is the largest of the Highland clans, the Gaelic first name
"Domnuill" was anglicised to "Donald".
The original Donald was a grandson of the mighty King Somerled
who drove out the Vikings in the 12th century. Somerled's
mother was Norse and his father was descended from the kings
of Dalriada, according to clan history. The family was founded
in Islay and extended their territory to the mainland. Donald's
great-grandson, "Good" John of Islay, became known
as Lord of the Isles and later holders of the title became
powerful enough to challenge the king of Scotland. The Lord
of the Isles had its own parliament at Finlaggan on Islay.
Eventually, the Lord of the Isles was defeated in 1493 by
King James IV and the various branches of the clan evolved
under their own chieftains. The main branches were Clan Donald
of Sleat (in Skye), Clanranald (in Moidart, Glengarry, Lochaber
and Glencoe). The Glengarry line adopted the spelling MacDonnell.
The MacDonells of Keppoch were descended from Alastair, third
son of John, first Lord of the Isles. Their lands were on
the mainland in Lochaber; they were sometimes known as Clan
Ranald of Lochaber. The last clan battle in the Highlands
took place between MacDonell of Keppoch and Mackintosh of
Mackintosh in Lochaber in 1688.
The Clanranald MacDonalds were involved in both the 1715 (the
clan chief was killed at the Battle of Sheriffmuir) and 1745
Jacobite Uprisings. Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Clanranald
territory in 1745.
Many MacDonalds emigrated to North America and other parts
of the world in the 18th and 19th century. 300 MacDonalds
from Clanranald emigrated to Prince Edward Island in 1790
and MacDonnells of Glengarry settled in some numbers in Glengarry
MacDonald was the most frequently registered "mac"
name in Scotland - it was the 26th most frequent surname at
the General Register Office in 1995.
The motto of MacDonald of MacDonald is "Per mare per
terras" (By sea and by land). The MacDonalds of Clanranald
and MacDonalds of Sleat have the motto "My hope is constant
in thee" and the MacDonnells of Glengarry have the motto
"Cragan an Fhithich" (The rock of the raven).
As befits a large and powerful clan, the septs or sub-branches
under the protection of the MacDonalds are many. The list
provided by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs include
Alexander, Allan, Allanson, Balloch, Beath, Begg, Bowie, Burk,
Colson, Connall, Connell, Coull, Coulson, Crombie, Crum, Daniels,
Donaldson, Domillson, Galt, Gilbride, Gill, Gorrie, Gowan,
Gowrie, Hawthorn, Hewitson, Hewitt, Howison, Hudson, Hughson,
Hutchenson, Hutcheson, Hutchinson, Hutchison, Isles, Jeffrey,
Kean, Keene, Kellie, Kinnell, Leitch, Macallan, Macbeth, MacBride,
MacBurie, MacCall, MacCash, MacCaul, MacCluskie, MacColl,
MacConnell, MacCoish, MacCook, MacCosram, MacCrain, MacCrindle,
MacCririe, MacCruithein, MacCuag, MacCuish, MacCutcheon, MacDaniell,
MacDrain, MacEachan, MacElfrish, MacElheran, MacGeachie, MacGeachen,
MacGill, MacGillivantie, MacGilp, MacGorrie, MacGoun, MacGowan,
MacGown, MacHendry, MacHugh, MacHutcheon, MacIan, MacIlriach,
MacIlrevie, MacIlvride, MacIlwraith, MacIsaac, MacKeachan,
MacKean, MacKechnie, MacKellachie, MacKellaig, MacKellock,
MacKechan, MacKiggan, MacKillop, MacKinnell, MacKissock, MacLardie,
MacLarty, MacLaverty, MacMurrick, MacO'Shannaig, MacPhillip,
MacQuistan, MacRaith, MacRorie, MacRory, MacRuer, MacRurie,
MacShannachan, MacSorley, MacSporran, MacSwan, MacSween, MacVarish,
MacWhannell, Mark, Martin, May, Murdoch, Murdoson, Murphy,
Norie, O'Drain, O'Shaig, O'Shannachan, O'Shammaig, Park, Paton,
Philipson, Purcell, Reoch, Revie, Riach, Ronald, Ronaldson,
Rorison, Sanderson, Shannon, Sorely, Sporran, Whannell, Wheelan,
Information courtesy of RampantScotland.com
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