A sept is a collection of people who hold the same surname, who are descendants of the original person who took that name.

clan macthomas septs

Throughout the centuries, there were several small migrations of people from the Highlands of Scotland, but the coming of the Industrial Revolution led to many people being drawn to the big Scottish cities and from there a good number emigrated to Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA as well as to mainland Europe and other parts of the British Isles.

The range and variety of names connected to Clan MacThomas come about because people in early times were not able to read or write, let alone spell. If your name, or that of your mother, is one of the names shown in the box to the right, with the exception of Thomas and Thomson, then there is a distinct likelihood that your origins are Celtic and that your descendants came from the counties of Perthshire and Angus (and later Fife, Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire). The prefixes "Mc" and "Mac" are interchangeable.

If your surname, or that of your mother, is Thomas or Thomson, then there is possibility that your forebears are Celtic, but further research (see under Genealogy) will be required to establish where they came from. If they are Scottish, not all will have come from the above mentioned counties in Eastern Scotland.

Here are a number of pointers which may be of assistance in determining whether you are a MacThomas and eligible to apply for membership of the Clan Society:

  • MacComas is the Gaelic version of MacThomas.
  • MacOmie is only a slightly different version of McComie (from the Gaelic MacThomaidh).
  • MacOmish and McComish, similarly, are one and the same.
  • McCombie, Comb(i)e, McComb, McCombe (again all from the Gaelic MacThomaidh) are descendants of migrants who left Glenshee during the 2nd half of the 18th century and settled in Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire.
  • Thom is the most usual of the MacThomas names. Tam is the most frequent variation.
  • Thoms is peculiar to the area around Dundee in Angus.
  • The name McColm, as a result of a very early migration, has been in Galloway in south-west Scotland for over 500 years.
  • Thomas is usually thought of as a Welsh name, but there are some Scots called Thomas, although not all will be MacThomases as Thomas is claimed also by some other clans.
  • Thomson is a very popular name in Scotland. Many Thomsons come from Argyll in the west of Scotland and are likely to be originally MacTavishes, some are from the Borders Region with England and are not affiliated to a Highland Clan. Only those people whose ancestors come from the counties in Eastern Scotland mentioned above are likely to be MacThomases.
  • Thompson is not a MacThomas sept name as it thought to be predominately English.
  • Names similar to several of the MacThomas sept names such Tomas, Thomasson, Thomsen etc are amongst the most popular in parts of mainland Europe such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France and Spain etc and are not Scottish.

Please click here to read an article by our Sennachie about spelling variations

More information about each of the Clan MacThomas Sept names can be accessed by clicking here.

The Clan Society can assist those interested in tracing their ancestry and much more information about all the Clan sept names is in “The History of the Clan MacThomas”.