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Thread: Clan tartan

  1. #1
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    Clan tartan

    Hello.
    I am unable to find my wife's tartan. (McDille, it's now just Dill after the family move to the USA in the 1850's)
    Is there a tartan that's universal like black watch that would appropriate to wear?
    From what I read, pretty much any tartan could be used, save for military tartans.
    I'm not sure what part of Scotland the family originated.
    Thanks and kilt on!
    Mark C

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    Clan sept

    Looks like MacDill are a sept of Clan MacDougall

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  4. #3
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    Yes, possibly, if they are from the area around Oban.

    Please be very careful about the so called "Sept Lists". Many are totally bogus. Very few are compiled by the Clan Chief and each Chief may decide for their own what and who they accept. And they have been known to change their minds or reverse a previous Chief's lists.

    This stuff is not as cut and dry as some would wish it to be. It is far less about what last name you carry. It is much more about where, the area, that your people come from.

    The vast majority of Scots are not, and never were, within or under the Highland Clan system.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  6. #4
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    I am no expert, and as an American whose Scottish antecedents are on the female side of the family my opinions are suspect anyway , but my understanding is that Gov't No. 1 (current tartan of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, derived from the original Black Watch) is considered a universal tartan, and can be worn by anyone. I could be wrong, but I heard this here years ago.

    I also remember seeing someone post a story about how HM George V once said that tartan was about clan and family, and since he considered the British people his family he was of the opinion that any Briton who could claim no tartan of his own could wear Royal Stewart as a member of his extended family. By extension, one would assume anyone with British ancestry would be similarly entitled.

    Of course, on this side of the Pond you can probably get away with wearing whatever you'd like.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarK C View Post
    Hello.
    I am unable to find my wife's tartan. (McDille, it's now just Dill after the family move to the USA in the 1850's)
    Is there a tartan that's universal like black watch that would appropriate to wear?
    From what I read, pretty much any tartan could be used, save for military tartans.
    I'm not sure what part of Scotland the family originated.
    Thanks and kilt on!
    Mark C
    I think that you best bet is to try and figure out where Mr. McDille came from, like Steve said. That will at least give you a starting point for your search.

    That being said, universal tartans are always an option and there are a lot of them these days. Some have history (like royal stewart or black watch), some have modern affiliation (like the unofficial US military tartans), and some just look great (like Isle of Skye).
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

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  10. #6
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    Thanks guys
    MarK C

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    Very interesting.
    I just googled MacDougall, and I have a couple of plaid shirts just like it. Hmm.
    Thanks for sharing.
    MarK C

  12. #8
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    Tartans and Sept lists

    In modern Scotland we take a fairly sceptical view of sept lists and a liberal view of who can wear which tartan - a subject on which much pious but well-meaning nonsense was written in the early 20th century. I am one of the million or so Scots and their worldwide descendants surnamed after one of the towns in Lanarkshire and I know of and claim no clan affinity - I wear a selection of tartans which I find aesthetically pleasing - and I would say the majority of Scots do the same except for the minority whose surname actually has a clan tartan - and even then I know guys who simply don't like their clan's tartan and choose to wear another.

    Regarding Macdougall - and I have an Ancient Macdougall kilt - I'd be very dubious of a clan affinity as the Macdougall's were an unfortunate clan who suffered persecution after persecution, many of their survivors fleeing the Highlands an settling in Lowland towns under assumed names. While McDill, MacDill or McDille might be a corrupted or disguised spelling which would be good grounds for affinity, an affinity with MacDowall is equally plausible on those grounds.

    As an aside, in 60 years in Scotland I've never known or known of anyone with that name although I have known several people surnamed Dill.

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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Bee View Post
    While McDill, MacDill or McDille might be a corrupted or disguised spelling which would be good grounds for affinity, an affinity with MacDowall is equally plausible on those grounds.
    Especially as Black's The Surnames of Scotland states that MacDill is "One of many old spellings of MacDowall"

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