On this page are some links and quotes which explain a
little about our family connection with Clan Donald,
and also what the term "Sept" means.
From "Names and Families of Clan Donald," on the Clan Donald-USA site:
Some people and clan associations speak of a "sept list" to indicate the various names associated with their clan. It is the official position of the Clan Donald-USA Genealogy Committee that this an improper use of the term, at least when speaking of Clan Donald, and probably when speaking of any Highland clan. Our preferred terminology is "Families of Clan Donald." Names and Families of Clan Donald, (our Clan Donald family is "MacKelloch").
From "List of Clans Septs and Dependents", from the "Electric Scotland" site:
The variety of surnames within a Scottish clan do not represent separate and definable sub-clans but instead reflect the vagaries of transition of the Gaels into the English naming system as well as marriages, migrations and occupations. The main family itself may have developed a variety of surnames. The preferred modern usage is to avoid the use of the term "sept" and to simply describe these names as what they are - surnames of the family and of allied or dependent families. It is preferable to speak of "The names and families of Clan X" rather to call a name "a sept of Clan X". "Sept" is actually a term borrowed from Irish culture in the nineteenth century to explain the use of a variety of surnames by members of a single clan. Where Scots would say "MacGregor and his clan" and Irish historian might say "O'Neill and his sept". (Read More, from: "List of Clans Septs and Dependents").
See: Historical Background of The Killough Family for more information about the relationship between the MacDonalds and our ancestors the MacKellochs.
The following is a copy of a summation of an article in the book "A List of Clans and Septs of Scottish Highlands of Scotland", by Frank Adams and Ennis of Le Amey. The writer of the summation, John Allen Killough, one of the founders of the Killough reunion group meeting in Jacksonville, TX, did extensive research on the Killough name.
The word Clan means children of or family in Gaelic. Only the blood relatives of the Chief make up the true clan. The Septs are the main work force for labor and for the army for protection. There is nothing democratic in the clan system. The Chief owns all land and property and gives every family its place in the clan. Authority in the clan goes to the family and not to any individual. The Chief picks his head family early and all families following are under all families picked ahead of them.
There are four groups of families. Number 1 is the military leaders. Number 2 food producers in cattle. Number 3 farming. Number 4 were the plain soldiers. They came from the Sept class. Most families in the Septs were first class slaves to all families listed above them. The higher ranked Septs or families would be served first to all things given out by the head men in the clan. All families were numbered and that showed their position or status in the clan. The larger the position or status in the clan, the smaller the number. The less important in the clan and less authority the Sept had, the larger their number.
MacCeallaigh is the original name that later became MacKelloe in Scotland and later Killough in Ireland and is spelled many different ways since then. In the MacDonald Clan, there are eleven Septs with thirty nine families ahead of the MacCealleigh in prestige in the clan.
According to Edward MacLysaght, writer of "Supplement to Irish Families," he says that the Killough name comes from the Scottish name MacKelloch, see quote. (See also: Earliest Known Killough/Kalloch History, and Variant Spellings of the Killough Name).
Only a MacDonald could wear the full MacDonald plaid tartan. All others were tartans that showed their work as soldiers, herdsmen, farmers or craftsmen. A small amount of the MacDonald plaid showed on all tartans to show that they belonged to the MacDonald Clan.
Following is the "Modern MacDonald Tartan" from Clan Donald-USA, (click the image to visit the Clan Donald-USA website). This is the tartan sett that is used on the left-hand side of the framed pages of our website.
At our 133rd reunion in 2000, Douglas MacDonald, high commissioner of Clan Donald, was the guest speaker. Clan Donald, from whom all Kalloch's descend, is the greatest and largest of the Highland clans, beginning its recorded history in 1156. Mr. MacDonald explained how Clan Donald USA is the largest clan organization in America, with over 5000 members. Materials and applications were available for the attendees of the reunion to peruse.
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