Septs & Tartans
Septs: Associated Family Names of Clan MacFarlane:
Septs are sub-groups or families bearing different surnames within a clan. There are several ways that such a name-change could happen: (NB – these are listed in no particular order)
- a man from outside the clan marries a woman in the clan, and they live on land that has passed to her through inheritance;
- “broken” or landless men given lands to support themselves;
- a man within the clan becomes known by a by-name (nick-name) and his children continue to use the by-name rather than the original surname;
- some members of the clan choose to follow a particular member of the chiefly family, and adopt his baptismal name as their surname;
- “natural” children could be given the father’s name, rather than the clan name.
MacFarlane comes into being because Gaelic grammar requires changes within a word to show possession. A “P” is softened to a “Ph”, and an “i” is added to the last syllable. In this way, “son of Parlan” comes from “Mac” (son) “Pharlain” (of Parlan). All the variant spellings came about when scribes (usually not Gaelic speaking) tried to write the name as they heard it. No variants of MacPharlain are shown as they are derived from the clan’s name.
The following is a partial list of the surnames associated with Clan MacFarlane. To conserve space, only Mac forms are shown. Mc and M’ are scribal abbreviations, and therefore should be considered as included. All spellings derivable from the names and variants shown below should be considered as included also.
An asterisk (*) after a name indicates that the name is associated with other clans, or are separate clans unto themselves. Further genealogical research would be appropriate.
Tartan is a living textile art form that began in the Highlands of Scotland about the same time that Europeans discovered both their own minority cultures and the New World. Over the centuries the ” Pride o’ Tartan” has grown while the exodus of Scots to new homes throughout the world continues even today. Millions throughout the world look to Scotland as their point of cultural heritage. Tartan is the living, visible symbol of this identification.
Tartans of the Clan MacFarlane
The Modern tartan is a general use tartan. This tartan in its different forms of “ancient” and “muted and weathered” can be used for all occasions, whereas the Hunting tartan in all of its forms is generally used for “everyday” wear. However, to wear the hunting tartan for semi formal occasions would probably not be inappropriate as it is a favorite of many MacFarlanes.
The MacFarlane ‘Dress Tartan” (World Register 659) is a handsome tartan of white background with blue and red over stripes. Dress tartans are designed for fancy dress occasions. Remember that almost all of the tartans we know of today were the designs of the Victorian Scottish Weavers developed during the1800′s. They were not worn during the time of William Wallace or Robert the Bruce. The MacFarlane “Black and White” is probably an “Evening Sett”, the dress form of the Lendrum-MacFarlane Clan Tartan (The MacFarlane Black and Red (World Register 1190)). Although often referred to as a mourning sett it has none of the characteristics of this sett, i.e. dark background with a white over stripe. The brightness of the sett would probably make it a little bold for a funeral. This tartan may have been worn by women as an arisaid, a type of cloak worn by women from the 17th to the 19th century, but the pattern would have been much larger and brighter.
The reasons for the names “Modern” and “Ancient” involves a bit of history. During Victorian times, it was stylish to use very dark dyes, where the blues were almost black, the greens were forest-green instead of kelly-green, and so on. This made for some very somber tartans and also made recognition harder in many cases. When they finally decided to use lighter colors, however, they came up with the following reason: They argued that the old dyes and darker colors could not have been produced in the “old days”, so they called the lighter, more natural colors “ancient” and the darker colors “modern”. As these tartans probably did not exist in the “old days” this becomes an exercise in good marketing. Whatever tartan you choose wear it with pride as you are a member of the MacFarlane Family.ld days”, so they called the lighter, more natural colors “ancient” and the darker colors “modern”. As these tartans probably did not exist in the “old days” this becomes an exercise in good marketing. Whichever tartan you choose, wear it with pride.
Our Next Gathering starts in,…
Radford Highlanders Festival | Clan MacFarlane Hospitality Tent | Radford, Virginia • USA
Seaside Highland Games – Clan MacFarlane Hospitality Tent – Ventura, CA USA
Scots on the Rocks, Moab Celtic Festival | Clan MacFarlane Hospitality Tent | Moab, Utah • USA
YEARS SINCE FOUNDING
Are You Ready?
The Clan MacFarlane Society, Inc. is an educational, secular, non-profit society formed to promote the perpetuation of Gaelic-Scottish culture, customs, and traditions. You can help preserve our proud history by joining today. When you join the Clan Macfarlane Society, Inc. you may begin to feel a personal bond with the other members who have made the link between their modern lives and their heritage.
Membership is open to persons eighteen years of age or older, bearing the surname MacFarlane in any of its various forms and spellings, or of any of the family Sept names of the Clan MacFarlane, by birthright or descent from paternal or maternal lineage, or by marriage. Eligibility for Society membership shall not be denied due to race, creed, color, sex, orientation or national origin.