The Septs


From the personal name of Charles, popularized by Charles I of whom the MacKenzies were staunch supporters. The Gaelic name for Charles is ‘Tearlach’ and the Clan Tarlichs were ancient inhabitants of Kintail, land of the MacKenzies. Alexander, William and Oliver Charles lived in Gairth, Evie Orkney in 1649. (16 ml NW of Kirkwall). Aychin Carlichsoun was witness to a promise by the Earl of Ross in 1439.



Early Orkney surname, found mostly nowadays in South Ronaldshay. (Most southerly island of Orkneys except Pentland Skerries). William de Crumbacy was a valet to John, Earl of Caithness in 1291. The sept of the Mackenzies probably came from Cromarty (Ross and Cromarty) where the Mackenzies owned much land.



The O’Beolains of Ross (the name shows up later as “MacBeolain”) were known by the Gaelic epithet Mac GiolIa Aindreis: “descendants of the servant of St. Andrew.” With a mutual early ancestor, MacBeolain can in fact be considered a sept of the Mackenzies.


Son of Ivar. From the Norse personal name Ivarr. The progenitor of this sept was Ivor, son of Duncan, Lord of Lochow in the time of King Malcolm IV. Some MacIvors settled in Wester Ross during the 13th century and followed the MacKenzies of Seaforth.

Terlach McEuar was a witness in Carnassary (In Kilmartin parish) in 1436. In 1745 Evander McKiver was a shoemaker in Elgin.


Galwegian surnames. From the Gaelic ‘MacCionaodha’ son of Cionaodh. Same origin as MacKenzie. William M’Kinnay was a witness in Wigtownshire in 1544. Ferguhard M’Kynnie was left lands in Bute in 1662.



Galloway surnames, forms of MacWhinnie and as such variants of MacKenzie. In Galloway MacKenzie is pronounced M’Whunye. In 1502 Thomas M’Quhinze was a clergyman in Ayr. Donald Makguhinze followed the Earl of Cassilis and was reprieved for murder in 1526. (4 ml NE Maybole, 6 ml S of Ayr).


From Gaelic ‘MacMhurchaidh’ son of Murdoch. Followers of the Mackenzies of Seaforth. Col. Donald Murchison, commissioner to William Earl of Seaforth, was the leader of the Mackenzies against the Hanoverian Government in 1719 to 1726. Fowill Morthioson was an Inverness burgess in 1452. Duncan Murchy followed the Earl of Cassilis and was reprieved for murder in 1526.



The Clan has made its first solicitation among some of the very few names that are listed as septs of the Clan Mackenzie. One of these is the name of Smart.

The first place we look at in this context is the bible of Scottish surnames – “The Surnames of Scotland – Their Origin, Meaning and History” by Dr George F. Black. This huge work, first pub- lished in 1946 is a handbook we always carry with us at Highland Games in Ontario. Because of the exhaustive nature of Dr Black’s research, it is possible to identify where and when surnames first appeared in Scotland – and when.

Here is an extract of Black’s identification of the name “Smart”:
Smert is the common pronunciation of the name in Scotland. John Smert, a Scot, was charges with breaking his parole in 1358, and William Smert was tenant in Telny in the barony of Abirdoure, Fife in 1376. Henry Smert, Scotsman, prisoner of war, was released to find ransom for himself and others in 1422. John Smert was a citizen of Brechin in 1452, another John Smert, ‘hus- band,’was a witness in 1481, and Johannes Smert held land in Kintore in 1488. William Smart, burgess of Tain, was fined for reset of members of outlawed Clan Gregor, 1612. There were fam- ilies of this name at Muresk and Tollochin in sixteenth century, native tanners.

There is only one reference above of any of these people liv- ing in MacKenzie territory and that is the burgess of Tain. So we went to the 1841 census summary which lists only the heads of families to see if there were any Smarts living in the county of Ross and Cromarty; after all that is where most of the MacKenzies came from and that is the county that the clan dominated.

Indeed there were a number of families of the sept Smart and the interesting thing is that all of them were in Easter Ross in 1841 and there were none at all in the west or the Isle of Lewis.

The following heads of families named Smart were found in these parishes in Easter Ross:

Logie Easter – 3

Nigg – 1

Tain – 3

Tarbat – 4

Cromarty – 1

Fearn – 2

This is interesting as it strongly indicates that these families were all related to one another since they all lived relatively close to one another. Note also that there are three families of Smarts in Tain and it is more than likely they were related to the man men- tioned in Black’s “Surnames of Scotland”.

Quite coincidentally many of these parishes mentioned are the ones my McKenzie family come from. Any member of the Smart family tracing their roots would almost certainly find in their family trees the names of Mackenzie, Munro and Ross. All these names were dominant in Easter Ross. – Alan McKenzie


This name probably derives from the Gaelic tuathachmeaning “northern”. A branch of Clan MacKenzie living in Lochaber in the 18th century were known there as na Tuathaich (the Northerners), and their likely progenitors were the Ewne McEane Tuich and Johne McEane Tuich who appear in 1598 as followers of Cameron of Locheil. They were probably sons of the John Towach Hectoursone who was imprisoned and murdered by John MacKenzie of Kintail in 1550, along with his brother Iain Glassich. It’s not clear why a son of Hector of Gairloch would have been called Tuach, but it’s possible he acquired the nickname in Lochaber having gone there – perhaps with his sons who later settled there – to join Lochiel in his struggles against the Macintoshes, who John MacKenzie of Kintail had been directed by the Crown to help suppress in 1532. The clan histories tell us that John Tuoach Mac Heachin Roy was the Laird of Davochpollo in the parish of Fodderty, and that his only son – or the only one known in the north – died without legitimate heirs, though he had an illegitimate son who married and had children. He, or cousins returning from Lochaber, may have been the progenitors of the Tuachs who were prominent in Easter Ross in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, when one branch of the sept were Lairds of Logiereich in the parish of Urquhart & Logie Wester.

Variations of Mackenzie

There are several variations in the spelling of the name Mackenzie: MacKenzie, McKenzie, Macenzie, McEnzie, Makenzie, MaKenzie, M’Kenzie, Kenny, Kenney, MacKenny, MacKenney, McKenny, McKenney, Mackinzie, McKinzie, MacKinney, McKinney. They are accepted as Septs or variations of the Mackenzie Clan name. It is thought that in centuries past the local Monk or Minister who could read and write was the one who decided on the spelling of people’s names when entering Baptism, Marriage or Burial records. When writing an unfamiliar name, likely it was written as it sounded and misspellings would often occur especially when the informant had a strong accent.