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Tracing Scottish Roots

Tracing Scottish roots brings about its own peculiarities. Here we help you get your head round the clan system, and point you in the right direction for some roots in the Gaeltach.


When people think of clans, they tend to think of a group of people all descended from one individual. Whilst many people can accurately claim descent from one person, other people allied themselves to a clan for protection. Whether or not you belong to a clan can be tricky to understand and you can get lost between the clans and the septs. Imagine the clan as the main branch and think of the side-branches as the septs, i.e. people who have married outwith the clan who are nevertheless still blood related, or people who are not clansmen themselves, but aligned to them. You can get a list of septs and clans from many different places
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