Your Scottish Name
McDonald, Donald Clan
The MacDonald clan were a powerful Scottish clan
whose forefathers rules the spectacular mountain
scenery of the Western isles of Scotland.
MacDonald and Donald : Origins of the Clan's Name
Clan Donald is one of the oldest and probably the largest and
famous of all the Highland clans. Its Celtic heritage goes back
antiquity, beyond the 6th Century A.D., to the great clans
today is Ireland, Clan Conn (Clann Chuinn) and Clan Cholia.
The clan derived its generic name from Donald, who was
the grandson of Somerled, the historical founder of the
Family of the Isles. From this arose the name MacDonald,
or son of Donald, Mac, or the Gaelic Mhic, signifying son.
By abbreviating the prefix to Mc and M' namy families
write the name McDonald and M'Donald.
The surnmae MacDonnell, McDonnell, McDonell, and other
forms and methods of writing this name, came first into use
when Aeneas MacDonald of the Glengarry branch of the clan
was, in 1660, raised to the Peerage of Scotland by the title
of Lord MacDonnell.
Donald was The Lord of the Isles' Grandson
Somerled, the Lord of the Isles, was a half Gaelic, half Norse Scottish
king who was a powerful ruler of the Western Isles in the 13th Century,
from which the clans of MacDonald and McDougall were born.
Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of the united Dalriads, Scots and
Picts, married the daughter of Godfrey, a later Lord of the Isles.
We now arrive at the immediate ancestors of Somerled.
Three Kings of Scotland
In the year 973, three Kings, Marcus, King of the Isles; Kenneth,
King of the Scots; and Malcolm, King of the Cambri, entered
into a bond for mutual defense. Then followed Gilledomman,
the grandfather of Somerled. Somerled, Rex Insularum, took
his place as a leader of men, from whom descended a race
of Kings, a dynasty distuinguished in the stormy history of
the Middle Ages, who ranked themselves before the
The marriage of Somerled and Ragnhildis took place in the year
1140. Gosred, son of Olave, who was in Norway at the time,
returned to the Isles, but his tyranny and oppression caused
the Islesmen to revolt, and Somerled, joining forces with them,
seized half the Kingdom of the Isles and became Righ Innesegall,
or King of the isles, as well as Thane of Argyll. Later Somerled
invaded the Isle of Man, defeated Godfrey and became
possessed of the whole Kingdom of Man and the Isles.
The important position occupied by the Clan Donald and its
branches invests the narrative of its rise and history with
unusual interest to all, but more especially to those of the
clan, who may well refer with pride to their noble descent
from the independent rulers of the Island principality,
the Kings of the Isles. The early history and descent of
the Clan are involved in the cloudy shades of antiquity;
and its origin is connected with many of the most
interesting questions of Scottish ethnology.