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Clans and Families of Ireland and Scotland
An Ethnography of the Gael A.D. 500 - 1750
C. Thomas Cairney, Ph.D,


I am indebted to a number of people who have had a formative influence on this book, among them Tom Johnson, Valene Smith and Lowell Stratton at the California State University, Chico; Dan Crowley at the University of California, Davis, and Gilbert Youmans at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Thanks also go to John Foley, Ed Tyler and Sarah Feeny at the University of Missouri, Columbia, for introducing me to oral-formulaic theory, and for recommending books and articles on the subject. A special thanks is due to Connie Reece, also of the University of Missouri, who read the book in proof, and converted many awkward Cairney-isms into readable prose while struggling through the difficult Gaelic spellings in Part II. Finally, thanks is due to Art Lehmann, California State University, Chico, who introduced me to anthropology and inspired me with its possibilities as a tool for understanding cultural continuities past and present. This book is a direct result of that inspiration.

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Copyright © 1989 C. Thomas Cairney
Provided online at Electric Scotland with the kind permission of the author

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Table of Contents


Part One

I. The Identity of the Gaels
II. Gaelic Society
III. The Coming of Gaeldom
La Llegada del Gaelismo
IV. The Kingdom of the Picts:
Christianity, Paganism and the Making of Gaelic Scotland

Part Two

V. Tribal Nomenclature
VI. The Cruithne
VII. The Erainn
VIII. The Laigin
IX. The Gaels
X. The Vikings and Normans

Appendix I: The Coats of Arms
Appendix II: A List of Surnames
Abbot - Bohannon | Bohannon - Cattanach | Cavan - Cunnagher | Currie - Elder
Elder - Geary | Georgeson - Haldane | Haldane - Kealaghan | Keane - Lanigan
Landers - MacAulay | MacAuliffe - MacClymont | MacCoghlan - MacDonnell
MacDonagh - MacGlashan | MacGlasrich - MacIndeor | MacInerney - MacLamond
MacLaren - MacNair | MacNally - MacShane | MacShanly - Marnoch | Martin - Nicholson
Nolan - O'Connor | O'Connor - O'Finnegan | O'Finnegan - O'Kennedy | O'Kiernan - O'Quin
O'Quin - Reynolds | Rice - Taggart | Taggart - Yunie


Abernethy - Fitzmaurice | Fitzpatrick - MacCorquodale | MacCostello - Mentieth 
Menzies - O’Heaney | O’Heffernan - Spens | Steuart, (Stuart) - Wemyss, (Weems)

Note: The Index is hyperlinked to let you easily find the page you are looking for!



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