The MacLeod Genealogy database

The database is a historical archive that was created in the years up to 2004 by Jim Ayars who was the Associated Clan MacLeod Societies (ACMS) genealogy coordinator at the time. It has not been added to since 2004 and all records date from before that time. It has been available on a separate MacLeod genealogy website since 2004 and has been linked to the since at least 2015. In total it contains 39,310 records.

Until recently, the database was presented as a series of indexes comprising two distinct sets of data:  firstly, of records created from The MacLeods – The Genealogy of a Clan series and secondly, of family trees and records submitted by individuals from Clan MacLeod societies in New Zealand, Canada and the USA. More on this below.

The MacLeods – The Genealogy of a Clan

The indexes contained an immense piece of transcription and research which sets out the genealogy contained in the five sections of The MacLeods – The Genealogy of a Clan series. A prominent part of this is entitled ‘Ancestors and Descendants of Leod’ which contains a transcription of the first title of the five-part series. These records of our MacLeod Chiefly lineage, both from the ‘Genealogy of a Clan’ series and other prior published genealogies, along with their detailed source data, are considered a valuable online resource for MacLeod historians and genealogists which needs to be preserved. This historical record is now incorporated into the genealogy section of

Besides containing all data printed in the five sections of The MacLeods – The Genealogy of a Clan, the database includes data from prior published genealogies, including Crawfurdʼs Peerage (1716); Sir Robert Douglasʼ Baronage of Scotland’ (1798) and ‘Peerage of Scotland’; and Burkeʼs ‘Landed Gentry’ (1933 Edition). Also included is material from Rev. R. C. MacLeodʼs ‘The MacLeods: their History and Traditions’ (1928), and Nicholson’s ‘History of Skye’ (1930). Following the links under these titles will take you to archived copies of these publications where available.

See also the updated Publications and Research section on our website for further resources in this area.  Some published articles dealing with origin of Leod, and the Macleods of Lewis (by Matheson, Sellar, and MacLeod) are available on the site as catalysts for further research.

First editions of the Genealogy of a Clan series were published between 1968 and 1976 and were subsequently updated to new editions between 1986 and 1999. However, it has long been recognized that the source material contained a number of historical assumptions and errors and these continue to be replicated in the database records we have. Plans were made in the years up to 2012/13 to revise the series. The most important changes that need to be made are to the earliest portions of the genealogy, and in particular that of the origin of Leod and the Macleods of Lewis as, since that time, the extensive research that has been done, along with DNA studies, has impacted the validity of the five sections as currently published. However, despite ongoing discussions in those years which included proposals to write a sixth volume of the genealogies to reflect new genealogical evidence and theory, and to expand the series to include family trees from dozens of MacLeod families reflecting the breadth and diversity of the Clan following the centuries of migration, it was reluctantly recognised that this would be too big a task to complete with the resources available.  However, it was also recognized that the existing archive contained much of value and should remain accessible to the researchers of future generations.


The genealogy pages in the database as now presented are displayed in a variety of formats, with the leading format of each page most closely following that devised by NEHGS (the New England Historic Genealogical Society), which is now used widely for family histories. For further information on genealogical formats see here

Database Records from Clan MacLeod Societies

The other significant part of the records in this database was taken from existing sources in the United States, Canada and New Zealand (those societies which responded at the time). It is possible that updated versions of the data sets shared by Societies in 2004 exist in those countries.

The total number of interlinked individual records in the database is as follows:

ACMS sources 8,939
CMS USA 15,245
CMS Canada 12,765
CMS New Zealand 361
Total 37,310

ACMS genealogy coordinator Jim Ayars worked with Clan MacLeod Societies and their genealogists to bring together this body of data in the period between 1994 and 2004.

With CMS USA he worked in collaboration with Dixie McCaskill to convert her data disks to a format compatible with the internet, and subsequently uploaded all of her revised CMS USA genealogical data to the site. These old records may well have been part of the basis of today’s Tribal Pages Clan MacLeod USA genealogy database in the US, established in 2012, and managed by the Director of the CMS USA Migration Project, Ann McLeod. 

Whereas the CMS USA records were contained in a GEDCOM (genealogical data communication) source file, the Canada and New Zealand records only existed as HTML files viewable in an internet browser, which is why the way they can be searched and viewed in the database is somewhat different.

At the time the database was compiled, in the decade leading up to 2004, it was hoped to get further data from Australia, France (MacLot), South Africa, Germany/Poland (Machlejd), South America, and other major MacLeod enclaves but this did not materialise. Despite this, at the time of publication, the MacLeod Genealogical Resources Website was considered to be among the largest family focused, single name websites on the internet.


In summary, the database remains available as an archive only and whilst it is unlikely that it that will ever be updated, it is felt to be of value to summarise the history of its origins and its limitations; its future value will lie in its continued availability as a reference to researchers and family historians. As such it plays a key part in the ongoing revision of the Clan MacLeod Genealogy section, all now entirely contained within  Other major components will include sections of supporting information listing available resources and links to websites that, it is hoped, will prove useful to those researching their MacLeod family history.

We hope that together, the database and the new updated Genealogy resource centre within, will provide inspiration for researchers in Clan MacLeod family history and genealogy for generations to come.

If you find any mistakes in these records, please let us know about them through this form. It is especially helpful if you can express the required changes using our documentation standards and provide documentation that backs up your findings.