Volume No. 5 Number 1 Spring/Summer 2002
COSCA Board Meeting / AGM set July 12 - 13, 2002 at
Grandfather Mountain, Linville, North Carolina.
The Council of Scottish Clans &
Associations invites representatives from all Scottish clan organisations
and interested parties to the 2002 Annual General Meeting set for
Saturday, July 13, 2002 at the Chief's Tent, 1 PM, at the Grandfather
Mountain Highland Games.
There is much important business to be
concluded. Your presence is truly needed.
The Council of Scottish Clans &
Associations will hold its 2002 Board Meeting at 9 AM on Friday, July 12,
2002 at the Holiday Inn at Banner Elk, North Carolina. This meeting is for
COSCA officers, trustees and invited guests.
This annual gathering is important for the
business of COSCA and you are urged to attend.
Newsletter workshop set for Friday afternoon at
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
If you are a newsletter editor and if you
are planning to be at Grandfather Mountain on Friday afternoon, July 12,
you're invited to come and share your expertise and experiences with other
If you are a beginner, if you are a
seasoned editor, you'll enjoy getting together to hear how others cope
with the problems, the deadlines, the financial responsibilities, the USPS.
You'll learn and get ideas on how to get free clip art, how to get news
and articles for your publication and have an opportunity to ask questions
of others who work with these things.
It's a free seminar at the Chief's Tent,
Grandfather Mountain, at 1 PM on Friday. There's no registration required,
COSCA... and The Scottish Community by Bob Heston
This past year I requested all the organizations who are members of
COSCA to support us by submitting your Clan or Associationís sept or cadet
list. I also posed the question on the use of certain wording in many of
your organizational documents that outlined specific requirements before
the acceptance of an individualís surname spelling was as part of your
group. In all, I only received 17 responses with Sept lists. Of these only
two provided detailed accountings were and very impressive documentation
of what was required of an individual before they would be accepted into
these organizations. I am in correspondence with these two groups now to
see if l can melt down some of their information and publish it in a later
article for all of us to ponder and maybe look at how to better help those
who are seeking there family roots in Scotland.
I was particularly flabbergasted at the volume of
correspondence from many organizations challenging the existence of other
groups especially with regard to their membership in COSCA.
COSCA is a service organization providing support to
Scottish family organizations. It is not our position to validate their
certification by the Lord Lyon or to even measure whether a Border Clan is
really a Clan when compare to a Highland Clan. COSCA has one goal in mind
and that is to help people who are seeking details on their Scottish
family roots to connect with as many organizations that we can provide
them and who may be able to help further their research.
The service COSCA provides also means trying to
connect, liaison, and share information with other organizations (Scots,
Irish, or Scots-Irish) in order to provide mutual understanding and
support to the people we are intent on helping.
Information on Scottish Heritage is as voluminous as
there are historians but as lacking in clarity as there are historianís
opinions. It is, in my view, only appropriate that COSCA gather as much
information on all Scottish family organizations and support agencies. We
should not judge whether youíre organization, either whole or divided by
some internal rift, is validated by a Scottish Chief living in Scotland.
What COSCA does want to do is provide all prospective members as much
information about an organization in their region and the various options
available to them. We are here to help the prospective member make a
decision as to who they might want to approach for more information. We
can only do that by providing them everything we can about your family
group, good or bad, so that you get an informed request to join your
Scottish history isnít as black and white as we
would like it to be. Clan Chiefs were eliminated, Clans were eradicated,
and families were torn apart and sent to the furthest corners of the
earth. So much is not know about Scotland that I find hard to support any
petition that challenges the existence of a particular group and their
membership in COSCA.
I would be willing to have further discussions with
any of you who take exception to this line of thought either at the
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in July or by email. Feel free to
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
From our COSCA President, Bob Heston
Here I sit in my hotel room in Canberra, Australia
waiting for some paperwork to arrive by courier from the States before I
can formally close down an 18 month operation here and head back home to
be with my family. Itís hard to believe that Iíve been down here for such
a long time and yet for all of those who have covered my duties in COSCA
while I have been gone I am sure it didnít go fast enough.
Rapidly looming on the horizon are the Grandfather
Mountain Highland Games and our AGM in July. With this in mind, I am
trying to outline the events we should be focusing on the next few years.
In doing so, I realized that we will have to place so much our attention
on this planning session that many of the seminars you have become
accustomed to having made available to you the past few years will this
year have to be placed on hold. However, depending on the availability of
instructors COSCA may yet be able to sponsor at least two free seminars on
the mountain on Friday. These will deal with creating newsletters and the
construction and maintenance of websites. The availability of the
instructors will be last minute so I recommend checking the announcement
board outside of the Chiefís tent just to be sure.
I have several items on our draft agenda that
include the proposal to move the AGM around the country, unveiling the CD
ROM project I have been working on to help our field researchers,
presentation of COSCA mission statement, preparation of a multi-year
growth plan, and finally the push to have all games organizers provide
COSCA a free tent space at their games.
You are welcome to submit any questions, propose
topics for the AGM, or send general discussion items to me at
Our new web pages are still under construction but I
have made them open to viewing as we enter this new games season. Please
visit it at
and provide us your comments.
Col. Bob McWilliam elected new Caledonian
Foundation, USA President!
Fromer COSCA president Col. Robet "Bob" McWilliam,
has recently been elected the new president of the Caledonian Foundation,
USA, Inc. This is the organization which sponsors the Scottish Coalition.
IATS / TECA to offer certificates in "Tartanology!"
Association of Tartan Studies announces plans to offer certificates
attesting to individual knowledge and skill levels in the field of tartan
studies. IATS is affiliated in Scotland with The Scottish Tartans
Authority and presents tartan information at a wide number of Games and
Festivals in North America. Games organizers are encouraged to stipulate
that all those who give out tartan and genealogy information at Games have
at least the basic certificate of "Tartan Assistant."
Individuals can obtain the certificates of "Tartan
Assistant," "Tartan Associate" or "Tartan Specialist" by passing a written
and hands-on examination. Scheduled certificate examinations will be done
in conjunction with major Scottish Games. Examinations will be scored
immediately unless the number of applicants prevents this. The appropriate
certificate will be awarded in person or mailed to the successful
A modest fee will be attached to cover the cost of
test materials and space.
Persons applying for the certificate must be a
member of IATS. The cost of membership may be included with the
application fee. There is no stipulation that a member hold one of the
earlier certificates before he or she applies for the certificate they
wish to obtain.
The designation "Tartan Assistant" includes of
knowledge of the history of Highland dress as well as major points of
Scottish history. The candidate should have a basic knowledge of geography
and the locations of the major clans and families of Scotland. Each will
demonstrate a knowledge of the styles of kilt pleating and how to dispel
myths about tartan. When possible, each will serve a six-hour
apprenticeship alongside an Associate, Specialist or Scholar.
The "Tartan Associate" can demonstrate a more
specific knowledge of tartan, including tartan design and sight
recognition of some of the major clan tartans. They are expected to have a
more detailed knowledge of Scottish history and geography. Each will
demonstrate how to make and read a thread count and give slogs for several
tartans. The candidate is to be familiar with the names and publication
dates of major works relating to the topic of tartan.
The top level, "Tartan Specialist," is a person with
a specific knowledge of Scottish history since 1400, including the
Scottish Diaspora and of Scottish geography. This person has a sight
reading command of Gaelic in order to insure accurate pronunciation of the
names of Highland garments and original family and place names. They have
visited Scotland on one of more occasions to do research on a specific
tartan subject with publication of this or other research related to
tartan. In addition, each has a knowledge of kilt making and tartan
designs plus a familiarity with weaving and the terms associated with that
The title "Tartan Scholar" is reserved for those who
have contributed substantially to the advancement of knowledge of tartan.
A person need not have "advanced through the ranks" to achieve "Scholar"
status nor even be a member of IATS, but can be nominated at any time by
another Scholar. They must be judged to be a "Scholar" by a majority of
the other Scholars on the merits of their work, published or unpublished.
The designation "Scholar" carries with it a great
deal of prestige and respect.
There are currently only eight persons in the world
so honoured. In Scotland are James Scarlett, MBE, Trudi Mann, Anthony
Murray, Hugh Cheape of the National Museum and Major Peter MacDonald, TD
of Crieff. In North America there are three Scholars: Alex Lumsden of
Toronto and Bob Martin and Philip Smith of the United States.
IATS will give examinations for "Tartan Assistant"
and "Tartan Associate" on Thursday, July 11, preceding the Grandfather
Mountain Highland Games and on the Friday afternoon before the Stone
Mountain Highland Games.
For more information, suggested reading lists and
applications: contact IATS, 442 Freedom Blvd., Coatesville, PA 19320. FAX:
COSCA Statement of Policy
The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations extols pride in one's
heritage. However to despise the heritage of others is contemptible. It
diminishes the pride and honor of our own ancestors.
There is a small fringe in the American community (including our own
groups) that is racist and would spell clan with a "k"
This is intolerable.
COSCA condemns strongly racism in any form in the Scottish-American
community. Historically, clans in Scotland welcomed not only those of
their blood but also those who requested protection of the clan And so it
The Scottish-American community must be inclusive, not exclusive.
Otherwise, we are diminished and discredited.
"One hundred thousand welcomes" means just that.
Lt. Col. Robert J. Heston
Otis Johnston, Jr., COSCA
Trustee, died this past January in Columbia, South Carolina
Services for Otis Johnston, Jr., 71, were held
Wednesday, January 16, 2002, at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Columbia,
South Carolina with burial in Greenlawn Memorial Park.
Mr. Johnston died Monday, January 14, 2002. Born in
Columbia, he was the son of the late Otis Clebourne Johnston and Christine
Inez Spigner Johnston. An Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, he
received his B S. degree, cum laude, from the University of South Carolina
and was the owner of Wright Johnston, Inc.
Mr. Johnston was a member and deacon of Eastminster
Presbyterian Church and also attended Banner Elk Presbyterian Church in
Banner Elk, North Carolina. He had an abiding interest in the genealogy of
his and his wifeís families, researching the Johnston, Spigner, Anderson
and Muffle families. He was a member of the board of directors of the
Tartan Educational Culltural Association and charter member of the St.
Andrews Society of Columbia. He was a member of The Aztec Club and the
Huguenot Society of South Carolina and was conferred a Chevalier in the
Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerasalem. He was a Trustee of
The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations. He was also a member of the
Executives Association of Greater Columbia and past president of the
Columbia Merchants Association.
Surviving are his wife, Ruth Anderson Johnston;
sons, daughters-in-law, daughters and sons-in-law.
Our COSCA 2002 Roster
- Accipiter Enterprises
- Clan Anderson Society LTD
- Armstrong Clan Society
- Barbra A. Bartz
- Bell Family Association of the U.S.
- Clan Blair Society USA
- House of Boyd
- Clan Boyd Society International
- Clan Brodie Association lnc
- Clan Brown (Broun) Society
- Clan Buchanan Society International
- Cornelia W. Bush
- The Caledonian Foundation USA Inc
- The Clan Campbell Society
- North America Clan Carmichael
- Clan Chisholm Society - U.S. Branch
- Clan Colquhoun Society of North America
- Clan ColvilIe Society
- Clan Cumming Society
- Clan Cunning Assn.
- Clan Cunninham Society of America Inc.
- DaIzell Family Association of North America
- Clan Davidson Society USA
- Clan Donald USA Inc
- Clan Douglas Society of North America
- Dunlop/Dunlap Family Society Inc.
- Elliot Clan Society
- Clan Ewen Society
- Clan Ewing in America
- Clan Forbes Society
- Clan Forsyth Society of the USA
- Clan Galbraith Association of North America
- Clan Gillean USA
- House of Gordon
- Clan Graham Society
- The Clan Gregor Society
- Clan Guthrie USA Inc
- Clan Hall Society
- Clan Hay Society - American Branch
- Clan Henderson Society of US & Canada
- George C. Henderson
- Clan Home Society
- Innes Clan Society
- Clan Irwin Association
- Clan Johnston/e in America
- Kennedy Society of North America
- Kirkpatrick Association
- Clan Lamont Society of North America
- Clan Leslie Society
- Clan McAlister of America
- Clan MacAlpine Society
- Clan MacAulay USA Inc.
- Clan MacBeth Society of North America
- Clan MacCord
- Miss Duncan MacDonald
- Clan MacDougall Society
- MacDuffee/Macfie Clan Society of America Inc.
- Clan MacFarlane Society Inc.
- Macfie Clan Society of North America
- Clan Maclnnes Society
- Clan Maclntyre Association
- CIan Mackay Society of the USA lnc.
- Clan Mackenzie Society of the Americas
- Clan Mackinnon Society of North America Inc
- McKusick Family Association Inc
- Clan MacLachlan Association of North America Inc.
- Clan MacLaren Society of NA Ltd.
- Clan Macleod Society USA Inc. South Central Region.
- Clan MacNab Society of North America
- The Clan MacRae Society of North America
- Clan MacThomas Society of Scotland US Branch
- Clan Matheson Society U. S. Branch
- Clan Menzies Society N.A.
- Minnesota Coalition of Scottish Clans
- Clan Moffat Society
- Clan Moncrieffe Society of North America
- Clan Montgomery Society International
- Clan Morrison Society of North America
- Clan Muir Society
- Muirhead Clan
- Murray Clan Society of North America
- Clan Napier in North America
- The Nesbitt/Nisbet Society
- The New York Caledonian Club
- Elissa A. Perry
- Clan PolIock International
- The Renaissance Scots Living History Association Inc.
- St. Louis Scottish Games
- Clan Scott Society Inc.
- Clan Shaw Society
- Clan Sinclair Association Inc. (USA);
- Clan Stewart Society in America
- Turnbull Clan Association
- Virginia-Carolina Scottish Society
- Clan Young
The Lord Lyon King of Arms
Protecting the heraldic tradition of Scotland
An interview with Sarah Powell
Public records have been kept officially in Scotland
since the late thirteenth century - an important
duty for those involved, although standards of "keeping" have varied
tremendously, with hungry rodents and damp being constant threats in
Until the mid-sixteenth century Scotlandís records used
to be kept in the royal treasury in Edinburgh Castle where a clerk "bred
up a cat" to keep the rats at bay. Conditions have improved since,
fortunately, with the National Archives of Scotland housed in the
decidedly grandiose General Register House opposite the Balmoral Hotel on
Princes Street in Edinburgh.
Designed by Robert Adam and opened in 1788, the
classically-styled building boasts 3-ft thick walls and a 76-ft high
central dome with an elaborate plasterwork ceiling.
Set slightly behind General Register House stands a
much smaller but nevertheless striking building. Its nineteenth-century
design mirrors that of its older and grander neighbour, having a domed
central search room surrounded by high-ceilinged corridors and offices
which face outwards, giving a welcome impression of space and light. This
is New Register House, built to house the records of civil registration in
Scotland, and also home to a rather different and particularly
colourful branch of record-keeping: that of The Court
of the Lord Lyon, the official body charged with protecting andre-cording
the heraldic tradition in Scotland.
The offices of The Court of the Lord Lyon, although
remarkably small, are anything but ordinary. Tall glass-fronted
bookshelves housing collections of heavy tomes line one corridor; cabinets
display intricately embroidered tabards worn by previous Lord Lyons;
hand-painted crests of past knights of the Most Ancient and Most Noble
Order of the Thistle adorn cabinet tops; and leather bound registers
conceal genealogies incorporating coats of anns, hand-painted on thick
vellum paper. Hand-painted coats of arms and accompanying descriptions
- the work of members of a team of freelance
artists and calligraphers who come in on demand -
are carefully stored in a plansí chest.
So what exactly goes on at The Court of the Lord Lyon?
Robin Blair, 34th Lord Lyon, explains
that "in the earliest times, the principal function of the Lord Lyon in
Scotland was to confirm the correct heir
to the Scottish throne, satisfying himself
that the genealogy of the claimant was honourable and accurate.
The significance of this role was, and still is,
reflected in the royal coat of anus worn by the Lord Lyon. This identifies
him as Ďhigh sennachieí, the officer responsible for identification of the
heir to the throne.
The name ĎLyoní was adopted because the royal coat of
arms for Scotland principally depicted a lion rampant."
Robin Blair relates that "the history of the Lord Lyon
dates back several centuries. Early historical information is incomplete,
but we know that there was a Lord Lyon appointed by King Robert the Bruce
in 1318 or thereabouts, and from 1388 onwards there are records of all the
subsequent Lord Lyons.
"Heraldry itself dates back far earlier than that,
reflecting the custom for knights in armour, when fighting on horseback,
to wear a distinctive Ďcoatí on top of their armour to enable their
followers to identify them on the field of battle. That is why we speak of
a Ďcoat of armsí, the more popular name for armorial bearings. The custom
of wearing such coats of arms was widespread across Europe, notably at the
time of the Crusades when armies were making long journeys and the
soldiers were unfamiliar with the territory on which they were fighting."
The Lyon Office in the twenty-first century Today, the
responsibilities of the Lord Lyon are threefold: one is to exercise what
is called the "royal prerogative" in granting coats of arms in
Scotland; the second is to operate a judicial
function as a court to ensure that arms are used lawfully and to make
judicial decisions in relation to the right to arms, titles and dignities;
the third is a responsibility for state ceremonial such as the opening of
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and related service in St
The Lyon Office in Edinburgh differs from The College
of Arms in London in that unlike the English College of Arms, it is in
effect a court of law and operates daily as such under an Act of the
Scottish Parliament which, in 1672, established a register of arms called
The Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, which is still
While the court rarely hears evidence in person, its
role is to handle as a judicial process any application made to it for the
grant of arms.
That said, from time to time, it does process cases
where evidence is heard in front of the Lord Lyon sitting as judge. Prior
to the 1672 Act, the Scots already had coats of arms. "Indeed," says Robin
Blair, "if you owned land in Scotland, you were expected to have arms. But
there was no proper control of the system. It was only in the sixteenth
century that legislation was passed giving the Lord Lyon the right to
prosecute people who had arms which were not officially approved.
The register was subsequently set up to serve as a
complete record of these. "The maximum fine we can levy today for a breach
of the legislation is £100," explains the Lord Lyon.
"This is pretty small but what is important is that we
can have the arms removed. While I am not sure that we would be entitled
to demolish a whole building, we could certainly insist on arms being
removed and flags being taken down.
At one time the Lord Lyon had the power to put people
in prison - although I am not sure that this
power still exists and it certainly has not been used for a long time!
"The situation is rather different in England. There the Earl Marshall of
the College of Arms is entitled to convene the Court of Chivalry to deal
with any abuse.
However, this has only met once in the last century,
just after the Second World War and, on that occasion, the proceedings
were supervised and heard by Lord Goddard, a judge of the High Court in
England. The College and the Earl Marshall did not hear the case
Unlike the Lord Lyon, the Earl Marshall has no legal
right to prosecute. Scotland, by comparison, is fortunate to have a system
with the power to ensure that arms are used correctly. In countries
without this authority, it is far less easy to Ďpoliceí heraldic use.
"Illegal use of arms often arises from ignorance of the
system; people will put up a coat of arms because they think it looks
rather nice, not realising that they havenít got the right to do so.
Usually, as soon as this is brought to their attention, they immediately
stop. If awareness of the system were more widespread, these sorts of
cases would never occur."
Continued next issue
Kurt Muir assumes COSCA Web master duties now
As of 1 April 2002, no fooling, I am the COSCA
This is at the request of Jim
and Michaele Finegan and with the approval of Bob Heston.
I plan to finish the excellent work started by the
Finegans while adding my own touch to the site. I want this site to
reflect not only the information put out by COSCA, but to contain
information that the member organizations of COSCA would like to see on
Now Iím not a psychic so I need the feedback of the
members of COSCA.
Do you like the site? If not, why not and what changes
would you recommend.
Do you have any events that need to be shared with the
members of COSCA?
Is there something special you would like to see on the
Let me know what you want to see and
Iíll do my best to make it happen.
I can be reached at
The other 70% - The Scottish District Families
Judi Lloyd - President of the Scottish District
The Scottish District Families Association reached the
100 membership mark by the end of 2001. Unfortunately we lost about 40% of
them at renewal time, but we are quickly picking up again. Our northeast
and southeast areas are the fastest growing right now. We have had two of
our members take on the task of representing us at the Triad Games (Mark
Smiley with Clan Grant) and Stone Mountain (Mike Purvis with COSCA) and a
new member, Tom Ward, who is anxious to set up a tent at the Richmond
Games. We have a new member from New Brunswick, Canada. He begged me and
sent U.S. funds. He has nothing on the districts in Canada. I would say
that he is right where we were 5 years ago. The Clans as a whole
are very glad to know that we exist and have been extremely helpful with
educating people about the fact that there is a place for people who are
not associated with clans.
Iíve been receiving inquiries on the Scottish District
Families Association, district tartans, where to find them, how to fit
kilts, where to go in Scotland to get married (that one ended up costing
way too much, so the couple is getting married at the Loch Norman Highland
Games and going to honeymoon and repeat their vows near the River Tweed
since we found his name in the Tweedside District in Dr. Phil Smithís
Tartan for Me) - this is my second Scottish
wedding planning - (so Iím becoming an expert
here), how to contact clans for an event, and many other types of
inquiries that donít come to mind right now. Most of the inquiries come to
us from the web site and some from people who have stopped by the tent at
a Games. People in the Scottish community are becoming very aware of the
fact that there are district and family Scots who either never were
associated with clans or whose clans have died out.
We receive approximately 100 info cards from Scotty
Gallamore each quarter and send out information on the SDFA to each one of
them. We usually have enough reply with membership requests to pay for the
cost of the letters, etc. Recently weíve started accepting Scots whose
only link is to a family rather than a district since they fit into our
ultimate goal to have separate districts with a district head and their
own tent at a games.
Weíre working on obtaining a hat crest. We know what we
want it to look like, but are having difficulty getting information on a
firm to create the crest and not want exclusive rights to it, or require
that we purchase 100 or more of them immediately or up front an exorbitant
setup fee. So any of you clan people who have some advice on that topic
please e-mail me at
Several vendors are now starting to carry and to bring
samples of district tartans to games. Some are still not convinced that
the market is large enough to warrant purchasing or carrying the district
tartans. I have a list of a few that I know carry them, Dunedin Scottish
in FL, The Scottish Lion in NH, and Ann Stewart in NY. If anyone has seen
other vendors in other parts of the country who are carrying the district
tartans please let me know also at the above e-mail so that I can include
it in the SDFA newsletter for members looking for their tartan.
Iíve taken on Beth Gayís request for someone to write a
column in The Family Tree on the Lowland Scots on a bi-monthly
basis. People in the Scottish community are becoming very aware of the
fact that there are district and family Scots who either never were
associated with clans or whose clans have died out. Iím hoping that the
article will make them more aware and inform them about the contributions
of the Lowland Scots.
Editor, Beth Gay, DCTJ, FSA Scot
PO Box 2828
229-985-6540 (o) 229-782-5674 (h)
Dr. Herbert MacNeal
Dr. Herbert MacNeal, Sandy Marshall, Ron Kerr,
Leonard "Chuck" Bearman, Craig Scott & Col. Bob McWilliam
Lt. Col. Robert Heston
3 Eastbrook Court
Stafford, VA 22554
George Douglas, FSA Scot
Secretary & Executive Secretary
218 Camelot Drive
Tavernier, FL 33070
John H. Napier, Ramer, AL
David Bouschor, Duluth, MN
Royce N. McBeill, Charlotte, NC
Anne M. Morrison, Orlando, FL
Philip D. Smith, Coatesville, PA
Bonnie Thompson, San Francisco, CA
Sandy Gallamore, Charlotte, NC
The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations
PO Box 2828
Moultrie, GA 31776-2828