There is a lineage of Somerled that shows all the lines coming down from him. You might what to run a Google search on this subject to get several choices and watch for the sourcing.
My father’s ancestors came to Canada and settled in Ontario and Quebec. My father’s sister Miriam thought that we are probably of the Glengarry Branch of MacDonells. Wikipedia has an interesting article about this branch of the Clan Donald at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Donald
ElectricScotland.com has a great deal of information on Scottish clans. This link is to Clan MacDonell of Glengarry: http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/m/macdonn2.html
At this same site they reference The Glengarry Branch of the MacDonells: http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/m/macdonald/glengary.html.
One could spend hours reading about Scottish clans and clan history and for that matter about the history of Scotland. I have certainly given it a try but have only scratched the surface. You might try these suggestions that I have listed below for Scottish history. At least these authors have tried to make it a little easier to follow the course of historical events. Other books have been a little hard to wade through. They are by no means the only possibilities. Oh, be prepared, Scotland was at war a great deal of the time!
“The History of Scotland,” by Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry, first published by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. in 1982 and reprinted 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1996.
“Scotland, A Concise History,” Revised Edition by Fitroy MacLean, Thames and Hudson, 1970 and 1993. This book has lots of illustrations and for someone like me who is visual it was great.
To understand Scottish History however, you have to understand the Kings and Queens of Scotland and England:
“The Kings and Queens of England and Scotland” by Plantagenet Somerset Fry, Doring, Kindersley, Ltd., 1990. Again a lot of great pictures and illustrations to help you understand it all. They include charts of the family lines.
Our Specific Scottish origins
It has not been proven that we are members of this branch of Clan Donald – MacDonell of Glengarry. The actual ancestors who came over from Scotland to Canada have not yet been discovered at the time of this writing. Aunt Miriam states in her notes that these ancestors probably came to Canada around the late 1700 or early 1800’s. It actually might have been earlier.
The research I have done has gone back to my father Keith’s grandparents Archibald and Mary McDonell. Anything further back is still being slowly pieced together. I probably have found Alexander Ban MacDonald in the 1861 census with his daughter Mary. Roy, however, is a real mystery. The research location is Canada, specifically Ontario and Quebec, in the early 1800’s and it has been slow going in the records. Canadian genealogical research has changed so much in the last 10 years since I started working on the MacDonald line back in 1998. I went and looked at the Canadian census using a microfilm reader at a Family History Center near me and now it is online at Ancestry. So it means I will have to revisit some of the research and freshen up. I will discuss Roy and Alexander Ban and what I found in the research at a later time.
Clan Donald and DNA Study
At the Clan Donald website, I discovered as I was poking around for this post, that they are conducting a DNA test using the Y or male side. I would like to get my brother to participate because he is the last of the MacDonald line in our family. His descendants are female and they have children. We will see if I cannot convince him to participate. I planted a seed a couple of days ago and he is considering it. My sister and I did not have children. We specialize in the 4 legged furry type. Clan Donald is doing the male line. So it would be a good thing if my brother did give it a go!
I am not an expert on this topic of DNA and its uses for genealogy; however, I have seen that it can really clarify many family lines. A client of, mine has lineage back to Jamestown. The surname is Graves and they have been conducting a DNA study and making some headway on the family. If you are curious go to this website, The Graves Family Association (update 4/13/2013 – their link is broken on this day.
Regarding the lineage of MacDonalds and its many forms, go to the The Clan Donald website which has good information on the study and DNA.