Learmonth-Lermontov Family’s  
By Tatiana Molchanova
The idea to reunion families that belong to the Russian Lermontov surname appeared in 1991. Lermontovs knew
from their genealogy that their ancestor George Leirmont came from Scotland in 1613. They all were proud of
their relative - the Great Russian Poet Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841).    In 1991 Lermontovs invited Josephine
Learmonth from the Great Britain who already had her view at the origin of Learmonths and Lermontovs from
the Scottish poet and prophet Thomas Rhymer Learmont.  At this first meeting in the Serednokovo Manor,
Moscow region, Russia, the association “Lermontov Heritage” was proclaimed and registered, and the
Chairman – Mikhal Yurievich Lermontov, a businessperson and a great enthusiast of the history of the
Lermontov families, was elected. Since those times the association “Lermontov Heritage” provided a much
appreciated service for understanding the origin of the Learmonth-Lermontov surname and studying the history
of families of Learmonths and Lermontovs.

The first book “Learmonths-Lermontovs 1057-2007” in English and in Russian by Tatiana Molchanova and Rex
Learmonth appeared in 2007 containing 460 pages and more than 300 illustrations.   A book dedicated to the
Reunion of the Learmonths and Lermontovs all over the world that is took place as a result of the efforts of the
Chairman Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov.

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The first international meeting of the representatives of both Scottish Learmonth and Russian Lermontov
surnames, Russia, Serednikovo, August 2007.

This meeting was devoted to the 950th Anniversary of the Learmonth - Lermontov surname and had a goal to
attract the worldwide Learmonths and Lermontovs to their common ancestry; to introduce them to each other;  
to appeal to share their common values if life and their interests. This event was in essence the First
International Reunion of the Learmonth-Lermontov families.
After this meeting it would be reasonable to consider a new association - The Learmonth-Lermontov
International Family Heritage Association (LLIFHA). There are now hundreds volunteers who are working in
the close contacts all over the world collecting new data and new facts about our families. LLIFHA is a non-profit
membership voluntary family association that functions exclusively with volunteer in the various administrative
and clerical areas of organization.

Mikhail Lermontov was invested with a Lermontov tartan  by Brian Wilton who explained that this tartan was
specially designed for the Lermontov family in recognition of their Scottish origins.

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“Lermontov Tartan” by Brian Wilton, August 2007.

“Best Tartan: Lermontov” by Brian Wilton, Scotsman, 2007.

Coming back to those days when Learmonths and Lermontovs for a first time met each other in Russia we
obviously have a feeling that we met a family. We were able to realize and to share the great pride for our
common relative the Great Russian poet Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov who unfortunately died so young.  We
heard his personal story; saw houses where he lived in Moscow, Petersburg, Serednikovo; we touched his
personal thing; we heard many romances for his poems and as a result we touched the history of a Russian
person of Scottish origin whose ancestor came from our surname Learmonth. We lived in the renewed Old
Russian house in the Serednikovo so we can figure out how the Russian noble families lived in the XIX century
and we like their style of life.  We can chart with our Lermontov and Learmonth relatives asking about
successes and faults; parents and children and other casual things. These all made the atmosphere of our
reunion very causal and warm.  

That is why it not surprisingly that the new reunion was held in Australia in 2009.

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The Learmonth Family Surname Reunion in Australia 2009

The activity of the Learmonth-Lermontov International Family Heritage Association (LLIFHA) attracted the
attention of the famous British geneticist Prof. Bryan Sykes. Bryan Sykes did not probably know in details the
genealogy and the history of the Russian Lermontov family, but read that Lermontovs originated from the Scot.  
In 2007 Prof. Sykes announced that he is going to proof using DNA testing that Lermontov had the Scottish
roots. In 2009 Prof. Sykes’s studies in the collaboration with the Russian association “Lermontov Heritage”, had
proofed that all Russian Lermontovs belonged to the genotype “Oisin” that highly distributed in Scotland.  Few
Learmonths who is currently living in the United Kingdom voluntarily participated in the Sykes’s Project. No one
of these Learmonths belongs to the genotype “Oisin”. Their group divided in two different genotypes that are
barely distributed in the United Kingdom. The recent genetic analysis of the history of the Scottish surnames had
shown that surname always has multiple founders based on the modern genotyping of the members of the
Scottish Clans. However, there is no Scottish Clan where a genotype “Oisin” was not found.  

The two reasons may explain Prof. Sykes results: a/ there was too small group of Learmonths had tested;
b/ the Russian Lermontov family that originated  from the Learmonth of Dairsie/Balcomy is the last offspring of
one of those Learmonth as according to the respectable William Anderson (William Anderson “Scottish Nation”,
London, 1877, page 641): “Learmonth Families of Dairsie and Balcomy, both families, here long been extinct:
the name, however, is not uncommon in Scotland”.    

The Russian association “Lermontov Heritage” expresses great appreciations Prof. Bryan Sykes. We now have
the genealogical, historical and genetic data that allows us to validate that the Russian Lermontovs have the
Scottish founder and originated four hundreds years ago from a single Scottish predecessor George
Leirmont/Learmlonth. As a result, the Russian Lermontov family became some sort of a unique Russian family
whose genealogy decorated with all possible studies including the top modern.

When the news reached the members of the Learmonth community, they accept them pragmatically.  Rex
Learmonth completely shares my opinion concerning the reason why Prof. Sykes did nod find the
representatives of the “Oisin” genotype among the tested Learmonths. As concern of the absence of one
genetically common founder for   Learmonths and Lermontovs that were tested by Prof. Sykes so  Rex
Learmonth express a wise opinion and said: “that it was a disappointing but not a totally unexpected result, and I
pointed out that these tests had also shown that the seven Learmonths who took part also belonged to two
different clans.  I went on to explain that in 1057 Malcolm 111 of Scotland regained his kingdom after defeating
MacBeth and then awarded land grants to the principle soldiers who had actively supported him. One of these
soldiers of fortune was an individual called Learmonth who then had to reward his own men in the only way he
could by offering them a share in his land grant.  It is therefore believed that there could have been 30 to 50
original men who settled on the Lands of Learmonth and then adopted the surname.  I have no doubt that a
number of discretions have taken place in the years since that time which may also complicate any future DNA
tests but I believe that if  further testing were to take place in the future we would find men with my surname or a
similar variant who would have the same DNA as the Lermontovs”.  

Whatever Prof. Sykes have tested, the new curios results cannot disturb the goodwill, friendly family like
relationships that established over years between Learmonths and Lermontovs. We share the surname history
and we believe that our Reunions help to come better learning our family’s history and to come better
understanding each other.  Learmonths will be our dear guests at the coming 200-anniversary of the birthday of
the Great Russian poet Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov in 2014.  

The regular Reunion Learmonth-Lermontov families took place in our motherland Scotland in June 2011.         

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Learmonth-Lermontov Reunion 2011.

Some photos of this event presented below.