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Clan MacDonald: History, Tartan & Battles

Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 26th March 2019, last updated: 14th April 2022

The Clan Donald’s (or Clan MacDonald) Scottish roots run deep – being the oldest and largest of all Scottish clans. For nearly 400 years, Clan Donald ruled the west highlands and the Hebrides – their land and power stretched so wide that it was only second to the Kings of Scotland and England. This gravitas gifted the Donald Clan Chief the title of Lord of the Isles (Triath nan Eilean or Rìgh Innse Gall in Scottish Gaelic).

The Clan Donald Tartans

Clan Donald Tartan

There are over 40 Clan Donald Tartans and many clan branches intricately connected to it. The clan’s eight main branches are: Antrim, Ardnamurchan, Clanranald, Duunyveg and the Glens, Glencoe, Glengarry, Keppoch and Sleat.

The tartan pictured is named MacDonald of the Isles (MakDonnald of ye Ylis), and it was published in the Vestiarium Scoticum in 1842, a reproduction of a 15th-century manuscript that included the clan tartans of the main Scottish families.

Photo by Celtus / CC BY-SA 2.5

MacDonald Clan Crest

Clan MacDonald Crest

The MacDonald clan crest was a symbol of allegiance used by members to show loyalty to their clan chief. The crest depicts a small, simple crown with an armoured hand holding a cross. The clan motto “by sea and by land” acknowledges the clan’s island and seafaring roots and its mainland expansion goals.

Photo by Celtus / CC BY-SA 3.0

Clan Donald Territories

Clan Donald is a now global clan with ancient roots in the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland and County Antrim of Northern Ireland. In the 1100s, the warrior Somerled secured dominion over the Western Isles for Clan Donald. A century later, their lands grew when Robert the Bruce granted Clan Donald more territory on the mainland including Lochaber and Glencoe. In the 1330s, its territory would expand further to Skye and Lewis.

The mountains of North Harris, Outer Hebrides

Mountains of North Harris in the Western Isles. Photo by Derek Voller / CC BY-SA 2.0

Clan Donald Castles: The Cradle of Clan Donald

While the clan’s two island castles mostly lie in varied states of decline now, these victims to time and politics still remain impressive reminders of Clan Donald’s power.

Finlaggan Castle

The ancient seat of Clan Donald is Finlaggan Castle and is often referred to as the Cradle of Clan Donald. It was the home of the clan lords.

The castle’s surroundings are striking, protected by Loch Finlaggan and perched on the isle of Eilean Mór. Once the Lord of the Isles’ stronghold, its walls lie crumbled in scattered stone, casting the visitor to imagine what once was a strong structure that cautioned enemies and welcomed its clan.

The mountains of North Harris, Outer Hebrides

Site and ruins of Finlaggan Castle. Photo by Otter / CC BY-SA 3.0

Armadale Castle

The clan’s second stronghold, Armadale Castle, sits at the heart of a 20,000-acre estate alongside the Isle of Skye’s stunning coastline.

Armadale was once home to the MacDonalds of Sleat and was sold in 1971 following the death of Alexander Godfrey MacDonald, 7th Lord MacDonald and High Chief of Clan Donald.

The castle is now owned by the Clan Donald Lands Trust, founded by Clan Donald global members and a Scottish registered charity that preserves the clan’s history for future generations.

The mountains of North Harris, Outer Hebrides

Armadale Castle. Photo by Mike Peel / CC BY-SA 4.0

Ancient Norse-Celtic Beginnings: The Kingdom of the Isles

Stained glass window representing Somerled, in the Armadale Castle.

Stained glass window representing Somerled. Photo by Brianann MacAmhlaidh / Public Domain

Before many other clans rose to their height of power in the 16th century, Clan Donald was governing the western islands and its seas hundreds of years earlier.

The name MacDonald translates to “children of Donald” and was named after Donald, the grandson of the 12th century Gaelic hero and King of the Hebrides, Somerled. The mighty half-Norse and Celtic King Somerled drove out the Vikings from the islands in 1156.

Prior to Somerled, the Vikings had dominated Scotland’s west coast through settlements. Despite having fewer men and resources, Somerled captured Viking ships and equipment, established a fleet of smaller ships and out-manoeuvred the Viking longboats. This warrior is credited with inventing the rudder, which he put in the middle of his galleys to give his fleet an advantage.

Somerled’s might was noticed by the Scottish King Malcolm IV who tried to expand into the clan’s territory. In 1164, Somerled sailed with 15,000 men to stop Malcolm’s advance. The sea warrior was forced to fight on land where he was killed.

After his death, the Kingdom of the Isles was split among his three sons including Reginald, King of the Isles and father of Donald.

The Rise, Division and Expansion of Clan Donald

Rise (1100s-1400s)

Under Celtic rule, Clan Donald was divided into branches where a descendant of Donald ruled. The clan chief acted as a father figure to the clan.

The clan’s Kingdom of the Isles was seen as a rival to the Scottish Crown until it was incorporated and recognised by Scotland as the Lordship of the Isles in 1263. Until then, Clan Donald was technically vassals of Haakon IV, King of Norway until Alexander III of Scotland defeated the Norwegian king.

A generation later, Donald’s grandson and clan chief Angus Og found favour with the legendary Scottish King Robert Bruce — when he first sheltered him at the lowest point of his career and then stood with 5,000 MacDonalds at Bannockburn in 1314. The clan’s loyalty was rewarded with King Robert Bruce proclaiming that Clan Donald would always occupy the honoured position on the right wing of the Scottish army. During this time, the clan built a Celtic parliament, known as the Council of the Isles, at their Islay stronghold where they held court.

Statue of Alexander III in St. Giles, Edinburgh

Alexander III of Scotland in St. Giles. Photo by Kim Traynor / CC BY-SA 3.0

Division (1400s-1700s)

The great Donald power would start to diminish in the 1400s during two pivotal battles and the loss of its Lord of the Isles title. This would create divisions that transferred more power to its rivals the Scottish monarchy.

The Donald clan chief held the title of the Lord of the Isles until 1493 when the Scottish crown declared that the chief forfeit the lordship. The title went to the heir of the Scottish throne, which today sits with HRH the Prince of Wales.

The clan weakened due to differing branch clan alliances, religion and geography. The Clan Donald branches started accepting Crown charters, which kept the clan divided and limited any threat to the crown. Fear of Catholicism was widespread and with some Donald branches Catholic, it excluded the clan from power adding further splits in a clan already divided by sea.

Victorian illustrator's depiction of a MacDonald, Lord of the Isles

Illustration of a MacDonald, Lord of the Isles. Photo by R.R. MacIan / Public Domain

The Battle of Bloody Bay: MacDonald vs MacDonald (sometime between 1480-1483)

Known as the greatest Scottish sea battle, this battle was fought between father and son. The Lord of the Isles, John MacDonald, faced a rebellion by his own son, Angus Og.

The Lord of the Isles had agreed to assist King Edward IV of England to invade mainland Scotland. Angus disagreed with this decision and wanted to remove his father from leadership.
A fierce sea battle turned the waters off the Isle of Mull red. The Lord of the Isles had the backing of Clan MacLean, Clan MacLeod and Clan MacNeil. His son’s rebel support included Clan MacDonald of Clanranald and Clan MacDonald of Sleat.

Angus won that day but the clan’s naval fleet was cut in half. Angus became the last of the Lord of the Isles when he was murdered 10 years later after the title transferred to the Scottish Crown. Some believe this battle was the beginning of the end to the clan system.

Clear Felling at Bloody Bay

Blood Bay. Photo by Sarah Charlesworth / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Eigg Massacre: MacLeod vs MacDonald (1577)

The entire population of Eigg was wiped out in 1577 after the MacLeods suffocated to death more than 350 MacDonalds in a cave.

This was in retaliation to the MacDonald’s banishing three young men from Eigg after they insulted several women. The men were bound hand and foot and cast to sea in their boat. After the men washed up at Dunvegan, the MacLeod chief sailed to Eigg to avenge his clan members’ treatment.

The MacDonalds’ plan to hide almost worked until a MacDonald watchman’s footprints were found and traced back to the cave. The MacDonalds refused to surrender thinking the cave’s narrow entrance would protect them. Instead, the MacLeods lit a fire at the cave entrance and the island’s MacDonald population died from smoke inhalation.

Entrance to the Massacre Cave, Eigg

Entrance to the Massacre Cave, Eigg. Photo by Christian Jones / CC BY-SA 2.0

Battle in a Church: MacLeod vs MacDonald (1578)

Known as the Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke, the feud between the MacLeods of Waternish and the MacDonalds of Uist came to a head in a church on Skye. The MacLeods were attending a service when the MacDonalds landed their fleet of eight ships and set fire to the church. All perished except for one young woman who escaped by window.

More MacLeods were alerted by the smoke and flocked to the church. Before the MacDonalds could escape to their boats, they were attacked and killed by the MacLeods.

Trumpan Church, site of the Battle of the Spoiling Dyke.

Trumpan Church, site of the Battle of the Spoiling Dyke. Photo by John Allan / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Massacre of Glencoe: Campbell vs MacDonald (1692)

The Crown offered indemnity to all clan chiefs who swore an oath of allegiance before January 1 1692. A messenger arrived in Glencoe with the royal news only three days before the deadline. Chief Alexander MacDonald travelled to take the oath, but was detained for a day by his enemies: Campbell soldiers.

He was unable to take his oath until the magistrate returned on 6th January. In Edinburgh, the Secretary of State decreed that all MacDonalds under seventy to be killed as punishment. The Campbell soldiers who were housed by the clan for the last 12 days, massacred 38 MacDonalds including the chief. Forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned while others escaped.

Watercolour of Glencoe by Horatio McCulloch.

McCulloch, Glencoe. Watercolour by Horatio McCulloch / Public Domain

The Jacobite Uprisings

The Clanranald MacDonalds were involved in two Jacobite Uprisings in 1715 (the clan chief died at the Battle of Sheriffmuir) and 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Clanranald territory in 1745.

The notorious one-hour Battle of Culloden near Inverness was the final confrontation of the Jacobite uprising of 1745, which ended in bloody defeat silencing the hope of a Stuart king. Three MacDonald divisions, including the surviving Glencoe MacDonalds, stood at the left wing of the Jacobite army at Culloden.

Expansion: 1700s-present

In the 150 years after the Battle of Culloden, it’s estimated that nearly two million people left Scotland. Many MacDonalds emigrated during this time (the 18th and 19th centuries) to North America and other parts of the world.

Battle of Culloden

Battle of Culloden. Photo by David Morier / Public Domain.

Is It Clan Donald or MacDonald? An Inclusive Clan

Being one of the largest clans in existence, with its origins nearly a millennia old, history has referred to both Donald and MacDonald to describe this expansive clan.

The name MacDonald (including alternate spellings) was used by anyone whose father’s surname was Donald until surnames became common in Scotland around 1061 by Scottish King Malcolm III. MacDonald appears to be used long before the government required surnames in 1855. In the 1800s and early 1900s, MacDonald was the second most common surname in Scotland (counting both Mac and Mc).

Clan Donald grave marker at the site of the Battle of Culloden

Clan Donald grave marker at the site of the Battle of Culloden. Photo by QuintusPetillius / CC0 1.0.

However, the first mention of the clan in the 15th-century Gaelic documents refers to Clann Domhnaill (Clan Donald). These manuscripts described a more inclusive Celtic approach to clans. A member of Clan Donald is anyone associated with and loyal to, but not necessarily a literal descendant of Donald, King of the Isles. In the Kingdom of the Isles, Clan Donald included those who fought and lived alongside Clan Donald.

The Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh also backed this view. Established in 1891, the society is one of the oldest modern clan organisations and has referred to themselves as Clan Donald ever since it was founded. Under Clan Donald, it acknowledges its many surnames, including MacDonald, McDonald, MacDonell, McConnell, McDaniel and Donaldson.

Clan Donald Descendants

The current Clan Chief is Godfrey James MacDonald of MacDonald, 8th Lord MacDonald. He became high chief of Clan Donald in 1970 and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Clan Donald Lands Trust.

A recent scientific study suggests one in four MacDonalds can trace their origins back to the Norse-Celtic warrior king Somerled. Genghis Khan is the only man who has more living descendants.

A Famous Donald

Kelly MacDonald

Kelly MacDonald, born in 1976 and raised in Glasgow, is a BAFTA award-winning actress for her role as Carla Jean Moss in No Country for Old Men.

She is also known for her role as Diane in the film Trainspotting and the voice of Merida in Pixar’s Brave.

Photo by disneyabc / CC BY-ND 2.0

Donalds with Highland Titles

As of March 2019, there are over 1,310 plots in the Highland Titles Land Register under the Donald name.

Highland Titles: A Very Modern Clan

Like historical clans, our community also share the investment and attachment to the land, and we even have our own tartan and crest. Join the clan by purchasing a plot of land and continue our mission to conserve Scotland, one square foot at a time™! Learn more about tracing your Scottish ancestry here.

About the author

Written by: Stewart Borland

Comments on this post

  • James Alexander MacDonald
    01/05/19 - 22:59

    Interested in clan history!

  • Margaret Wolfe
    17/06/19 - 18:26

    My granddaughter is in Scotland, studyimg. She asked what branch od Clan Donald we descend from. How do I find this. I have never been able to determine this in all my years of research.

  • Akos Farkas
    03/07/19 - 23:43

    Very interesting article. I’d like to read more about clan history. I love mediavel history in general but there is a special place in my heart for the Scottish history. I fell in love with Scotland when I was in highschool. The love for their land against any kind of oppression made Scotland my favourite country and nation. Purchasing a plot for me and for my brother was my way to show respect and support for conserving the breathtaking Scottish landscape.
    I wish the best for the future progress.
    Greetings from Hungary!

  • Karen Ray
    10/07/19 - 09:25

    I am tracing my family history. On my grandmother’s side I have traced her lineage to Angus Buri McDonald. I have and estimated date of birth to be 1620 and date of death 1696. I am in uncharted territory and would appreciate any help you can give.
    Thank you

  • Stuart Vos
    11/07/19 - 08:01

    Have had an affinity with Scottish history, having had a Great Great Grandmother McDonald. However after visiting Scotland last year I decided to research our family history and traced our family’s Scottish links back beyond . Ranald (Reginald) Somerled mac Somairle Lord of the Isles.

  • David Mc Donald
    26/07/19 - 09:50

    I’m looking for any information on my 5th Great Grandfather Angus Mac Donald of Clan Keppoch. Angus was probably born around 1758, in Laggan, Inverness-shire, Scotland. He married Mary Mc Donald (b. 1763, Laggan) on 3 April 1782, in Kinloch, Laggan, Inverness-shire. Angus probably died before the 1841 census,(although, his wife Mary was listed in the 1841 census, (80 years old) and lived with her son John, in Kilmonivaig, Scotland). I need help finding a record which will list his birthdate and birthplace, or any information on Angus Mac Donald or his wife Mary Mc Donald. Please, I need your help! My e-mail address is [email protected].

    Thank you so much, David Mc Donald

  • Sandy MacDonald
    16/08/19 - 02:12

    My husband’s ancestors, who settled in Middle River, Cape Breton in earlier 1800’s were from Applecross, Scotland. Were these MacDonalds descended from those at GlenCoe or elsewhere? Any information would be greatly appreciated. We plan to visit there in 2020.

  • Janet McDonald Riddell
    26/08/19 - 21:06

    We have traced our McDonald family back to Allan McDonald (married Margaret McDonald in Glasgow 23 March 1760. We were told that our family originated in Skye, but we haven’t been able to confirm that. I am travelling to Glasgow and Skye on Sept 13-17 2019 and would appreciate some direction on how to find out more about my family heritage. Thank you in advance for your response.

  • Neil Donald
    11/09/19 - 13:11

    I am after some information on the story behind the Fonald crest.

    I have heated a story of a boat race to the island to lay a handed dagger on the shore, but I can’t find anything online.

    I intend to use the story as part of a reading at my grandad funeral, so any help would be appreciated.

  • Sheenagh Hay
    15/09/19 - 04:35

    I am writing a social history of my MacDonalds and found this article very interesting. I remember Angus Og as a cartoon character from the newspaper the Scottish Daily Record; I had no idea that he was an actual historical character. Similarly I had no idea that HRH Prince of Wales was Lord of the Isles – that’s a bit of a disappointment. A great article.

  • Lachlan MacDonald Mellon
    17/09/19 - 15:19

    Enjoyed this very much, it left me wanting to research more, I am told by my Grandparents we are descendants of the Glen Coe MacDonald’s. Our family left after the massacre and changed the name.

  • Jane Johnson
    04/10/19 - 20:36

    I just found out after 40 years of tracing my family tree that my 4th gr grandfather was from the Clan Macdougall, which I believe was part of the Clan Mcdonald. My gr gr gr grandfather, John W Murphy(1806-1900) married Margaret “Peggy” Deweese(1806-1846) and her father, Samuel Deweese(1772-1819) was married to Sarah Macdougall(1775-1822). I wondered why I felt an attachment to the movie OUTLANDER. I didn’t realize how true to life it was and it only by accident that I came across the connection. So was Clan Macdougall considered a Jacobite? I know that Macdougall was from Lorn, Argyll, Scotland (southwestern part, while Mcdonalds inhabited several areas of the country.) Any additional info would be great. Love to know more about my family and were we related to royalty somehow? [email protected]

  • Gene McPhee
    16/10/19 - 18:20

    My fathers side was from Clan MacFie, my mother, Clan MacCook.
    Excellent site.
    Slainte from Texas

  • Carol
    22/10/19 - 07:10

    Very interesting. What is the quickest way to find out which clan we come from?
    I can only go back to Alexander Mc Donald of Lossiemouth
    B 1843 Drainie Morayshire
    M Elspeth Smith 13/7/1870 in Alverstoke Hampshire
    Joined RN 9/10/1868 at Sheerness Kent
    D 1922 Greenwich London

    If anyone can help I would be really grateful. I live in Queensland Australia.

  • Neil Currie
    23/10/19 - 22:28

    Research suggests our distant ancestors were poets to the Lord of the Isles. The family home appears to have been on the Isle of Islay until sometime prior to 1830 they relocated to Bush Mills in Antrim. Any information on the Currie family would be greatly appreciated.

  • Sally Dolan
    26/10/19 - 16:55

    I was born McDonald. I am trying to trace a relative. All we know is that his name was Michael McDonald and he was born in Ireland ( though we do not know where in Ireland).He was born in 1812 (per grave marker) and came to the USA with a Richard McDonald( brother? Uncle? ). They both settled in Illinois. Michael is buried in a private cemetery in Illinois, so no death records either. With only that little bit of information, it has been hard to find out anything about them before they got to this country. No amount of searching birth records, name searches, immigration records, ship manifests, etc has given us a clue. Any help on where to proceed from here would be most appreciated. I like to track trends in migrations to see if that gives us a hint as to why they immigrated. We think that both Michael and Richard immigrated in 1832 and came through Philadelphia.

  • William H Willcox
    01/11/19 - 09:54

    Our 4th Great Grand Mother is Barbara McDonald born 19 April 1772 in Glenisla, Angus, Scotland and married James Lamond born 6 January 1767 in Braemar, Aberdeenshire. The married on 27 February 1793 in Crathie & Braemar. We are trying to find the parents off Barbara and to which actual McDonald clan she came from

    Any help would be appreciated as Ive hit a brick wall

    Thank you


  • Dennis McDonald
    27/11/19 - 08:53

    I feel ive lived in Scotland and fought against those ugly barbarian Brits many centuries ago. Reincarnation? I believe so. I still have a FIERY PASSION to fight for freedom and justice and GOD and country and yes Clan.A Marine/Army vet

  • Iain James MacDonald
    22/12/19 - 07:46

    My father and his before were both MacDonald’s and i remember my father telling me the story of his his father in school and getting into a fight with a campbell 😀

  • Shealyn C. Horn
    29/12/19 - 01:26

    I was wondering if the clans keep detailed records of family trees? My family name is McBride and any information I have found says that it’s an off branch of the McDonalds. Just wanting to know as much as possible about my heritage as I have always felt a pull towards the ancestry.

  • Erika Macdonald
    16/01/20 - 03:02

    Hi, I’m looking for more information about my family tree. I have been able to trace some of my great great grandfather in Scotland he left when he saw the war wasn’t going wall and headed to Africa. There he worked on a plantation until he saved up enough to buy his own. He met my great great grandmother and had my great grandmother. Just curious is there a Macdonald family Reunion? If so when and where does it take place I’d live to attend.

  • Jim Morris
    01/02/20 - 05:09

    My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Moore. In the early 1500’s, the name was spelled More. The More’s descended from the MacDonald’s around the mid-1300’s. The earliest known MacDonald who’s a direct ancestor of mine is Angus More MacDonald born in 1249 in Kolmkill Iona Western Isles, Scotland. His son was Angus Og MacDonald born in 1274 at Finlaggan Castle Island Islay, Scotland. If anyone could tell me which branch of the MacDonald/Donald Clan I’m descended from, I’d be greatly appreciative.

  • Keegan MacDonald
    05/03/20 - 15:58

    That was my ancestors clan and it’s cray that the castle is still up. I’ve never been to Scotland but if I did that would be it

  • Darren David macdonald
    08/03/20 - 11:09

    I know nothing about my family only we originally came from Scotland how do l go about finding out who my family are??!!

  • Raymond MacDonald
    26/03/20 - 18:09

    My McDonald clan (Ratray, Dundee and areas), I’ve traced back to 1700s and they are always in Angus area (many born in or close to Dundee, many were joiners). What part of McDonald clan is associated with being in this Dundee and down to Perthshire areas from 1600s onwards?

  • Michael Mcdonald
    30/03/20 - 14:27

    Great to read about my history

  • Aubrie MacDonald
    06/04/20 - 15:01

    it’s really cool to know that you are a descendant of a powerful Scottish clan

  • Shanie Taljaard
    11/04/20 - 07:26

    I descent from the McDonalds of Glencoe. Anybody else out there? Would like to make contact

  • Sallie Williams
    01/07/20 - 21:31

    I am descended from the layered McDonald he was a slave he was shipped to the United States he married his slave owners daughter and was free’d And later changed his last name to McDaniel and I am a direct descendant through that land there my daughter’s searching our Genetic history .

  • margaret king
    14/07/20 - 23:16

    I have a marriage dated 10:02:1820 at Daviot, Inverness between Duncan Rose of Mid Lairg and Ann McDonald of Faillee, Daviot. Their children were James(1821) Catherine(1822) John (1824)… my line of descent, and Lidia (1827).

    I would like to go back a generation or two with the McDonalds and Rose (Rosse)family, and also to find out what clan sept they belonged to. It would be great if I could get back to Culloden times, and also if the families were supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie(or not) I have been reading about the Highland clearances and the cruelty of the factors to people who were already finding it hard to survive. Could you please point me in the right direction? John was a blacksmith when he enlisted in the 93rd at 17/18 years, so perhaps the families weren’t turned out of their properties. Thank you for your time.

  • Linda Stroud
    21/07/20 - 12:26

    my great ganfather was alexsoner mcdounld he father was john mcdounld his wife was mary murrry and goin back abit ferther torobert the barce who sister marrred my 5 times great ganfather we also liked in with the andson side all from high land slowely the family moved don as my ganfather did to woolwich l am marred now and live in somerset like toknowmore abourt margert also known as mary barce love my scotsh side like tomeet my desent cas one one day linda

  • Connie MacDonald
    30/07/20 - 04:04

    I am just starting this wonderful journey of the clan Donald/MacDonald. How do I go about figuring out which of these clan I come from. All I know is that my Grandfather was Donald Greer MacDonald

  • David Shannon
    01/08/20 - 13:47

    We are a Sept of the MacDonalds based by 1750’s in Galloway. I have compiled a family database of over 500 names on Ancestral Quest. I would welcome any information about other Shannons in the Clan.

    Shannon sometimes spelled otherwise including Shennan.

  • Guy MacDonald
    04/08/20 - 21:52

    I visited Scotland in the 80’s on be belated honeymoon. My wife who is a Greig and Scottish told me that I couldn’t bring my golf clubs but if I could somehow play St. Andrew while we were there that I was more than welcome.

    Not telling her, I brought a golf glove and 3 balls. Visiting St. Andrew’s I approached the head master at the club and asked if I might play his course. I stated that my name was Guy MacDonald and I came from Mt. Clemens Michigan and have this glove and 3 balls and if he could help me play the old course I would appreciate it.

    He ask how I spelled my name and I obliged spelling out MACDONALD. I was teeing off in about 3 hours time there after.

    It’s alway good to drop names especially MacDonald in Scotland.

  • joe curry
    10/09/20 - 03:12

    My direct ancestors are Irish, but recently found out that there are Scottish links. Possibly Clan Ranald. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Thomas Brown
    05/12/20 - 04:43

    I am the Grandson Of Gladys Francis Mac Donald , great Grandson Of Robert R. MacDonald of Nova Scotia. My father told me stories, of the tartan, and proper wearing of a kilt, but never told me, why he was telling me about it or of my family history. I have researched my history and am still learning and am proud of my family history.

  • Jerry McDonald
    18/12/20 - 00:33

    Looking to find my roots my Father Johnny Willson, Grandfather Amos Virgle McDonald, gr, gr, gr, Angus Olin McDonald
    Any help with clan thanks

  • David L. MacDonald
    24/12/20 - 02:13

    I am trying to locate any information that I can regarding a Patrick McDonald or Mac Donald Born in North Uist, Inverness Shire1728 and died in 1801 in Nova Scotia Canada. He traveled to Ireland and was married there to Elizabeth McLeod and later flight with the English military in the revolutionary war later retiring in nova Scotia Canada

  • Julie Ann Clark
    03/01/21 - 11:02

    Trying to trace family from Isle of Skye. Any information on Archibald McDonald b1806 d1850 at Uig. I’ve hit a dead end in tracing family history. Please email any information.

    Thanks so much!!

  • Carolyn Wright
    17/01/21 - 12:50

    my grandfather was Charles Joseph McDonald 0f the Glencoe McDonalds at a guess born around 1888 place of birth not known I am trying to trace my family history.

  • Tonya Fetty
    18/01/21 - 21:46

    Im currently on My … trying to find more information about my ancestors (John Mcdonald b-1870in Ohio according to the 1910 census records he lived at 810 second ave. Dayton ward 2 Campbell, Kentucky ) In Ireland, Scotland, England,
    isle of Man,UK North Western European & Finland, I’d be beyond grateful for any help into finding Information about my ancestors, living or non living relatives my email is [email protected]

  • Angharad Donald
    21/01/21 - 00:17

    As a girl from Swansea who has never met anyone outside my immediate family with the surname Donald I love reading about Donald history. And I was always told “Never trust a Campbell” no offence to any Campbell’s lol.

  • Cory Alexander cate
    28/01/21 - 19:45

    I would like to get in touch with my clan. Can I get some help?

  • Amanda Morrison
    01/02/21 - 07:13

    I assume the Morrisons were aligned with the MacDonalds, as my husband also grew up with the line “Never trust a Campbell” (spoken with a mock Scottish accent by the NZ family).

  • Innis MacDonald
    11/02/21 - 23:21

    my father belongs to the clan and I was born in Australia loved finding out about our history and egger to find out more

  • Shirley Macdonald
    22/02/21 - 17:13

    From the isle of skye can of Macdonald. You may have heard of my father, grandfather n great grandfather. We go way back to the vikings . Would love to hear from any relative wanting to know more x

  • Graham Evan MacDonell
    05/03/21 - 04:26

    I am a professional genealogist specializing in Clan Donald. IF you ahve any inquiries, like the ones on this page, please contact me at: [email protected] and I will help you to find your ancestors as I have the three volume Clan Donald as a helpful resource. I did my post-graduate at the University of Strathclyde in 2007-08 in Genealogy, Heraldry and Paleography. Graham Evan MacDonell, Abbotsford, B.C. Canada

  • Martin Lawton
    12/03/21 - 11:41

    Hi after myself and my sister have been tracing our family back in time and having our DNA test. We have found out our great great great grand mother was Mary Macdonald . The family tree seems to connect us with Flora Macdonald /Alexander Alasdair Mor Macdonald /Allan Vll Kingburg Macdonald / Angus Macdonald / Anne Macdonald and Marcella Macdonald. My sister said that the DNA was 24% Scottish connected. Mary Ann Macdonald who was our great great great grandmother was born 1856 – 1927 I wounded if any could help us in anyway to see it this is true. Thank for your help. Martin John Lawton.
    Email address is [email protected]

  • margaret Altink-MacDonald
    12/03/21 - 15:26

    My family come from Eoropie. Isle of Lewis and I am still in touch with cousins. We come through our grandparents Johan MacDonald and Millie Morrison. I spoke Gaelic when I was young and apart from a few words have lost it. I want a course on the computer that would help me start learning the language again. Any video help with the pronunciation would be helpful too. I am in Bruges, Belgium.

  • Mary Wright
    03/04/21 - 07:00

    Innis l would love to get in touch with you my GgUncle Roderick Macdonald came to Melbourne from Kinlochkewe. My grandmother immigrated to New Zealand from Gairloch in 1912. Am in touch with a cousin in Poolewee l live in Margate north of Brisbane and would love to find some of my relatives here. Email address [email protected].

  • Jerry
    17/09/21 - 14:11

    I am looking for any information on a McDonald Family living in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA in the late 1800’s – Early 1900’s.. Jeramiah McDonald. They were neighbors of the James. C, Cullen Family who were definitely traceable back as “Jacobites” emigrating from Limerick, Ireland in the 1860’s.. .. Same generation and West Stockbridge was a very small village at the time… I suspect a relationship tracing back to the Battle of Cullondon where “Jacobite” – “Bonnie” Prince Charlie was aided by a McDonald.

  • Susan Thomas
    03/10/21 - 18:55

    The name Donaldson is on my Dad’s side. Grandfather, father and brother have Donaldson as their middle name. Have the name, Scott on some research back to 1700’s. Have more info if needed.
    Thanks! Appreciate any help!

  • Faye Barnes
    03/10/21 - 20:47

    I am reaching out to see if anyone may be either related to me or is able to offer some assistance. My family name is Barnes and I understand they were part of Clan MacDonald. If anyone is able to or would be kind enough to offer some advice/assistance to an old lady who would truly appreciate finding her family history mysteries, please contact me! With much hope and appreciation, Faye Barnes

  • Lissia baun
    05/10/21 - 14:10

    My 4 gg grandfather was a McClendon as well as my 5 gg grandad..

  • Anne Breust
    09/10/21 - 06:34

    Hello Clansmen (and women).
    I was told that our McDonald people were rescued after the Glencoe Massacre and were taken to the Isle of Coll. I have traced back to Roderick McDonald born 1745 on Coll but haven’t found his parents. His grandparent probably came from Glencoe. Roderick married Sarah Maclean. Any help would be appreciated thank you. Anne in Canberra Australia

  • Corinna Donald
    02/12/21 - 12:12

    All my family on my dads side are Donald I’m very interested in this I have books on our clan it’s very nice to no there are so many of us out there

  • Jo-an Bryson
    05/12/21 - 05:26

    I have been researching all the different groups of MacDonalds for years. I am on back to Somerled. My handle on is All our families, you are more than welcome to look, join, help.

  • Brian Howell
    14/12/21 - 16:01

    My wife is a MacDonald, her grandfather won the MC for conspicuous gallantry with the Seaforth Highlanders in 1917.
    Her ancestors were militaristic in the extreme, several were killed at Culloden. one was hung in Carlisle. She has distant female links with Glencoe and beyond, MacDonalds married into other clans like the Grants and Stewarts, and between MacDonald clans. I believe the last Laird (19th) of Glencoe was colonel Alexander James J MacDonald 1829 to 1889. He served in the Crimea at the battles of the Alma and Inkerman, where he was severely wounded. A private was left behind to guard him but MacDonald ordered him to save himself. He had to retire due to 19 wounds and died in a boarding house in 1889.( I have a photograph of him if anyone is intersted)

    I am not Scottish myself but I understand through my wife the family loyalty. With numerous tartans the MacDonalds have a worldwide loyalty and singular pride which I admire,
    I was once told off for buying Campbells Soup. Long memories you Scots.

  • David Walker
    15/01/22 - 11:05

    My 9th gt grandad was John Moor he died 13 February 1692 in Glen Coe.I know at least one of his sons Samuel Moor escaped the massacre to Northern Ireland and then to Londonderry, Rockingham,New Hampshire USA

  • Stacey G White
    21/01/22 - 16:39

    My grandmother was a McConnell from County Down Ireland and my Great Great father was also a McConnell from that area. I do believe from there my family goes way back to Scotland and then after about three hundred years, Normans. I believe I am a part of Clan Donald through the McConnells.

  • Tamara J Mac Donald
    13/02/22 - 22:34

    I love my last name it is sign of reception for me and my family!!! Love Tamara Jeannette MacDonald

  • julian foynes
    09/03/22 - 09:43

    All I can claim by way of Highland-Island Scottish ancestry is one McDougall great grandmother, though I also have Gaelic-speaking forbears from the west coast of Ireland. But I have had a big interest in Clan Donald since reading about the Glencoe massacre and visiting Armadale on Skye 30 years ago. There is something almost magical about the blend of history, legend, Gaelic language and culture, landscape and seascape on that part of Scotland’s west coast.
    “It is no joy without Clan Donald”!

  • John sanders
    02/06/22 - 00:51

    I am a descendent of the McDonald clan I have a complete family history from John the black all the way to present day it’s very informative if anybody is interested of descendants of Glengary Castle clan Raven of the rock I have some great history that I can share send me an email

  • Linda Banks
    06/07/22 - 08:53

    Tracing the history but ran into a dead end when the McDonnell’s came to America. Any information about the family would be of great value.

  • Reginald MacDonald
    23/07/22 - 13:48

    I am a ClanRanald of “Moidart / Morar ” MacDonald’s and the tree is somewhat like this with info from The Book of Clan Donald Pages 251-254 : Starting with Scotland, our direct descendants Dugall Macranald MacDonald, 6th Chief of Clanranald and Moidart, (his son) Allan MacDonald 1st of Morar, (his son) Alexander MacDonald 2nd of Morar, (his son) John MacDonald 1st of Laig, (his son) Lachlan MacDonald 2nd of Laig, Eigg, Scotland (his Son) Major Ranald MacDonald Eigg, Scotland (his son) Donald MacDonald Eigg, Scotland (his son) Angus “Pioneer” MacDonald Judique, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (his Son) Colin MacDonald (his son) Michael MacDonald (his son) James Colin “Capt.” MacDonald (his son) James Colin Jr. (his son) Reginald “Reg” MacDonald and that is me Page 264 “Fair Is The Place”. So Pioneer Angus arrived here in 1791 on board the ship Dunkeld with his sister Janet (MacDonald) MacDougall and 3 brothers John “Pioneer” MacDonald, Rory “Ban” MacDonald and Donald “Pioneer” MacDonald…So whoever is related to this “Bogainn” MacDonald family as they were called are related to me. Bogainn in gaelic means “Seafaring People” named after the “bog an lochain” water bird . How true my whole family pretty much survived from the sea.

    Major Ranald, son Donald MacDonald,
    Donald’s sons Angus, Rorry and John Documented in the book of Lost Ancestors a census done by Neill McNeill 1764-65 of Small Isles Parish, Inner Hebrides Eigg, Muck Rum & Canna on pages 19 & 15 Eigg census. This census was lost in the archives for 200 years.

    Would like to hear from some of our distance relatives over in Scotland.

  • Jay Paul McDonald
    05/08/22 - 18:03

    Jay McDonald SR & Jay Paul McDonald 11, owned and operated McDonald Brothers Company, a Memphis based, 5 state, wholesale major tv & appliance distributor ship for 50 years founded in 1942. The company earned numerous prestigious awards for performance & enjoyed close relationships with over 750 customers, many of who were first established in business by the McDonalds.

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