Gaelic Name: Clann Gillacatan (Clan of the Cats)
There is a Highland and a Lowland branch of Clan Shaw. Those in the Highlands are said to descend from Seach (Shiah) in the 12th century, who is also claimed as founder of Clan MacIntosh.
In the Highlands of Scotland, Clan Shaw was a principal Clan in Clan Chattan. Alasdair "Ciar," 3rd Chief of Clan Shaw at Rothiemurchus, had five sons: Alexander, the second son, was ancestor of the Shaws of Dell; James, the third son, was ancestor of the Shaws of Dalnavert; Iver, the fifth son, was ancestor of the Shaws of Harris and the Isles. Farquhar, the fourth son, was progenitor of Clan Farquaharson.
When the Shaw chief was dispossessed in the late 1500s, some Shaws attached to Clan MacIntosh and Clan MacPherson; others went to Aberdeenshire. George Bernard Shaw, the noted playwright, descends from the Dublin branch of Clan Shaw.
In the Lowlands, Shaw means "a small wood," and has been used in Renfrewshire since the 13th century. Branches of these lowland Shaws spread to Stirlingshire and through Ayrshire to Galloway.
Some sources give the following as "The whole Clan Chattan Group" -- Mackintosh, Macpherson, MacGillivray, MacQueen, MacBean, Farquharson, and Davidson.
Every clan had a blacksmith or armourer; hence, names of Gow and MacGowan are connected with many clans. The Highland Clan MacGowan branch is traditionally part of Clan Chattan, but for romantic reasons are connected with Clan MacPherson