An Outlandish Clan History Part3

And the list goes on! I only thought there would be one post, but more and more people kept asking about their own clan and potential family history. You can see part one here and part two here, to see if your clan had been included before this. There was so much interest, a part four is also in the works, so if your clan wasn’t included here, let us know in the comments and I’ll add it in!

Clan Graham


  • Motto: Ne Oublie- Do Not Forget


Let’s read a little bit about the Grahams!

  • The Grahams originated, supposedly, from a single man named Greme, who broke through the Antonine Wall, helping to drive the Romans out of early Scotland.
  • The Grahams were close with the Wallace clan and a certain man named Sir John de Graham was literally BFFs with William Wallace, himself and if known as one of the heroes of the Wars of Scottish Independence.
  • The Grahams didn’t participate in the Jacobite uprising, staying decidedly neutral in the matter.
  • Love the kilt? Then thank James Graham, who was instrumental in getting Parliament in repealing the Dress Act of 1746, which made it illegal for anyone to wear any form of Highland dress.

James Graham did the Lord’s work.


The Morrison Clan


  • Clan Motto: Teaghlach Phabbay- Family of Pabbay (the name of a castle)

Here are a few things to know about the Morrisons:

  • The clan descends from the Normans and received their name form the regular, family, last name of Morris, or Maurice in France and Normandy. However, their lineage has been notoriously difficult to trace.
  • There were many small small clans with the name Morrison throughout Scotland that weren’t related, and they only unified under one chief in 1965. That made it very hard to create one clan history, as many other, more unified, clans have.
  • They were generally a peaceful people, but were often involved in feuds with the more aggressive Macaulay clan, who was always off stealing the Morrison cattle.

Bell Clan


  • Clan Motto: Signum Pacts Amor- Love is the token of peace

The history of the Bells is difficult to place and map, and they’re not the size of the larger clans, but are known as a “Armigerous clan”, one that has no chief and is not recognized by any Scottish law. Still, let’s see what we can find about them…

  • They most likely originated from France, their name meaning “beautiful”.
  • The Bells were first noted as supporters of the Clan Douglas, a larger and more powerful clan. But when the Douglases fell from power, the Bells struck out on their own.
  • The last Bell chief died in 1628, leaving the clan without leadership. It lapsed and no one took up the title until the 1990’s, but it still chiefless. A fun fact about the last chief is that he was named William “Redcloak” Bell because he took an opposing leader’s cloak in battle and sometimes wore it around as big “F you”.

Clan MacThomas


  • Clan Motto: Deo juvante invidiam superabo- God help overcome envy


Let’s get a little history lesson!

  • They originated in the 15th century from Thomas Macintosh, who was grandson of the chief of the Macintosh clan. At that time, Clan Chattan, which we talked about in Part Two, was so large, Thomas decided to strike out on his own.
  • Numerous names are encompassed under the MacThomas name, such as MacCombe, Thomas, and Combie. Even the MacThomas chiefs weren’t always a “MacThomas”. For example, one chief, John McComie, was a total badas*. He once killed a man for being rude to his wife. And another time, he runs off a group of tax collectors that are harassing a poor widow. Also, he is said to have loved wrestling bulls and even fought his own son to make sure he wasn’t raising a wimp.

Clan Anderson


  • Clan Motto: Stand Sure


  • This is another Armigerous clan, and is a sept of the Macintosh, as well as members of the Clan Chattan.
  • They took their name from Saint Andrew, the parton saint of Scotland. Anderson means “Sons of Andrew”. The name MacAndrew is also covered under the Anderson name.
  • The Andersons are also closely associated with Clan Ross. Because of this, the Anderson history was pretty much sucked up by the this larger clans.

The Cameron Clan


  • Old Clan Motto: Mo Righ ‘s Mo Dhuchaich- For King and Country
  • Current Clan Motto: Aonaibh Ri Chéile- Let Us Unite
  • Clan War Cry: Chlanna nan con thigibh a so’s gheibh sibh feoil- Sons Of The Hounds, Come Hither And Get Flesh (Giving me Game of Thrones flashbacks. Anyone else?)
  • No one knows 100% where the Camerons came from. But it’s widely thought that they descended from a Danish prince, who was nicknamed “cam-shròn”, which is Gaelic for “Crooked Nose”. BTW, it’s been shown that a ton of Scots from Northern Scotland carry Viking blood in their veins.
  • Their main enemies were the Chattan clan and the Mackintosh. This was mainly over land disputes, as each group was large and kept trying to gain more territories.
  • The Camerons were instrumental in the Jacobite uprising. Their chief was great friends with Charles Stuart and the clan was on the front lines at the Battle of Culloden. But, since the uprising failed, the Camerons lost their lands to the government for several years, before being handed back in 1784.

Clan Broun/Clan Brown


  • Clan Motto: Floreat Majestas- Let Majesty Flourish


  • Broun, or Brown, is a very common name and probably refers to the colorings of the original Celts that made up a portion of their clan.
  • There was one part of the clan, the Brouns of Colstoun, that were descended from the royal family of France. Because of this, they received favor from the Scottish nobles and enjoyed the benefits of intermarrying other royals.
  • As a whole, they weren’t particularly active, as a clan, meaning they do not have a “pedigree” of sorts to widely trade. This is again highlighted by the fact that many Highlanders took on the name”Brown” when they were forced to abandon their own names. So, if you identify as a member of the Browns, you might actually be a from another clan, like the MacGregors!

Clan Kincaid


  • Clan Motto: This I’ll Defend


  • The name was more locational, then a reference to a particular person. But in the 12th century, when the Earl of Lennox was granted the Kincaid lands in the 12th century.
  • A castle was added to their crest after they retook Edinburgh Castle from the English in 1692 and continued to maintain their seat at the castle as constable.
  • A large portion of them stayed out of the usual raiding and battles that most of the clans participated in, focusing mainly on farming, after the failed Jacobite uprising of 1715.

The Mackay Clan


  • Clan Motto: Manu Forti- With a Strong Hand


  • They are descended from the Forbes and the Farguharson clans and the first chief was recorded in 1210. However, they maintained a strong relationship with the Forbes, strengthened by their mutual long-standing feud with clan Gordon.
  • They were one of the most powerful clans for the better part of their existence, rarely going very long between battles. They even supported the royalists against the Jacobites. But their power and number all ended because of the Sutherlands…
    • The Mackay’s seat was north of the Sutherland lands and in the Highland clearances in the early 1800s, their lands were sold to the Countess of Sutherlands due to debts, and the people were forced off their lands to make room for sheep.

Clan Drummond


  • Clan Motto: Gang Warily- This phrase means “Go Carefully”. It was said to members of the clan before departing and also meant as a warning against their enemies.
  • Alternative Motto: Virtutem coronat honos- Honour crowns virtue


  • They came from a Hungarian Prince named George, who was on the run from William the Conqueror. He took refuge with Scottish king Malcom III in the 1000s and married one of the king’s sisters.In fact, the Drummonds continues to marry into the royal family for generations, keeping them powerful and in royal favor.
  • The name refers to the Scottish phrase “dromainn” which means a “ridge or high ground”. This is a nod to the place the Drummonds settled; Drymen in the highlands.
  • This clan were firmly in support of Scottish independence from the beginning. They even were among the first in Scotland to use “caltrops”, a deadly spiked item that would be liberally spread in the lands to injure horses and men on foot during battle.
  • They didn’t get on with Clan MacGregors all that well, as highlighted here…
  • In 1589, some of the Drummonds captured some members of the MacGregors, who were caught poaching. The head of forestry in the lands, John Drummond,ordered their ears cut off. Well, that pissed the MacGregors off. so they rounded up some MacDonalds, kidnapped John, and cut off his head….but wait, there’s more! They went to John’s sister Maggie’s house with the head, gussied up like Thanksgiving turkey, and slapped it right on her kitchen table. Think that’s over? Not so fast. Maggie was super pregnant and upon seeing the bloody head of her brother set up like a roast, she freaked the hell out and gave birth to her son James in the forest. Well, I guess James Drummond Stewart grew up pretty pissed that the MacGregors poached on his family’s lands and took massive revenge on their punishment, driving his mom into insanity. Can you blame him? But he took the long con, rising through the ranks of the Scottish military, biding his time, until he saw his chance for revenge. When it came time for King James VI, who was super pissed at the MacGregors for always fighting against him, to ban the name, James Stewart finally got his chance to give the MacGregors the shaft and helped enforce the terms of the ban.
  • Fun fact! Drummond Castle was used in the filming of Outlander season two as a placeholder for the gardens of Versailles!

The Mar/Marr Clan


  • Clan Motto: Pans Plus- Think More


  • They are also known as the Tribe of Mar, descending from the Mormear, the Earlship of Mar, which dominated an area ruled by the ancient Picts in Aberdeenshire.
  • The Mars supported Robert the Bruce’s claim to the throne. In fact, Robert’s first wife was a Mar, and her brother married Bruce’s sister!
  • They supported the Jacobites during the uprising, but their lands were later returned in 1824.

The MacMillan Clan


  • Clan Motto: Miseris succerere disco-  learn to succour the unfortunate

Here are a few little fun facts:

  • This clan originated from the Celtic church, whose early priests were allowed to marry, before the 1000s. They wore their hair in a specific style, as Saint John, who was called Mhaoil-Iain in Gaelic, was said to do. This made the clan MacMillan.
  • They supported Robert the Bruce and even sheltered him while he was on the run. But their relationship wasn’t awesome with Robert’s son, David II, who ended up exiling from their lands in Loch Lay them due to their alliance with the Lord of the Isles. But it’s okay, because the Lord of the Isles gave them new lands.
  • They weren’t particularly active in the Jacobite uprisings, with only random small groups participating on either side of the fray. On company of MacMillans from Tulloch actually surrendered to the English, after begin promised protection, and were send to the Caribbean to be sold as slaves.
  • Fun Fact: Gwyllyn the Bard from Castle Leoch was placed by a man named Gillebrìde MacMillan


Clan Keith


  • Clan Motto: Veritas Vincit- Truth Prevails (Also used as their War Cry)
  • Alternative Motto #1:Quae amissa salva- What has been lost is safe
  • Alternative Motto #2:Veritas vincit Truth conquers


  • The Name “Keith” comes from the Welsh word “coed”, meaning “wood”.
  • A good deal of the Keith lands were acquired through advantageous marriages and royal favor. Marrying landed heiresses was somewhat of a hobby for the chiefs of the clan and their close relations.
  • George Keith, 5th Earl of Marischal, is the one who hooked up King James VI of Scotland with Princess Anne of Denmark.

The Elliot Clan

  • 190px-Clan_member_crest_badge_-_Clan_Eliott.svg.png
  • Clan Motto: Fortiter et recte- Boldly and rightly


  • A fire in their main castle in the 1700s destroyed all the clan records, making it relatively impossible to see where the Elliots actually came from. But the name was originally “Ellot, with the “i” being brought in the mid 1600s.
  • Recent DNA testing of the Elliots showed that they are of Celtic-Brittonic origin and settled along the borders.

The Scott Clan


  • Clan Motto: Amo- I love


  • The Scotts may have come from Ireland, as the Latin “Scotti” was originally used as a name for the Celts.
  • They were one of the, if not the top, most powerful border clans in Scotland during the 15th century, which came in handy since they were constantly at war with the Elliot and the Kerr clans. It also allowed them to hold a respected place in the eyes of the English. King Charles the II even married one of his illegitimate children to a Scott heiress, who took on the Scott name.
  • Michael “The Wizard” Scot was a medieval philosopher and astronomer whose medical knowledge and ability to foresee the future made him a figure that commanded both respect and fear. He traveled Europe and the Middle East, teaching about his skills or at the courts of kings. It’s speculated that he also dabbled in black magic, but it’s uncertain, as is the date and way of his death…anyone else smell a possible time traveler??


That’s all the names I have room for today! You guys have been great at interacting on our social media pages, and it’s great how excited you all are to hear more about your clans! There is a part 4 in the works now, so if you didn’t see your name, dinna fash, just let us know what you’re looking for, and I’ll try tofit it in next time, or even do a part 5 if it comes to that! And, remember to read all out Outlander posts here!

Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.



4 thoughts on “An Outlandish Clan History Part3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s