Your Heritage is Waiting!

Tired of maxing out on what you can find about the Scottish clans from a Google search? You probably noticed that much of that information is regurgitated from one site to the next. Much of it is Victorian era romanticism and tartanry with a thin veneer of actual history. Dig deeper and let me connect you to scholarly sources by sharing what I've learned from them, sharing some of those sources with you, and recommending a host of others.

The Real Clans

"The nineteenth- and twentieth-century cult of the Highlands - of clan tartans, clan maps and clan societies - have all tended to obscure what a clan was. Few clans had a compact block of territory, either in the medieval period or later; ‘clan maps’ at best indicate where surnames occurred, but not a clan territory. . . . In most cases, kinship and a common surname pertained only to the inner circle of the chief’s family or to cadet branches of it. The notion that all members of a clan were descended from a common and distant ancestor is a nonsense. . . . Clan society was fluid and eclectic” (M. Lynch, Scotland: a new history (London, Pimlico, 1992), p. 69).

Ethnic Origins
Ethnic Origins

Explore the cultural roots of the Scottish clans.

The Scots came from several different groups of people who spoke different languages and had different political and social systems. Learn about these groups and what they contributed to later Scottish society.

What is a clan?

What makes a clan unique?

What's the difference between a Scottish clan and an aristocratic English family? What are the sources for the criteria that we could use to guide such a discussion? What have the scholars said about this subject?

The Influence of Feudalism

The Coming of the Normans

This is a misunderstood development as it relates to the Scottish clans. Some think that the Normans moved in and displaced all the native nobility and forced their system on the young nation of Scotland with the backing of the Canmore dynasty. The truth is much more complex.

Your Experience Awaits

About the Course Creator

Clint Edwards is a native of southeast Idaho. He received a BA from Utah State University and an MA from American Military University. His Master's thesis was a comparison and contrast of the Highland and Border clans between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries in the realm of warfare. He spent 21 years in the Idaho and Utah Army National Guards and Reserves, retiring as a Major. He's the husband of a wonderful woman and four amazing children.