In A Scottish clan is a kinship group among the Scottish people. Clans give a sense of shared identity and descent to members, and in modern times have an official structure recognized by the court in Scotland, which regulates Scottish heraldry and coats of arms. Most clans have their own tartan patterns, usually dating from the 19th century, which members may incorporate into kilts or other clothing. The clans are irrevocably linked to Scotland's rich and turbulent past and have left a lovely legacy of castles and stately homes, many of which are the seats of the clans today.
It is a common misconception that every person who bears a clan's name has a direct bloodline to the original clan chief. This is not so. Many clansmen although not related to the chief took the chief's surname as their own to either show solidarity, to obtain basic protection, or for much needed sustenance.
The Clans and Tartans of Scotland
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A Guide to Scottish Family Names
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