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SEANNACHIE
Sean"na*chie\,  SHAWN-NA-KEE, n. [Gaelic:  seanachaidh.]
 
 
In ancient Scotland a seannachie was the servant of the chief who preserved and repeated the legends, lore , traditions and facts attributable to the tribe or clan, and one who maintained the genealogies of the families.  With him resided the complete history of the clan. He was so respected that during battle, even the opposing warriors would pass their swords over his head.  Killing a seannachie from another clan was considered taboo, although it did happen from time to time.
He also officated at the installment of the new chief of his clan, reciting the lineage of the Chiefly family from the ancient past to present chief.
 
The office of seannachie within most clans went dormant shortly after the last Jacobite rebellion (1745-46), but many clan chiefs have revived the ancient office forseeing that the clan's history is still in need of preservation. The seannachie of old was an office within the household of his chief, and he may have been closely related to the chiefly family, perhaps a brother, cousin, nephew or uncle.   He would train his successor, thus assuring that all he knew was preserved for the next generation.
 
Today, a seannachie serves much the same purpose as his ancient predecessor, acting as the clan historian, researcher and archivist, preserving the historical account of the clan and chiefly family, or other familes within the clan.  With the advent of computers, and data storage and retrieval systems, the seannahie's task is a much easier one.
 
 
 
 

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