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Dr. Alexander Murray Nicolson

Chieftain in Clan MacNicol and High Commissioner for the Americas

Murray Nicolson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1938. An electrical engineer with degrees from the University of Edinburgh, he emigrated to the United States with his wife Barbara and sons Stephen (died in 1989) and Edward in 1965. Edward now lives with his family in San Francisco. Always interested in his family history, this led to his obtaining “The Clan Nicolson” by Dr. J.G. Nicholson, which was published in 1938. From this account of the clan he formed a close friendship with the then Clan Chief Ian Nicolson of Scorrybreac, then living in Ballina, New South Wales, and around 1985 decided with Rosemary Samios in Australia to form clan societies in Australia and North America.  Beginning with a list of 200 Nicolsons in North America, letters were sent to them all and a small group of interested people formed the original clan society. Amongst these was John Nicholson of Atlanta, and support of the Nicholson family of Atlanta has been crucial to underwriting the young society.

In 1987 some land on the Isle of Skye of great significance to the clan became available, and Rosemary and Murray began a very successful effort to raise money and purchase the land.

Murray was the founding President of the Clan MacNicol society and for many years has been the Editor of its periodic newsletter “Scorrybreac”. He is also Secretary to Urras Clann MhicNeacail, the trust formed to administer the land on the Isle of Skye, and Murray is proud to have visited the land every year since 1987. At the Clan’s International Gathering in Dunedin, New Zealand in 2006 Murray proposed the formation of the Friends of Scorrybreac Lands to form a focus for raising money to pay for maintenance of the clan land and this has successfully completed five years of fund-raising.

In 1992 Murray was given the rare honour by the Chief of being appointed a Chieftain in the clan, with the right to wear two feathers in his bonnet. Since that time he has also been High Commissioner of the clan in North America, with the responsibility of representing the Clan Chief at events where the Chief was unable to attend, and this he did in 2009 at the International Gathering of the Clans in Edinburgh along with 83 Chiefs of other clans. Murray and Barbara have attended almost every gathering of Clan MacNicol in Scotland and around the world, and are delighted to have made many friends over the years.