Dedicated to the Memory of Combs &c. founder Carole Hammett (1946-2009)
This Combs &c. Web Site is Generously Hosted by Click Here to Join USGenNet
We Support Free Nonprofit Genealogy and History on the Internet

c Combs &c. Families
of Scotland
MacThomas Clan
Associated with the Chattan Confederation
and the Mackintosh Clan

Including surnames of
as well as,

The name COMBS &c, when searched in the British Isles, has wide-ranging possibilities for ancestral origins. Depending on where you are trying to connect one’s lineage at what point in time, researchers need to be prepared to study history. Researching in Scotland presents some very distinct surname types and origins, dissimilar to England, where the surname can be found consistently in pre-1500 records spelled and sounding of a French derivation. See “Surnames Featured” in the Main Page of our DNA STUDY for a more complete list of surnames, some of which have been found by members of our research group in records, with variant spellings.

The CLAN MAC THOMAS surname grouping, makes a unique contribution to our COMBS &c. family of surnames. (We use the “&c” since it is old-style for et cetera (etc.), Latin for “and others”.) The Clan surnames most like COMBS are: COMB COMBIE McCOMB McCOMBE McCOMBIE McCOMIE McCOLM McCOMAS McCOMIE MacOMIE McCOMISH and MacOMISH. The sept MacCombich of the Clan Stewart will not be included at this time in the report. A review of the background of this clan and its’ history can help those who are tracing surnames in the British Isles and are considering where their COMBS &c. ancestry connects. Descendants of this clan may not be obvious since some of the members of this clan may have changed their name (dropping a Mac or simplifying the name to COMBS) or their name spelling may have been altered over time by some other means, in either case, no longer appearing as it had been used by their Scottish ancestors. DNA testing, along with traditional family history methods, is another approach in determining this ancestry, and can pervade surname spelling changes, as well as point in the direction of earliest ethnicity. In the case of Scottish vs English root origins, the DNA findings could be a significant factor in deciding where to pursue ones traditional family history research. See our DNA STUDY. It would not be surprising to find COMBS &c. researchers, who have DNA that matches one of the forms of the names in Clan Mac Thomas, who will find themselves tracing their ancestry to Scotland.

Scotland Web Pages currently under development.

After reading the BACKGROUND, HISTORY, and a COMPARISON OF CLAN CULTURAL SYMBOLS on this web page, further information is available about the MAC THOMAS CLAN AND CLAN MEMBERSHIP by going to --

This non-profit organization is an independent association of MacThomas Descendants Associated Friends and Families in North America. Membership includes both descendants and friends of the clan.


The Clan MAC THOMAS takes its name from a Gaelic-speaking highlander known as TOMAIDH MOR who lived in the 15th century. Tomaidh or Thomas, descended from the Clan Chattan Mackintoshes, his own grandfather being a son of William, the eighth chief of the Clan Chattan. The Clan Chattan, primarily with the Clan Mackintosh and others including Clan MacThomas, formed a Confederation consisting of several tribes or small clans who were united as a community of about 13-15 known clans. These clans found greater strength as a Confederation particularly in protecting their interests against larger and formidable clans. This Confederation is thought to have occurred after the 13th century. The “Clan territory” is described as lying “mainly in east Inverness-shire” and stretching from “Inverness in the north to Laggan in the the south, and from Glenloy in the west to Glenshee and Invercauld in the east. It embraced the upper stretches of four of Scotland’s main rivers: the Nairn, Findhorn, Spey, and Dee.” See a map of the territory once occupied by Clan Chattan at


A few early origins of the Clan Chattan, itself, are (1) that they came from a tribe of Gauls called “the Catti” who were driven out by the Romans, and (2) a more popular belief is their ancestry is tied to Gillichattan Mor “the great servant of St. Cattan”. Gillichattan is assumed to be a “co-arb or baillie of the Abbey lands of Archattan” (also described as being located at Kilchattan on the island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde) and eventually came into the possession of Glenloy and Loch Arkaig with Torcastle becoming the seat of the clan chief during the time of Malcom II born ca.934 and reigned 1005-1034. There is not much known about the history of the clan until the uniting of Clan Chattan and Clan MacKintosh in 1291 when Eva, daughter of Gilpatric, or Dougal Dall, of Clan Chattan married Angus Mackintosh, 6th Chief of the Clan Mackintosh, at Lochaber thereby unifying the chiefly line of the Clan Chattan and Clan MacKintosh for many centuries. Clan MacKintosh is said to have descended from Duncan McDuff dating back as far as the 1100s. With the marriage of Angus Mackintosh and Eva of Gilpatric, began a long line of Mackintosh leaders who led the Clan Chattan into the 1900s. Angus and Eva resided at Torcastle in Glenloy, and later moved to a place called Rothiemurchus. Both clans should be studied together since their history is intertwined. Although unrest could have occurred earlier, it appears after the removal to Rothiemurchus, there existed a long period of feuds involving the Clans Chattan and Mackintosh evolving into alliances with other clans forming what is known today as the Clan Chattan Confederation, as previously mentioned.

Some of these clans, with associated families or septs, are viewed as clusters –

  1. Descendants of the original clan of Macphersons, Cattanachs, Macbeans Macphails.
  2. Mackintoshes and what are viewed as “cadet branches” of Shaws, Farguharsons, Ritchies, McCombies, and MacThomases.
  3. Families not originally viewed as related by blood, the MacGillvrays, Davidsons, Macleans of Dochgarroch, MacQueens of Pollochaig, Macintyres of Badenoch, Macandrews.

Prior to 1600, seeing the Confederation of Clan Chattan’s growth had rendered it unwieldy to manage, and along with differing views of leadership and allegiances, Thomaidh Mor (Thomas) migrated with his “kinsman and followers” to a place known as Mccomie. While the place of origination is not known, some assumptions can be made that the location of the Clan Chattan at the time would be a reasonable area where Clan MacThomas had resided. The migration is described as moving “across the Grampians, from Badenoch to Glenshee”.
Mccomie is, "a phonetic form of the Gaelic, as well as Mccolm and Mccomas.” Edinburgh, the base of government at the time, viewed the group as MacThomas as evidenced in the roll of the clans in the Acts of Parliament of 1587 and 1595.

Meanwhile, by the 1600s the clans in and about Strathairn, in the absence of their own chief, viewed the Clan Mackintosh as their “chief”. These included the clans of Shaw, Mcbean, Macphail, MacGillivray. Different factors contributed to division within the Confederation. During the period of the Reformation turmoil followed the downfall of Mary Queen of Scots. Each Clan, Chattan and Mackintosh, eventually found themselves working ardently to maintain the loyalty and unification that had existed. They supported Charles the first in the mid-1600s. Then in the early 1700s they were on the losing side supporting the Jacobites. The clans suffered through a difficult period with the loss of leaders through war or imprisonment. Many clansmen were sent to America following a defeat while fighting on behalf of the Stuarts in 1715.

Clan MacThomas, while noted in publications in 1678 and 1681, began drifting apart as the clan migrated to new locations. It is believed that the names associated with the clan also became corrupt or altered.

The implications for tracing Scottish ancestry that may derive from these lineages include recognizing any COMBS surname could be a corrupted form of a Clan MacThomas surname. Also, knowing when the ancestor lived in light of the history of the clan, when membership was more or less likely, and the locations the particular clan or sept (other associated families) were known to have resided can make a difference in . Also, knowledge of Scotland’s overall history and legends can be useful. See Combs &c. Families of Scotland.


1st Thomas, Tomaidh Mor

Lived in the 15th c.

Moved the clan from Badenoch to Glenshee At McComie

2nd unknown

3rd unknown

4th Robert Mccomie

lived pre-1600of Thom
A charter in 1571 conferred John McComy-Muir the lands of Finegand Glenshee, where Robert McComie, the 4th chief was murdered.

5th John Mccomie

lived about 1600

of Finegand

6th unknown

7th John McComie
AKA Ian Mor
AKA McComie Mor

d. 1676

folklore of Perthshire

Comparison of Clan Cultural Symbols


Tomaidh Mor
(Thomas a Gaelic speaking
toisech or
Mac an toisich
(leader or chief or captain)
Gillichattan or Catti,
tribe of Gauls

(surnames viewed as associates not bearing the name of the clan)



MacINTYRE of Badenoch
MacLEAN of Dochgarroch

“Every person who has the same surname as the chief is deemed to be a member of the clan. Equally a person who offers allegiance to the chief is recognised as a member of the clan unless the chief decides that he will not accept that person's allegiance.

There is no official list of recognised septs. This is a matter for each chief to determine. But where a particular sept has traditionally been associated with a particular clan it would not be appropriate for that name to be treated by another clan chief as one of its septs.”

Source: Court of the Lord Lyon


Motto: Deo juvante invidiam superabo (I will overcome envy with God’s help.)

Motto: Loch Moigh

(War Cry – Loch Moy! Lake of Plain; Badge Motto has on it - Touch Not the Cat Bot the Glove; bot or but means without)

Motto: Touch not the cat but a glove

(bot or but means without)

Crest: A demi-cat-a mountain rampant guardany Proper grasping to his dexter paw a serpent Vert , langued Gules, its tail environing the sinister paw.

Crest: A cat-a-mountain salient guardant Proper.

Crest: A cat salient Proper.

“Many heraldic and clan web sites and other media suggest that a person has the right to use the family or clan Arms. This is completely incorrect.

A Coat of Arms belongs only to one individual person and can only be used by that person and no one else. In order for a person to be able to use a Coat of Arms it is necessary for that individual person to apply for a personal Coat of Arms to be granted to him or her.

What is permitted is for a member of a clan to use the clan crest. Usually what is referred to as the clan Coat of Arms is in fact the personal Arms of the chief of the clan which can only be used by the chief.”

“The strap and buckle is the sign of the clansman, and he demonstrates his membership of his Chiefs Clan by wearing his Chiefs Crest within it.”

Source: Court of the Lord Lyon.

(a few of the design & color schemes used by these clans)
MacThomas Tartan Mackintosh Tartan Chattan Tartan

“There are no strict rules on who has the right to wear a particular tartan. People normally wear only the tartan (if any) of their surname, or a “district tartan” connected with where they live or where their family come from.

Wearing a particular clan tartan indicates that the wearer bears an allegiance to the chief of that clan. A tartan which uses the name of a clan may only do so if the chief of that clan has given his approval to the particular design.

There is no official register of tartan. Records of designs are maintained by the Scottish Tartans Authority, Fraser House, 25 Commissioner Street, Crieff, Perthshire, PH7 3A Y.

The Lord Lyon has no jurisdiction over tartan but if a clan chief wishes, the Lord Lyon will record details of specific clan tartan in the Lyon Records.”

Source: Court of the Lord Lyon.

“The Court of the Lord Lyon is the heraldic authority for Scotland. It deals with all matters relating to Scottish Heraldry and Coats of Arms and maintains the Scottish Public Registers of Arms and Genealogies.”

Regarding Clan membership, tartans and badges, one source states,

“The article “Clans, Families and Septs” by Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw Baronet, Queens Counsel, Rothesay Herald of Arms (ie one of the four most senior members of the Lord Lyon's court), states that the terms clan and family are interchangeable, and makes it clear that membership is determined by the chief of the clan or family, who can accept or reject those who offer their allegiance. Historically the clan was those living on the chief's territory, though certain of his immediate family owed him allegiance wherever they lived. With changes in clan boundaries or migration of families the clan could include members with other surnames. A chief could add to his clan by adopting other families, and also had the legal right to outlaw anyone from his clan, including members of his own family. In modern terms a chief can accept who he wants to, or limit clan membership to those with particular surnames. Those who have the chief's surname are deemed to be clan members, and anyone who offers allegiance to the chief by joining his clan society or wearing his clan tartan is considered a member unless disallowed by the chief, individually or by name group…….”

The same source continues by saying,

”Where clans included groups with other surnames these are often listed as septs, but while the clan or family is a legally recognised group, sept lists have no official authority and merely reflect an estimate of historical associations.

Note added by COMBS &c.: These associations, for the purpose of searching family history, however, we deem as a vital part of the information needed in connecting families.

With respect to cultural elements of dress and other symbols the source states,”Official Clan tartans are authorised by the chief and registered by the Lord Lyon, but there is no legal prohibition against wearing the "wrong" tartan. Originally there appears to have been little association of tartans with particular clans or areas, but the idea gained currency in the late 18th century and in 1815 the Highland Society of London began the naming and registration of "official" clan tartans, and gradually the original belted plaid was supplanted by the modern tailored kilt.

Clan badges are a further sign of allegiance, and both clans and families have heraldic Coats of Arms controlled by the Lord Lyon Court. In principle these badges should only be used with the permission of the clan chief and the Lyon Court has intervened in cases where permission has been withheld.”

(This portion of the page is derived from provided as part of

Any suggestions about this MacThomas Clan page content can be directed to Denise Mortorff

Additional Historical and Cultural Sources utilized in compiling this page include --


SCOTTISH CLAN & FAMILY ENCYCLOPEDIA by George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Foreward endorsement by The Rt.Hon. The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. c.1994. Harper Collins Publishers. Glasgow. & Clan Chattan Confederation


Back to Combs &c. Families of Scotland

Join Combs &c. in Support of USGenNet
— an IRS-approved nonprofit web-hosting service —

Combs &c. Research FamiliesCombs Research Group Proud Patron of USGenNetJoin USGenNet

This site is hosted by USGenNet, a nonprofit web-hosting service solely supported by tax-deductible donations. If this website has provided you with useful information, please consider making a donation to USGenNet to help keep sites like this online.

NOTICE: The Combs-Coombs &c. Research Group is a nonprofit public benefit corporation and complies fully with USGenNet's Conditions of Use. This Combs &c. Research Report has been provided for the free use of those engaged in non-commercial genealogical research by the nonprofit Combs Research Group. Any and all commercial use is strictly prohibited. Researchers are encouraged to copy and distribute this work freely, but with the proviso that it may only be copied and circulated in its entirety -- including this notice, and all sources, bibliographies and credits; and excepting electronically in which case permission is freely granted to link to this site instead. Sincerely, The Combs &c Research Group, Email: Webmaster.

© 1996-2010 Combs-Coombs &c. Research Group