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Clan & Surname Research

According to the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, every person who has the same surname as the chief is deemed to be a member of the clan. Equally a person who offers allegiance to the chief is recognized as a member of the clan unless the chief decides that he will not accept that person’s allegiance. These names are often referred to as ‘septs’ of the clan.

There is no official list of recognized septs. Determination of recognized septs is a matter for each chief to determine and for the clan organization to make for those without recognized chiefs. COSCA has compiled and maintains it’s own list of sept names that are recognized by clan chiefs and clan organizations without chiefs that we make available for research at Scottish Games and Festivals. We are currently undertaking a major updating of that research and list and will make it available online at the conclusion of the update process.

While COSCA is updating our own online clan research tools, please hop over to our VisitScotland friends at VisitScotland’s ancestral tourism site AncestralScotland.com and see what VisitScotland’s Find Your Clan search says about your or your family’s surname. COSCA does not guarantee the accuracy of anyone else’s information but it could be a great start for you. Plus, you will find many other great resources at AncestralScotland.com. And don’t forget to check back here as COSCA works with the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and others to produce the most authentic, historically and currently accurate and accepted Scottish surname research tool available.