What is a sept?
This is one of the most common questions people ask. Essentially, a clan is a collection of families, living in a more or less defined area, and loyal to a specific chief. The most powerful family (which is also usually the wealthiest) carries the name of the clan – in our case, the MacLeods. Other families with different but related surnames that belong to the clan are referred to as “septs.”
Just because your name isn’t MacLeod doesn’t mean that your family doesn’t have a historic link to the clan! Likewise, even if you share a sept name you might not be of a family that was specifically involved with the Clan MacLeod. People acquired surnames in all sorts of ways. We encourage you to research your personal genealogy, itself a fascinating and rewarding experience.
Above all, we welcome all persons who express an interest in joining the Clan MacLeod.
Note: Spellings can vary. Mac and Mc are interchangeable. In the past M’ was also used.
Much of the following information is taken from the publications ‘Scots Kith and Kin’ and ‘The Surnames of Scotland’. Other sources are available.
Other names formerly associated with Clan MacLeod
Nicol (see also Nichol(s), Nicoll, Nicholl, Nicolson, Nicholson, McNychol, MacNickle, MacNichol, Necolson, Nicollsoun, Nucolsone, Nuckall, Nuccol, Nickle, and deNicole) has been assoicated with Cla MacLeod and was at one time considered a sept of MacLeod of Lewis. MacNicol is also associated with Clan MacFie (originally of Clan Alpin). The MacNicol Clan has its own chief.