A Brief History of Clans

A Brief History of Clans

Culloden Battlefield

One of the most common queries we get at Culloden is people researching their own family history and trying to understand more about the clan from which they come. So, we thought we’d do a little insight into clans to give you a bit of background on the complicated topic.

First things first: just what is a clan?

The word clan comes from the Gaelic clann meaning children or family.

A clan was typically a community of people living in roughly the same area at the head of which was the Chief. Members of this community could be related to the Chief by blood or they could have been inhabitants upon his lands.  The members of the community, or clansmen, gave their loyalty to the clan Chief and in return he gave them protection, justice, and leadership. Clan members often took the Chief’s surname whether they were related to him…

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