Scottish Clans & Septs - Questions & Answers
A clan is a group of people united by kinship and descent from a common ancestor. Even if the detail of this lineage is vague, the concept of a founder member is still accepted. In Scottish terms, the Clans were based in specific areas and often shared the family name. These clan names still exist in Scotland today as well as in the countries of the new world.
A sept of a clan is a family name that is related to a bigger clan for various reasons. The main reason was marriage. Female offspring of chiefs would lose the clan name in marriage but would still wish to retain her clan connection. Other septs were simply small clans that sought the protection of the bigger clan. The sept clans then and now have the right to wear the badges, crests and tartans of another, bigger clan.