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Clan Donnachaidh Society History

The Society was formed in 1893 by clansfolk bearing the surnames Robertson, Reid, Duncan, Stark..., some 43 septs in all, who thought it worthwhile to join to establish and maintain the spirit of the old clan system. The Society is also involved in the preservation of Clan relics and Clan history, in mutual aid between clansfolk, and in assistance, generally by means of benevolent funds.

The word clan comes from the Gaelic clann, meaning children or family, and Donnachaidh means Duncan. The first Chief of the Clan was Duncan of Atholl, who commanded a force of 2,000 volunteer militia at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The Clach na Brataich, or Stone of the Standard, was carried by Duncan and is on display in the Clan Museum at Bruar Falls in Perthshire.


The name Robertson was taken to honor the fourth Chief, Robert, who captured the murderers of King James in 1437, and who subsequently endowed all future clansfolk with a crest portraying a hand supporting an Imperial Crown. Except for Royalty, no one else in Europe is permitted to display an Imperial Crown as a crest.

Worldwide, there are 11 million members of the Clan Donnachaidh. In 1969, the Clan House and Museum was opened at Bruar Falls, Blair Atholl in Perthshire, at a cost of 25,000 pounds. Schomberg Scott designed the buildings. Outside flies the Standard of our Chief, 12 feet long, depicting the Wolves’ Heads from the 12th Century, the Clan plant badge, the bracken, the motto Virtutis Gloria Merces (Glory is the Reward of Valor), and the slogan Garg’n uair Dhuisgear (Fierce when roused).

In modern administration, the Society is second to no other and has branch organizations in Atholl, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, many regions of America, and New Zealand. In quantity of surnames, the name Robertson is the fourth most common in Scotland and when added to the septs, such as Reid and Duncan, forms one of the largest Clans in Scotland. It is almost inevitable then that the Clan Donnachaidh Society has the largest Clan organization in Europe.

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