The MacGregor story is one of dogged survival and endurance in appalling conditions. History calls them the Children of the Mist. For nearly two centuries Clan MacGregor was a victim of Proscription. This meant that male MacGregors could not use their surname, own property or even, in the worst times, possess a knife. They were legally hunted down and tortured or beheaded, often by Campbells. Despite such catastrophic fortune, the MacGregor name survived, and today they flourish.
Thanks to the outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor, who captured the public imagination, MacGregors would remain ‘MacGregors despite them.’
The word clan is a derivative of the Gaelic word for children. But to be a member of a clan didn’t automatically mean you were related to the chief. Those who worked for the clan would take the surname, and those who needed protection would pledge themselves to the chief and accept the clan name as their own. But they were united equally, living and sometimes dying in service to their clan. Nowadays, under Scots law, anyone who shares the clan surname is automatically considered part of that clan.