Tonight I received another email about the St. Clair family being on crusade and being members of the Knights Templar about 1118 AD. Here's my reply:
I've never seen a single record which proves that a St. Clair was on Crusade, and I've looked at everything written since the 1800s. Much of this confusion probably comes from the 1700s when a charlatan was going around to the Scottish earls selling them false genealogies. Ours said we all connect to Rollo, the viking who invaded Normandy in 911 AD. Another myth was a supposed connection to the Templars, again never really proven. Or it's more recent revisionist history.
In 1118, when these St. Clairs 'of Rosslyn' were supposedly related to one of the knights on crusade, the 'St. Clairs of Rosslyn' had not yet gone to Scotland and had not yet received the lands of Rosslyn from Hugh de Morville. The earliest evidence that any credible genealogist has of a St. Clair obtaining lands in Rosslyn is a charter from 1244, over 100 years later than 1118.
There was supposedly a Henri de St Clair who accompanied Godefroi de Bouillon to the Holy Land on the 1st Crusade in 1096 and was subsequently granted Rosslyn by Malcolm III. I have this on the wall of my office, and it states this (among other things) about our family in a beautifully framed poster. There isn't a single sentence in that particular passage that's true. Supposedly Godefroi married a Catherine St. Clair. Not true. Supposedly Henri de St Clair went on crusade and became known as Henri "the Holy." Not true. It's all fake. All make-believe.
Can the DNA of the Sinclair Family Help?Now, that said, I have some interesting evidence of Templar surname connections to the St. Clair family in our DNA study, and that could point to a very distant connection. But so far, no one has produced an actual document connecting our family to the Templars. Many people believe the myth-making books about Rosslyn Chapel as proof of a connection but, again, there is no credible source, like an actual written document. Being important people in England at this time, one would expect to find grants of land or actual participation in a crusade, but no proof has yet surfaced.
In the case of the St. Clair family and the Templars, many resort to this approach - absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It's the oldest trick in the book. There is an absence of evidence that our family were Templars. There is an absence of evidence that Rosslyn is a Templar building (I've been there). Conspiracy theorists try to say that this absence of evidence is proof that there was critical, heretical evidence these Templars were forced to hide. I say bunk.
Working on the Sinclair DNA study, I find it very rewarding to have new evidence that can shine a bright light on all these theories. Maybe someday we can finally prove or disprove the Sinclair Templar story.