How do I find my Family or Clan Tartan?
To find your clan or family tartan, simply key in your surname (without words like “tartan” or “clan”) into our Family Finder.
You’ll be provided with a list of potential names to choose from. By clicking on a name, you’ll be brought to a dedicated page where you’ll be able to explore a range of tartans and products specific to that clan or family.
There’s a few key points to keep in mind to help make sense of the results you get:
If you have a name with a few spelling variations, don’t worry if the spelling you see isn’t the same as yours. Once you’re on the page for your clan or family, you’ll see a section that lists a number of possible spellings, and it’s very likely that you’ll see your variation in this list.
You may also see a list of other clan or family affiliations marked as being suitable for you. This may be because your family is a Sept of another clan, or related in some other historical way. If you’d like to learn more about this, see our blog post about Scottish clan and family affiliations.
It’s also important to note that if you can’t find anything for your surname, you still have a number of options. You can try looking up grandparents’ maiden names, your spouse or partner’s name, or even just find a tartan that you think looks nice. If you’d like to read about some more options, we invite you to read more about what tartans you can wear, and we can also recommend a few universal tartans that anyone can wear.
Saint Patrick’s Day, feast day (March 17) of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned about 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. Many legends grew up around him—for example, that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Ireland came to celebrate his day with religious services and feasts.
It was emigrants, particularly to the United States, who transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a largely secular holiday of revelry and celebration of things Irish. Cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants, who often wielded political power, staged the most extensive celebrations, which included elaborate parades. Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762. Since 1962 Chicago has coloured its river green to mark the holiday. (Although blue was the colour traditionally associated with St. Patrick, green is now commonly connected with the day.) Irish and non-Irish alike commonly participate in the “wearing of the green”—sporting an item of green clothing or a shamrock, the Irish national plant, in the lapel. Corned beef and cabbage are associated with the holiday, and even beer is sometimes dyed green to celebrate the day. Although some of these practices eventually were adopted by the Irish themselves, they did so largely for the benefit of tourists. – Courtesy of Britannica
Where do clan names come from?
It was often thought that people with a clan surname were direct descendants of the clan chief. But sometimes it was common to adopt a surname when land was taken over to show solidarity and ensure protection with the clan.
The History of Clans
Few aspects of Scotland’s fascinating history were as colourful, or as bloody, as the clan system. From ancient origins in the Celtic, Norse or Norman-French traditions, by the 13th century, the clans had grown firm roots in the Highlands of Scotland.
While the term ‘clan’ means family or children in Gaelic, not everyone in the same clan was actually related to each other. The clans lived off the land, with cattle being their main source of wealth and, along with border disputes, the prime cause of inter-clan unrest. The most important clan chiefs at this time were part-kings, part-protectorates and part-judges and they held real power over their controlled lands.
The system remained largely intact until the time of the bloody Battle of Culloden in 1746, where the Jacobite rebellion was mercilessly crushed by the royal troops of King George II.
By this point, improved trade and communication links between northern and southern clans were already leading to the dilution of the clan system and the infamous Highland Clearances effectively signalled the end as thousands of Scottish land workers sought the promise of a better life on distant shores.
Today, many clans can be traced back to a specific part of Scotland, for example the MacLeods of Skye, the MacNeils of Barra or the MacNabs of St Fillan on Loch Earn. Read more at visitscotland.com