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A sept is an English word for a division of a family, especially of a Scottish or Irish family. The word may derive from the Latin saeptum, meaning "enclosure" or "fold", or via an alteration of "sect".
The variety of surnames within a Scottish clan do not represent separate and definable sub-clans but instead reflect the vagaries of transition of the Gaels into the English naming system as well as marriages, migrations and occupations.
There are two types of septs, the first is clansmen of the clan who were related by blood or marriage and formed separate divisions. Second, where individuals and groups who looked for, and got, the protection of the clan.
The preferred modern method of detailing clan related surnames is now Associated Family Names, which were once called Septs. The founder of Clan MacTavish in Knapdale was Taviss Mor Mhic macCalumn, or, Tavis the Great son of Calumn (or simply Tavis Coir 1) in 12th century Argyll.
* The Leasks are a separate clan with their own chief, Dr Jonathan Leask of that Ilk. They are included here because of the long standing connection to the Hays through a Bond of Manrent executed in the 15th century between Leask of that Ilk and the Earl of Erroll.
13th August 2001. The difference between clans, families and septs is the source of many questions as is the question phrased in one way or another, which asks, "to which clan do I belong".
* BALL: - Ball Family Records Ball families of Great Britain, Ireland and America By Rev William Ball Wright, M.A. (York, 1908) - FHB - copies in Linen Hall Library, Belfast; Dublin City Library
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun. Lil B is giving free verses to all artist from Huston Texas for sept - Lil B Kacey Musgraves volunteered by answering phones during a Red Cross donation telethon Tuesday.
ARTHUR, MACARTAIR, MACARTHUR, MACCARTER . The name Arthur is a Celtic one - of ancient Briton origin, Artos meaning a bear. Its most famous holder was Arthur, a leader of the Britons in the fight against the Anglo-Saxons around the year 500.
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