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Johnstone Genealogy and Johnstone Family History Information

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  • Sir Adam Johnstone of that Ilk (1360 - 1455)
    1413 - Adam Johnstone of Johnstone received a safe conduct into England. He took part in the battle of Sark on 23 October 1448 and he was afterwards one of the conservators of peace on the Borders. H...
  • Sir Alan Johnstone (1858 - 1932)
    English diplomat who married into influential French-American political family. Served as the British ambassador at Copenhagen, among other positions. From Henry Robert Addison's Who's Who , Volume 5...
  • Antoinette E. Johnstone (1868 - 1934)
    Only daughter of French-American parents Both brothers became prominent politicians in the U.S. Husband was prominent British diplomat Son was prominent British Liberal politician Known as the ...
  • Archibald Johnstone (1721 - d.)
    Reference: FamilySearch Genealogy - SmartCopy : Feb 8 2016, 19:41:25 UTC
  • Caroline Johnstone (1706 - 1775)
         Gilbert, John’s second son, married to his Irish cousin Caroline Johnstone of Armagh, entertained his father sentiments, regarding the then rulers of Great Britain as usurpers. (1) "Gilbert John...

About the Johnstone surname

I don't have information handy on the origin of the surname Johnstone, but would guess it derived somehow from a patryonymic - e.g. John's son - but the "stone" may have a special significance. It could well be derived from Johns 'toune', a scottish word for 'town'.

I do know that a Johnstone/Johnston Clan was one of if not the major Border clan in Scotland at one time. They were a large, strong, fortified, unintimidated and well-friended group. My Border Scots ancestors, the Irvings of Bonshaw were quite close with the Johnstones and they took one another's part in many a conflict.

There are several stories about the Border clans to be found on the internet and elsewhere and the Johnstones are probably mentioned in every one.

When James became King of England and Scotland, much trouble arose between him and the Border Clans. He wanted to be rid of them despite the many times they had aided him when he was King of Scotland. Many members of the Border families who were close emigrated to Ulster together and some others to America. The tendency for members of these families to marry one another continued to Ulster and probably to America as well.

Clifford Johnston

other versions of this surname

Johnstone is a variant of Johnston. In the early 1700s there were several scam artists plying their trade in Scotland. They claimed to be kin to Lord Johnston of Annandale, obtained money and/or credit under this false pretense and left a trail of swindled victims in their wake. Lord Johnston became concerned about this, and ca. 1726 in an attempt to thwart the scofflaws added an "e" at the end of his surname to distinguish his immediate family from that of the con-artists. Of course this did not have that much effect on the criminals as they simply added an "e" to the end of their names too.