Being a Lamont isn’t about the name, it’s about the blood.
In timing with Scott Turner’s discussion around Septs this past AGM I thought it appropriate to republish an article featured in THW from 2014. Septs are always a popular topic when trying to understand how we fit in the historical picture. Enjoy and feel free to engage in the discussion.
I was moved to write this article after a recent email exchange with a member who was suffering from what I like to call “Septophobia”. I define Septophobia as a condition where someone feels inferior due to their Sept name. More specifically, the fact that they are not a Lamont in name makes them feel as though they don’t really belong. The fact is that the majority of us who claim kinship with the Clan Lamont do not bear the Lamont surname. Most bear what is called a “sept” name while even more bear non-traditional names acquired through marriage both recent and in the past. Does that make those not bearing the name Lamont any less entitled to be Clansfolk? Not at all. It never did in the past and it certainly doesn’t mean that now. Clans are like any other family where blood relatives often have different names. So if you are thinking that you are somehow less entitled because you are of a sept, I leave you with the immortal words of Hector McKechnie, “Within a generation the clan will only live in it’s septs and branches.”
That answers that question. He wrote that line in 1935 in his authoritative history of The Clan Lamont. Fast forward almost 80 years and it couldn’t be more true. The “Clan” exists because “We” exist and evolution in our thinking is necessary for it’s growth and survival.
Branches, Colonies, and Septs
Since the time of Chief’s, Cadets and Barons in our Clan there have been Branch’s and Septs. The branches were the colonies of Lamonts in the world (other than the lairds). The septs are those not Lamont by name, yet within the Clan Laomainn. The so-called Lamont diaspora of our modern age is not a recent phenomenon and has actually been growing since the 14th and 15th centuries.
We know from record that there were Lambs in England around 1700, Land(l)esses in Paisley, and Mclnturners or Turners in Luss of Loch Lomond . There were Lamonts in France in 1460 (afterwards Barons de Lamont). In 1483 there is record of them in the Braes of Mar, later kenned as Mcllleduies or Blacks. From 1507 there were Lamonts in Skye, and from 1539 in Ayrshire. About the Reformation they are said to have gone to Tiree, and in 1582 again to France and to Holland. They fled from the Diarmaids to Mullin 1646. Buchanan of Auchmar recorded in 1723 that these were assumed as septs—the “McLucases or Lukes, Mclnturners or Turners, McAlduies or Blacks, Mcllwhoms, and Towarts.”
The Sept names we use today are pulled from that same recorded history largely in part to the work of the before mentioned Mr McKechnie. It’s impossible to say how many Septs are actually missing from record.
The Sept names branded Lamont that we all have known have stood for a very long time with a little update here and there. In order to either expand upon or attempt to update what we know would take a team of dedicated researchers not to mention decades. If I may quote Mr. McKechnie just one more time…
For these folk (Septs) to be treated as they ought is beyond the capacity of an individual. Seven-leagued boots would he need in his researches, and time must stand still for him to write.
We may never get to the bottom of it through research. In the end it may take science. Anthrogenealogy is the science of genealogy by genetics; especially utilizing molecular biology to trace a lineage beyond the limits of historical records. Y-DNA can assist family historians by showing the path of a lineage to connect unknown family members by comparing specific regions of the DNA we inherited from our fathers.
DNA surname studies are based on Y-chromosome DNA, which is possessed only by males. It is passed from fathers to sons virtually unchanged over hundreds of years. Therefore, direct participants in DNA surname studies necessarily must be males. Direct participants in our particular study, that is, people who are actually tested, must be males either: carrying the Lamont or Sept surname descended directly in an unbroken male-to-male line from a Lamont or Sept surnamed male.
The Rest Of Us
What about the rest of us? For those who have a relationship through a grandparent or more distant relative it’s still good old fashioned research. I couldn’t help wondering though, “What would our surname grouping would look like if we incorporated all we do know today?” By that I mean, if we included all of today’s surnames of connected traditional families or not. The cloud below shows the dominate names for the entire CLSNA member base (2014 Data). The larger names represent the highest number of members with that surname with the smaller ones the least. You can compare this chart with the traditional cloud on the top image and make some interesting conclusions. Brown tops the list both times in terms of traditional connections and current naming.
I don’t have a set of the “Seven-leagued” boots but I think with a little effort we might learn more about how people are connected.