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  Clan MacTavish Connected Names or Septs

A Clan MacTavish Official Website

It is the Right of a Chief to accept or reject persons who offer him their allegiance and respect, and profess him to be the hereditary head and leader of the Clan.

At the Chief's pleasure, those who do so may be listed on the rolls of the Clan.


The following names (and variations) are considered by the Chief of Clan MacTavish to be members of his clan.


MacTavish, McTavish, Mac Tavish, Mactavish, MacTavis, M’Tavish


Cash, Holmes, Kash, MacCamish, MacCash, MacCamish, MacCammish, MacCavish, MacComb, MacCombie, MacComich, MacComish, MacComie, Macomie, MacCosh, MacKemish, MacKemmish, MacLaws, MacElhose (MacIlhose), MacLehose, MacTeague, Stephens, Stephenson, Stevens, Stevenson**, Tavis, Tawis, Tawes, Tawse, Tawesson, Teague, Thom, Thomas, Thomason, Thomasson, Thompson, Thomson, Tod and Todd***, and all variant spellings.


Most 'Thomas' or 'son of Thomas' septs names are derived from the older Erse or Gaelic forms that appears as

 Mac Giolla šair,

Mac Giolla tŠaŠ  or 

Mac Goilla tGair or a variant thereof. 



Note to above septs.


*Campbell: The name Campbell once appeared on the sept list of Clan MacTavish, as Dugald MacTavish of Dunardry purchased Lot 4 of Inverlussa (Kilmichael-Inverlussay) in 1760, a section of the Achnabreck estate, once owned by Sir James Campbell of Achnabreck.  No Campbells were removed from this land, and became tenants  to MacTavish of Dunardry. It was removed by the present Chief, as it is thought even thought the Campbells there traditionaally became sept to MacTavish that they should be with their parent clan.


Holmes (the name in Ireland is a variant of the Gaelic Mac Giolla šair and is interchangable with MacTavish).


**Sons of Steven (Steven/Stephen patronymic names): These are  ‘accepted’ septs in the traditional sense.


***Tod or Todd is a name divided between Clans Gordon and MacTavish.  The Tod(d) surname is accepted since the 12th century. If your family came from the west of Scotland (Knapdale and Northern Kintyre), it is of Clan MacTavish. Otherwise it is likely attributed to Clan Gordon.


Anyone bearing one of the above names, or variations, or someone who is descended from an ancestor of these names, is eligible to be recognized as a member of Clan MacTavish.


What are Septs of a HIGHLAND CLAN or Connect Names

 and who determines them?

 Septs are families that a clan could regard as loyal, either families related to the clan by blood, or families that obtained protection from the clan chief, and offered him their allegiance. Both types of septs were, and are, considered fully integrated into the clan in all aspects.

Now Septs are commonly called connected names.

Lowland or Border Clans/Houses did not have Septs in the traditional sense.  Lowland families or clans had grayness (or offshoot followers of the same family name who common lived apart from the main family). Grayne is the origin of the saying, Going against the Grayne (commonly misspelled as grain). This saying came about when a grayne member was outwardly belligerent to his Captain or Chief.

In the times of the Highland Scottish Clan heydays the spelling of the name and the inclusion or exclusion of the Mac or Mc was often the preference of the individual. Sometimes a serious family dispute would lead to an individual changing the spelling to show this, or a change might be made to show allegiance to another branch of the clan, or to avoid persecution of some type. This accounts for some of the blood related sept names. Another reason was that after the 1745 rising of the Clans, 'Mac' names showed an obvious connection to the Highlands and people began to "English" them to avoid the persecution that followed. MacTavish, for example, became Tawesson, Thomson or Thompson, and MacCaish(e) or MacCash, becoming Cash. 

The introduction of the English language to the Highlands drastically changed the spellings of names. The Gaelic sounds were transformed into English words by the clergy or registrars of births, deaths and marriages, leading to spellings and variations we have today.

There are no definitive lists of septs, in fact, the Lord Lyon will not interfer in this topic as a Clan Chief has the sole authority to determine who he accepts as a sept, or member, of HIS or HER clan.

A person can join any clan society they wish, in fact, one can join as many Clan societies as they desire. Simply pay the dues, fill out the membership form, and there you are, but you truly belong only to one clan.  A Clan Society is NOT, "The Clan", but a Clan Society that is sanctioned by its Chief, is a vital part
of the Clan.

Can a Chief add or remove a sept? Yes, this can be done because the Chief determines his or her own septs. Does either instance normally happen? No, because septs are usually based on historic occurrence – meaning that at one time or another the sept names, used today, were actually part of the clan. That is how most Chiefs determine who their septs are. However, a Chief 's perogative is to accept or reject those who offer him their allegiance.

Can a Chief remove someone from his clan? Yes, as we have just read, a Chief can accept or reject anyone. Why would a Chief reject someone? 

A 'tradition" says a MacTavish Chief banished one of his sons about the 16th century when a fight broke out between his two sons.   As we can see from this, birthright has nothing whatever to do with being accepted and retained as a member of the clan.
In this instance, the MacTavish chief took away his own son's right to be a member of the clan. Someone may be born into the clan, but the Chief can remove their right to be a member of his clan at his sole discretion. This is usually with cause.

Some reasons, among others, why someone might be removed from a clan are:

1. Showing disrespect to the Chief, his family members, or other clan members, or stealing from the Chief or the Clan.

2. Ignoring Scots Law upon which the clan has its basis.

3. Disregarding or attempting to refute historic precedent and customs common to Scottish or clan culture. (Such might include altering statements from the Lyon Court which are based in Scots law.)

4. Attempting to alter historical reference to the clan. 

5. Lack of common courtesy to other Clan Chiefs.

6. Lack of common courtesy to other legally recognized clans, or their members. 

7. Disrespect of the office or authority of the Court of the Lord Lyon, the Lord Lyon himself, or the laws of heraldry, genealogy, and/or clan precedent, upon which the clan itself is based.