A sept is a family name that can be related to a clan or larger family for various reasons. Usually this came about either through marriage or by a small family seeking protection from a larger and more powerful neighbour. Nowadays, this relationship is most often seen in the clan tartan that individual families are entitled to wear.
Over time, many septs have become clans in their own right and, in the political turmoil that Scotland has seen over the centuries, many others came to be related to more than one clan.
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. The main family itself may have developed a variety of surnames. Some suggest that the preferred modern usage is to avoid the use of the term “sept” and to simply describe these names as what thay are – surnames of the family and of allied or dependent families. It is preferable to speak of “The names and families of Clan X” rather to call a name “a sept of Clan X”. “Sept” is actually a term borrowed from Irish culture in the nineteenth century to explain the use of a variety of surnames by members of a single clan. Where Scots would say “MacGregor and his clan” and Irish historian might say “O’Neill and his sept”.
The following names are associated with Clan Cameron: