Sept

A sept is an English word for a division of a family, especially of a Scottish or Irish family.[1] The term is used in both Ireland and Scotland, where it may be translated as sliocht, meaning "progeny" or "seed",[2] which may indicate the descendants of a person (for example, Sliocht Brian Mac Diarmada, "the descendant of Brian MacDermott"). The word may derive from the Latin saeptum, meaning "enclosure" or "fold",[3] or via an alteration of "sect".[4]

Family branches

Síol is a Gaelic word meaning "progeny" or "seed" that is used in the context of a family or clan with members who bear the same surname and inhabited the same territory,[5] as a manner of distinguishing one group from another; a family called Mac an Bháird (anglicised as "Ward") might be divided into septs such as Síol Seán Mac Briain, Síol Conchobhair Óg, Síol Sean Cuinn, or Síol Cú Chonnacht.

Each of these individual septs may further subdivide into more septs, which may sometimes lead to the development of novel surnames and/or the rise of the family such that it may be considered a clan in its own right. Such septs were common in Scotland, where the clan system was well-developed.[5]