If my great great grandmother was part of Clan MacGregor can I belong to the Clan aswell even though it's so far back? Not officially belong to the Clan but can I call myself a MacGregor?

  • Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about our focussed Q&A format which is quite different from bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites you may be used to. What is the evidence that your "great great grandmother was part of Clan MacGregor"?
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 23, 2018 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


Clans imagined as groups of family members are mythical creations mostly started as a PR exercise by Sir Walter Scott and perpetuated today because it sells tartan tat to gullible North Americans.

If you stop to think for a moment it is not even vaguely conceivable that everyone of a single bloodline and surname lived together in one area to the exclusion of others of different bloodlines and surnames. Largely it was people living together taking the name of the leader, at a time when surnames weren't commonly used, but having no blood links to that leader.

Note that the surname McGregor was outlawed from 1603-1775, although it was briefly repealed 1660-1693.

Of course the myth of tartans having specific patterns is the most laughable part of the whole "clan" story, and the advise is you are "entitled" to wear any damned tartan pattern that you like, no one is stopping you and no tartans were ever historically associated with a family that's an invention of two English brothers that purported to be descendants of the old pretender.

  • While Walter Scott imagined a lot of the clan trappings, he did not imagine the clan as a group of family members. One look at the graves on Culloden Moor - buried in clan groups - should dispel that particular myth! Jan 23, 2018 at 21:14
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    Downvoted (a) because it contains at least one error -- a clan contains septs -- people with different surnames -- rather than a single family; and (b) because as an answer it isn't substantiated with any sources, and as expressed seems more like opinion than fact. (I do however agree with the opinion).
    – user6485
    Jan 24, 2018 at 8:59
  • I understand your opinions and agree that anyone can wear any pattern tartan... but what I'm really interested in is finding out if I'm considered a MacGregor because of my ancestor, just to satisfy my curiosity not to pledge loyalty to any clan... Jan 24, 2018 at 12:48
  • Err you down vote my answer because of an “error’? Then you choose the even MORE fanciful concept of septs? There are literally hundreds of authoritative sources out there that have long since debunked septs. This is just one example. scotshistoryonline.co.uk/scottish-clan-septs.html Jan 24, 2018 at 23:58

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