as unclear. The most popular theory is that at one point there was confusion between the way that Gaels wrote their lowercase “g”s and “z”s both of which looked like the numeral 3. Thus, Mengus or Mingus evolved into Menzus or Minzus, which later evolved into Menzies. The thing to remember here is that neither literacy nor standard spellings were as prevalent as they are now. There are plenty of other names that are not pronounced as they are spelled. For example, Dalziel (usually pronounced DL) Mainwaring (usually pronounced Mannering) and Gloucester (usually pronounced Glos-ter).
A: Menzies of Shain held land in Glenquiach, which is an area from Amulree up to the bottom of Loch Tay. Menzies of Pitfodel held land in Aberdeenshire. Menzies of Culdares held land near Fortingall. Menzies of Weem was the main branch of the clan so this qualifier and Menzies of Menzies are the same and can be used interchangeably. The qualifying place name is usually a name of a house or an area, where they originated and was used to differentiate between branches of a family. In the case of the larger clans this was invaluable as cadet branches could often wield power independent of the main branch.
A: The Menzies’ were related to the Stewarts through marriage but were wary of getting involved too directly so as not to give more powerful neighbours reasons to annex property or land. Thus, the main branch generally remained neutral but allowed to show tacit support for the Jacobite cause by letting cadet branches commit men. The exception to this was Killecrankie where the son of the then Chief fought for Mackay, while kinsmen from Pitfodel supplemented the Jacobite forces of Dundee.
A: The Menzies backed Bruce’s claim to the throne over the other contenders from an early stage and fought on Bruce’s (Scottish) side. The Menzies’ were rewarded for their support by being given the lands of some of those who supported the rival Comyn claim.
A: Either you or the person who thinks they have a better claim needs to contact Lord Lyon King of Arms who decides such matters. Here are the contact details for the Lord Lyon:
The Court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms
H.M. New Register House,
Edinburgh. EH1 3YT
Telephone: 0131 556 7255
Facimile: 0131 557 2148