Clan Davidson are a chiefly family
There are several versions of Clan Davidson's origins. According to William Skene, in his Celtic Scotland, Clan Davidson co-founded the Chattan Confederation with Clan MacPherson and are together referred to as Old Clan Chattan. <ref>Skene, William Forbes (1876). Celtic Scotland : a history of ancient Alban. Edinburgh : Edmonston & Douglas. p. 315</ref>Skene used sources that show the Davidsons to be descended from one of the sons of Gilliecattan Mhor, chief of Clan Chattan in the 11th to 12th century.
According to Sir Aeneas Macpherson, John Burke, and William Anderson, the Davidsons are descended from the younger son of Muriach.<ref>Burke, John (1836). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank: But Uninvested with Heritable Honours. Henry Colburn. p. 462.</ref> <ref>Anderson, William (1867). The Scottish Nation: Or the Surnames, Families, Literature, Honours, and Biographical History of the People of Scotland Fullarton, 703</ref><ref>"Clan Macpherson Museum - Newtonmore". Retrieved 2013-04-19 </ref>Muriach (or Murdoch) was parson of Kingussie and became Captain of Clan Chatten on his brother's death. He obtained a dispensation from the Pope in 1173 and married a daughter of the Thane of Cawdor. <ref>Burke, Commoners</ref>From this union five sons were born, one of the youngest being David Dow (the black). Burke says he was the 5th son, Anderson the 4th. From here the Davidsons of Invernahavon are said to be descended.<ref>Burke, Commoners</ref>According to the Kinrara manuscript the Davidsons are descended from David Dubh of Clan Cumming. <ref>History of Clan Davidson » Clan Davidson Society USA". Retrieved 2013-04-16 </ref> The first chief of Clan Davidson was David, son of Slane Mackintosh who was a daughter of the sixth chief of Clan Mackintosh, who was also chief of the Chattan Confederation.
The family history of the Bruces and Cummings list a Donald Comyn in Badenoch on or about the time of Slane's marriage, and relates that Donald's elder brother, Gilbert, was succeeded by a nephew, David. Ruthven Castle and upper Speyside was Comyn country before and even after the Wars of Independence. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 381</ref> David's father was Donald, the third son of Robert Comyn who in turn was a grandson of John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, chief of the Clan Comyn.David and his followers became known as the Clan Dhai because the Comyn name had been prescribed in 1320, although Thomas Comyn or Cumming, son of Donald's elder brother was exempted from the prescription and gave rise to the Cummings of Altyre.
By the end of the fourteenth century there were those of the name Davidson, Davison, Davissoune, Filius David, etc. in Aberdeen; and by the beginning of the fifteenth century, the name is recorded in the Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh, Ayr and Peebles areas. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref> While there is reason to suppose that some so named may well have originated in Speyside, there is little if any evidence to say they did, and it would be reasonable to accept the liklihood that some Davidsons, especially the Border families, may have originated with another person called David.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref> It is more probable that some of the sixteenth and seventeenth century Davidsons in Banffshire and Aberdeenshire originated from Speyside and were of fourteenth century Clan Dai stock.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref>
It can be shown that the earliest Davidson Arms had a common form in Aberdeenshire and Angus and Ayr in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century and that, if the that, if the location of the 'Newlands' of Parson John Davidson is taken to be in the Borders (as is believed, for the seal was held in a Border church) (Scottish Seals), then differing representations of a common form of arms were used by Davidsons throughout Scotland. Families of Davisons in the north of England who might have originated in the Borders have different charges which indicates separate but not necessarily differing stock.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref>
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries
The Clan Davidson or Clan Dhai are recorded as being wiped out as a fighting force in 1370 at the Battle of Invernahavon, which was fought between the Chattan Confederation and the Clan Cameron. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 381</ref>
There was a dispute between the Davidsons and another clan of the Chattan Confederation, the Clan Macpherson, over who would command the right wing in the battle. The Mackintoshes, chiefs of the confederation supported the Davidsons and as a result the Macphersons left the field. Clan Cameron took advantage of this situation and the Davidsons were virtually destroyed However the Macphersons did eventually join the battle and the Camerons were defeated. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 381</ref>
In 1396 the Battle of the North Inch took place, in which most evidence suggests was fought between the Clan Cameron and Clan Chattan, the latter whose forces included both the Davidsons and Macphersons. After the battle of the North Inch the chief of Clan Davidson is said to have moved north from where the Davidson of Cantray and Tulloch families appeared.
Sir Robert Davidson was a collector and distributor of royal dues in Aberdeen, known as an Alderman. He also led a contingent to fight at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 where he was killed. Robert was an associate of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, a son of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan (the Wolf of Badenoch)<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 381</ref> An Aberdeen Alderman or Provost, William Filius David (c.1340) might have been Robert Davidson's father.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 381</ref>
Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
By the 16th century the name Davidson could be found from Ayr in the south to Aberdeen in the north. The first Davidsons recorded in Cromarty were Donald Davidson and Alexander Davidson who were living in the new town of Cromarty and who are listed as "in the council" in July 1670. Another Alexander Davidson who was known as Clerk Davidson was the town clerk of Fortrose. He married Elizabeth Bremmer, second daughter of a burgess of Fortrose in November 1689. From Alexander descended the Davidson Lairds of Tulloch Castle who became chiefs of the clan. Aberdeenshire and Dundee Davidsons appear as lawyers, merchants and mariners as well as soldiers and clerics. By the 1600s the secretary of Queen Elizabeth I of England was a Davidson 'whose grandfather was out of the north'. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref> The Scots Commercial Representative at Veere in the Low Countries in the reign of Charles II was a Sir William Davidson from Dundee. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref> Davidsons in Ayrshire can be traced back to the fifteenth century and by the seventeenth had moved north into Caithness. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref> The Ulster Plantation brought Davidsons to Ireland. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref> In the 18th century members of the Clan Chattan Confederation, including many Davidson's were convicted of Jacobitism and transported to the North American colonies. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 382</ref>
Tulloch Castle became the seat of the chiefs of Clan Davidson in the 18th century and it was extensively restored by Robert Lorimer in 1922. The castle was later sold by the Davidsons but remains a focal point for Davidson traditions. A Davidson clan relic preserved by the local City Council is a suit of armour that is said to have been worn by the Davidson Provost of Aberdeen who was killed at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. The Clan Davidson Association was formed (as the Clan Dhai Association) in 1909 and is still very active. During the early 1990s it successfully worked to restore the chief ship to Duncan Hector Davidson, whose family had emigrated to New Zealand. <ref>http://www.clandavidsonusa.com/about-clan-davidson/the-chief/</ref> His son, Alister, known as Jock, is the current chief. <ref>http://www.clandavidsonusa.com/about-clan-davidson/the-chief/</ref> The heir is Grant Davidson of Davidson. <ref>http://www.clandavidsonusa.com/about-clan-davidson/the-chief/</ref>