Clan MacLachlan FAQs

  • A Few Definitions
  • Common Questions and Answers
  • A Few Definitions

  • Broken Clan
  • Cadet Family
  • Children of the Mist
  • Clan
  • Protected Clan
  • Scot
  • Sept
    Broken Clan
    A broken clan is a clan that has lost its Chief. In the middle ages, when the Chiefs were the land holder, the loss of the Chief meant that the clan would be forced to disperse upon the arrival of the new laird and this laird's household.

    Cadet Family
    A cadet family (or branch) is a secondary line to that of the chief. Many cadet families descended from a brother or cousin to the Chief who, through marriage or as payment for services rendered, was given a parcel of land to manage. Cadet lines were often affiliated with other clans.

    Children of the Mist
    The Children of the Mist were highland families forced to wander from region to region while searching for a home. Typically, families became children of the mist upon the loss of a Chief or the Chief's property.

    A clan is a family or group of families with a common heritage. The early Celts did not require members of a Clan to have the same surname. In other cases, members of a particular clan were members of the clan only because they had sworn allegiance to the Chief.

    Protected Clan
    A Protected Clan is a clan without a Chief whose members have sworn allegiance to the Chief of another clan in exchange for protection. Each clan member would pay a calp (duty) in exchange for this protection.

    The word Scot is derived from the word Scoti, which in Old Irish translates as raider or predator. Some even translate the word to mean stronger. The term was first used in conjunction with the Dalriada Scots.

    A sept is a subsidiary family within a clan. Often these families became affiliated with a larger clan for protection or because the sept's founder married into another clan. Some of the Septs are large enough to have held their own tartans, castles and Chiefs.

    Common Questions and Answers

  • How Old is Clan MacLachlan?
  • Who are Some of These Ancient Irish Ancestors?
  • Are any other clans related to the MacLachlans?
  • Where Does our Name Come From?
  • Where Do The MacLachlans Come From?
  • What is the Name of the MacLachlan Chief?
  • I'm Scotch-Irish. Does that mean I'm Scotch?
  • My name is spelled Mc and not Mac, and I have been told that is Irish instead of Scottish. Is this correct?
  • My name isn't spelled exactly like the clan name. Does that mean I can't belong to the clan?
  • I understand that MacEwen and MacGilchrist are septs of the Clan MacLachlan. What does this mean?
  • How Old is Clan MacLachlan?
    While the clan known as "Clan MacLachlan" has existed for nearly 1000 years, ancient manuscripts have been used to trace the lineage of the Clan Chiefs back to the High Kings of Ireland. The lineage of the High Kings can itself be traced back to around 600 B.C.

    Who are Some of These Ancient Irish Ancestors?
    Milesius (~600 B.C.), Conn of the Hundred Battles, Niall of the Nine Hostages (~400), Eoghan (~400), Loren Mor (~400), Feargall - The White Gael (~700), Niall of the Showers (~700), Aodh Finnlaith (~850), Muirchertach of the Leather Cloaks (~950).

    Are any other clans related to the MacLachlans?
    Clan MacNeill, Clan MacEwen (A MacLachlan Protectorate), Clan Lamont, Clan MacIan, Clan MacSorley, Clan Livingstone and Clan Scrymgeours.

    Where does our name come from?
    During the Middle Ages, one of High King of Ireland's sons relocated to Argyllshire, Scotland. This was around 1100 A.D. (According to some accounts, the relocation was the result of conflicts within the House of O'Neill.) During this time, the Norsemen were attacking the West coast of Scotland. One tradition states that the O'Neill son married a Norwegian princess. Their son was named after the princess' homeland in Norway -- Lochlann or land of lochs (or lakes). This young man's son was named MacLachlan, or Son of Lachlann.

    Where do the MacLachlans come from?
    Their ancient homeland runs for about 10 miles along both shores of Loch Fyne (pronounced fine), in Argyll which is in the Highlands of Scotland. At one time, the homeland extended in the west as far as the sound of Jura. Cadets held other estates; the MacLachlans of Craiginterve were established near the head of Loch Awe and were once physicians to the Campbells of Argyll. Another MacLachlan family held the castle of Inneschonnel on Loch Awe in the 17th century. The MacLachlan homeland is about 40 miles to the northwest of Glasgow.

    What is the name of the MacLachlan Chief?
    Our Chief, Euan John Maclachlan of Maclachlan, is the 25th Chief of Clan MacLachlan. He resides in the clan's homestead in Strathlachlan, Argyllshire. He bacame our Chief in late 1996.

    I'm Scotch-Irish/Irish. Does that mean I'm Scotch?
    First, let us say that Scotch is something you pour out of a bottle. A person from Scotland is a Scot. At one time, there was an emigration of Scots to Ireland to build a colony for the English. Other Scots emigrated to Ireland following the Civil Wars in the latter half of the 17th century and after the defeat at the Battle of Culloden. Due to economic problems, many later moved to North America. Primarily, they entered through New England and Nova Scotia (New Scotland.) These Scots that came to North America by way of Ireland are often referred to as the Scotch-Irish, which is actually a misnomer for the term Ulster Scot.

    My name is spelled Mc and not Mac, and I have been told that is Irish instead of Scottish. Is this correct?
    Mac, Mc and even M' mean the same thing - Son of. (Mc is often used as a contraction of Mac.) The term O, as on O'Neill, indicated the descendent (eg grandchild) of the designated individual. As such, variations starting with all three - Mc, Mac and O - are common to both Scotland and Ireland. Whether it is Mc or Mac or O, you are still welcomed as a member of the MacLachlan Clan.

    My name isn't spelled exactly like the clan name. Does that mean I can't belong to the clan?
    There are over 400 ways to spell MacLachlan. You should know that early in the Clan's history, the local Priest was usually the only person who knew how to write. Documents would be written with three or four different spellings of MacLachlan, as it was spelled the way it sounded. In addition, for legal reasons, one might change a few letters in his last name, thereby creating another spelling. Finally, many of the immigrants coming into this country were illiterate. The spelling of their last name would then be determined by what the Immigration Officer heard, thus introducing many more variations.

    MacLachlan is the accepted spelling of the Chief's family line. Therefore, it is the official Clan name.

    I understand that MacEwen and MacGilchrist are septs of the Clan MacLachlan. What does this mean?
    The MacEwens lost their right to have a Chief in the late 15th century when the MacEwen lands were given to the Campbells as retribution for a debt incurred by their last Chief. As a result, many MacEwens fled to the lands of their cousins, the MacLachlans, and asked for protection. Hence, they are actually a protectorate rather than a sept. The MacGilchrists never really had a Chief and remained loyal to the MacLachlans. Thus, they are a sept.

    This site is maintained by the Clan MacLachlan Association of North America, Inc.
    This page was last updated on June 21, 2011.

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