Land dating

, "children") is a kinship group among the Scottish people.Clans give a sense of shared identity and descent to members, and in modern times have an official structure recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon, which regulates Scottish heraldry and coats of arms.except when a married woman takes that of her husband's surname, and then on to her children.Children who take their father's surname are part of their father's clan and not their mother's.

Contrary to popular belief, the ordinary clansmen rarely had any blood tie of kinship with the clan chiefs, but they took the chief's surname as their own when surnames came into common use in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.The clan is considered to be the chief's heritable estate and the chief's Seal of Arms is the seal of the clan as a "noble corporation".Under Scots law, the chief is recognised as the head of the clan and serves as the lawful representative of the clan community.According to the former Lord Lyon, Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, a clan is a community that is distinguished by heraldry and recognised by the Sovereign.Learney considered clans to be a "noble incorporation" because the arms borne by a clan chief are granted or otherwise recognised by the Lord Lyon as an officer of the Crown, thus conferring royal recognition of the entire clan.Claimants to the title of chief are expected to be recognised by the Lord Lyon as the rightful heir to the undifferenced arms of the ancestor of the clan of which the claimant seeks to be recognized as chief.A chief of a clan is the only person who is entitled to bear the undifferenced arms of the ancestral founder of the clan.However, there have been several cases where a descendant through the maternal line has changed their surname in order to claim the chiefship of a clan, such as the late chief of the Clan Mac Leod who was born John Wolridge-Gordon and changed his name to the maiden name of his maternal grandmother in order to claim the chiefship of the Mac Leods. Septs are surnames, families or clans that historically, currently or for whatever reason the chief chooses, are associated with that clan.There is no official list of clan septs, and the decision of what septs a clan has is left up to the clan itself.Many clans have their own clan chief; those that do not are known as armigerous clans.Clans generally identify with geographical areas originally controlled by their founders, sometimes with an ancestral castle and clan gatherings, which form a regular part of the social scene.