Scottish Clans and Genealogy

The most distinctive feature of Scotland’s history, nationally and internationally, is probably that of the Scottish clans. Scotland’s clan system is unique, reflecting the richness and variety of our nation’s cultural make-up as well as the turbulence of its past. At heart, it is a tribal system, typical of all Celtic peoples, but one which was modified over time.

The original Scottish clans worked like an extended family (clan is Gaelic for “children”) in which the chief was the patriarchal figure. The ties of kinship were strengthened within the clan, they could even offer protection to some groups who were not part of their immediate kin. This included smaller clans, known as septs.

For every single Scot here in our native land, there are thought to be at least five more overseas who can claim Scottish ancestry – that’s many millions spread around the globe.

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