Clan Donald

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: Scottish_Clans MacDonald
This page has been accessed 1,524 times.

Scotland Project > Scottish Clans > Clan Donald


Welcome to Clan Donald

Although the Clan of the MacDonalds it is always referred to as "Clan Donald"

Clan MacDonald Team
Team Leader Andrew Macdonald
Team MembersTom Calvert, Cindy May, Deborah Compton
Clan Chief: Lord Godfrey MacDonald of MacDonald
Motto: Per Mare Per Terras. By Sea, By Land
Slogan/War Cry:
Historic Seat:
Plant badge:
Pipe music:
Gaelic name:

Clan Team

Team Goals

The focus of this team's work is to identify, improve and maintain profiles associated with the Chiefs and Chieftains of Clan Donald together with members bearing the name MacDonald, the related families and those recognised as families of Clan Donald.

Team To Do List

This list will be developed by the Team. If you are working on a specific task, please list it here:

  • promoting the entries of those bearing the name MacDonald on Wikitree.
  • ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
  • encouraging interest in and study of Clan Donald.


The Clan Donald does not use the word "Septs" but refers to "Families"

Clan History

Other Names Associated with the Clan

There are hundreds. Principal is MacDonald itself. The prefix is immaterial, be it Mac, Mc, or M'. MacDonnell, McDaniel (almost never MacDaniel) and MacConnell are equivalent, as are several oddball spellings of each. Donaldson is also equivalent, but few are actually of Clan Donald.

MacAlasdair/MacAlexander/MacAllister/Alexander is the senior branch, branching off before John of Islay. Not all people of those names are actually Clan Donald.

Allied Clans

Rival Clans

Clan Research and Free Space Pages

Source Material

Image Credits and Acknowledgements

Information below this line should be summarized and incorporated into this team page. Detailed information should be moved to additional Clan pages.

Clan Donald (Clan MacDonald)
Henry Lee, 1920, writes the following in History of the Clan Donald, The Families of MacDonald, McDonald and McDonnell. [1] "The most numerous and widespread of the clans, the Clan Donald is one of the families, who, while using different surnames or different methods of writing the same surname, have an identical genealogical derivation. Of these, the families of MacDonald or McDonald, and MacDonell or McDonnell, are the most important. The mode of writing is immaterial, the name is the same; they are of one stock; and the story of Clan Donald is the story of their ancestors. As told later, the Clan derived its generic name from Donald, the grandson of Somerled: and hence the name MacDonald, or son of Donald, Mac, or the Gaelic Mhic, signifying son. By abbreviating the prefix to Mc and M' many families write the name McDonald and M'Donald. The surname MacDonell, McDonnell, McDonell, and other forms and methods of writing this name, came first into use, when Aeneas MacDonald of the Glengarry branch was, in 1660, raised to the Peerage of Scotland by the title of Lord MacDonell. In the earlier chapters the family name has been written in its unabbreviated form, MacDonald, although, even in those bygone days the shorter forms of Mac were frequently used; and any record of names in Scotland of today will indicate that the prefix is quite as frequently Mc as Mac. In the case of the modern families descended from the Clan, the mode of orthography has been followed, which, from long usage, the families have rightly been in the habit of using.

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."

"The historical founder of the Family of the Isles was Somerled, Rex Insularum, for whom some writers have claimed a Norwegian origin, but although the name is Norse all other circumstances point to a different conclusion. The traditions of the Clan Donald invariably represent that he descended from the ancient Pictish division of the Gael, and the early history of the Clan Cholla , the designation of the Clan prior to the time of Donald, penetrates into far antiquity. Tradition takes us back to the celebrated Irish King, Conn-Ceud Chathach, or Conn of a Hundred Fights, the hundredth "Ard Righ," or supreme King of Ireland. Conn's court was at Tara and he died in 157 A.D. The Scottish poet Ewen MacLachlan refers to this early royal ancestor of the race of Somerled."

DNA evidence has conclusively shown that all current Clan Chifs and Chieftains except Glencoe descended from John of Islay are indeed of Norse lineage. Evidence that Somerled himself was Norse comes from families named MacEachern and MacAlasdair and the MacDonalds of Ardnamurchan. The DNA profile for membership in this line is definitive.

Crest: On a crest-coronet Or, a hand in armour fessways couped at the elbow proper, holding a cross-crosslet fitchee, gules. crest
Motto: per mare per terras (by sea and land)
Slogan: "fraoch eilean" (the heathery isle)
Region: Highlands
District: Inner Hebrides & Ross
Plant badge: Common Heath (scotch heather)
Pipe music: MacDonald's Salute, March of the MacDonalds, Lament for Lord MacDonald, The Red Hands of the Macdonald.
Gaelic name: mhic domhnaill
Crest Badge Macdonald of Macdonald


Lands Tartan

Dress Ancient


Hunting Ancient

?? ?? ?? ?? ??

Clan Donald, greatest and largest of the Highland Clans, begins it's recorded history with Somerled, a descendant of Conn of the Hundred Battles and Clan Colla. Somerled's defeat of the Norse King of Man in 1156 gained independence for southwestern Scotland that survived for over four centuries.

Somerled and his descendants ruled the west coast of the Highlands and Islands and were referred to by the title "Lord of the Isles". The Lordship came came to an end in 1493 when John MacDonald forfeited his land and titles to James IV of Scotland.

Refer to MacDonald of Islay (Lord of the Isles) to see the list for early historic chiefs of Clan Donald.

Over the years the clan increased in numbers and territory and formed a number of dominant Clan branches who are, by seniority:

In 1680 Sir Donald Macdonald, 3rd Bt. of Sleat was recognised in Parliament as the Laird of Macdonald and The MacDonald of MacDonald. This was the beginning of a restoration of the title "High Chief of Clan Donald". Refer to Macdonald of Macdonald to see the list of high chiefs of Clan Donald since the restoration.

See also



Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.

Categories: Clan MacDonald