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Scottish District Families Association
Newsletter - Winter 2002

SDFA Updates

At the Richmond, VA games I met kiltmaker Deborah Kommalan. See article below.
I have written to our two members who reside in New York City to check on their safety and have had no response from either of them. We can only hope that they are both doing OK.
We have had a volunteer to assist with SDFA geneology and there is on-going discussion concerning the responsibilities of an SDFA geneologist since the membership of our association is so different from a clan’s.

New Members

Welcome to John Harmer & Family from Chalfont, PA, who is associated with the Lennox District, Christopher Hornett of Myrtle Beach, SC, (Dunbar, Inverness, Roxburgh), who is the son of Lynn Rowland, is now a member of the SDFA on his own, Carole Dunagin St. Clair from Spartanburg, SC, whose names are associated with numerous districts (Mentieth, Inverness, Strathearn, Glasgow, Roxburgh, and Mar) and clans (Stewart, Douglas, Graham, Murray, Keith, Gordan, and Hay), Deborah Strachan Frangioso, (Mar), from Norwood, MA, Dwayne Firth from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada (Roxburgh) - before you all go running off to your friends in Canada read the article on Dwayne’s membership later in the newsletter - and the family of Jeff McDaris, wife Lisa, son John, who is keeping Jeff busy with piping schools and competition, and his younger son, William.

Tartan Day

April 6th is National Tartan Day. As you have already noticed your Tartan Day pin(s) has been included with the newsletter. For those of you who do not know about this date it was a day set aside (originally by provinces in Canada) as a day to celebrate being of Scottish heritage. The day was chosen because it was the day in 1320 that the Declaration of Arbroath was signed. In this declaration of independence from England, Robert the Bruce was declared king of Scotland. The US adopted the day as a national day on March 20, 1998. To see what is going on across the country on that date type in Tartan Day in your internet web browser. Right now it is still filled with 2001 events, but should change soon to the 2002 events. For those of you in the N.C. area there have been events in Charlotte, Wilmington, Franklinton, and Raleigh in the past years. I’m sure there will be more this year also. If you would like to get some ideas on what to do personally, e-mail or write to me. As North Carolina’s Tartan Day Coordinator I am quite focused on the activities here, but can certainly get you some information on events near you. I will have the venue and schedule for Raleigh very soon.
From our NWRR, Paul Cales, FSA Scot the following regarding Tartan Day in his area. "Personally, I will be attending the Annual Celtic Festival in Salem OR at the State Fairgrounds. "There will be events here sponsored by the Douglas County Scottish Society. Not yet firm."

Northeastern Region Report
(CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, VT)

The first highland games of the new year that the NE SDFA will attend will be the Rhode Island Highland Games at Westerly, R.I. For those NE members who have expressed an interest in working a game later in the summer, please plan to join us on May 18, 2002 at the High School in Westerly and become acquainted with " working a game for the SDFA "

In New York City there is a parade on Tartan Day, April 6th, planned with 10,000 pipers. Last year’s parade had 400.

We wish all the other Regions a successful summer and the anticipation of more District Scots understanding they have a "home " of their own.

Janet and David Battistoni
18 Harvard St.
Red Hook, NY 12571
e-mail -

Northwestern Region Report
(WA, ID, OR, MT, WY, AK)

[For those of you attending games in the Northwest check the Ferguson tent for Paul. Other Ferguson conveners are also aware of his involvement with the SDFA.]

The New Year is referred to as Hogmanay. Cakes and pastries are favoured. Black buns and Scottish fruitcakes are baked weeks in advance and enjoyed on New Years. In some areas of Scotland, large barrels of tar are set on fire to "burn out the old year." The "first-footer," or the first person to set foot in the house will determine the luck of the New Year. Traditionally, it has been held that your new year will be a prosperous one if, at the strike of midnight, a "tall, dark stranger" appears at your door with a lump of coal for the fire, or a cake or coin. In exchange, you offer him food, wine, or a wee dram of whisky, or the traditional Het Pint, which is a combination of ale, nutmeg and whisky. It's been suggested that the fear associated with blond strangers arose from the memory of blond-haired Viking¹s raping and pillaging Scotland circa 4th to 12th centuries. What's more likely to happen these days is that groups of friends or family get together and do a tour of each others' houses. Each year a household takes it in turn to provide a meal for the group. In many parts of Scotland, gifts or "Hogmananys" are exchanged after the turn of midnight. The well-known poem/song, "Auld Lang Syne," written by Scottish poet, Robert Burns, 200 years ago, is sung at midnight.

One hundred Scots, spouses and friends attended the Fifth Annual Robert Burns Dinner at Seven Feathers Casino and Resort in Canyonville, Oregon on Saturday January 26. This was a tradi- tional Burns Night celebration. The haggis, donated by Lamb Etc, was piped in with pomp and ceremony and the Ode to the Haggis, by Robert Burns, was delivered by George Ellis, of Clan MacPherson. As guests arrived they were asked to record their clan affiliation, if any, in the guest book. They were recognized as I read the names in my capacity of Society Northwestern Region Report, Treasurer. I also explained the origin and purpose of the Scottish Clan, and pointed out that many persons with Scottish heritage do not have access to clan membership and suggested that they might be able to establish an 'identity' and find a tartan through the Scottish District Families Association.

Paul Cales, FSA Scot

Paul’s Cales, FSA Scot
POB 607
Winchester, OR 97495
e-mail -

South-Atlantic Region Report
(NC, SC, GA, TN)

29th annual Stone Mountain Highlands Games and Scottish Festival - Mike Purvis.
The weather was perfect--about 75 and sunny, and I'm sure the games were good as well, but I was so busy, I didn't get to see much. The honored guest was the Earl of Caithness, Lord Malcom Ian Sinclair, Chief of Clan Sinclair. (Caithness is a district in the far north of Scotland). With the exception of the nearby clan tents, I missed all the events and the parades. We had a great location--right on a strategic corner--within the COSCA tent. Therefore, just about everyone who came to the games, passed by our tent. At any given moment, we had 4-5 people waiting in line for information or to inquire about SDFA. Kudos need to go out to Pat Maddox and Christi Helton (COSCA volunteers) for getting the good location. In two days, I was able to have over 40 information cards filled out. Many were very excited about the prospect of belonging to a group. Most of the people are from the Atlanta, and my hope is that they decide to become very involved members.

Richmond Highland Games & Celtic Festival - Judi Lloyd
In October I attended the Richmond Games for the first time. Clan Hay was holding its annual meeting there so I went as a spectator. As is usual it is different from other games. They have the clans around the event field just as many of the games I’ve been to do. The one thing that stood out was the variety and type of vendors that they had there. There were harp makers, many different clothiers, and a larger emphasis on celtic merchandise rather than just particularly Scottish merchandise. They also had falcon and hawk demonstrations going on throughout the day. The big day for them is on Saturday with all of the usual events. On Sunday many of their bands had left so there was not the massed bands as there had been the day before. They did have two large entertainment tents for singers and other groups. The area is a large open field so though there were many people there it didn’t feel crowded or confining.

Judi Lloyd
710B McCulloch St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
e-mail -

Flowers of the Forest

On January 16th 2002, Joan MacKinnon of Clan MacKinnon passed away. Joan was known to Scots all over the East Coast, Canada and Scotland. She and her husband Donald helped Janet & David Battistoni when they were first representing the SDFA. Joan spoke to anyone who would listen about the SDFA and the place that it held in Scottish Society, and made a point of introducing Janet and David to people she felt could help in the recognition of the SDFA in the Northeast Region. Through Joan and Don's help the SDFA in the NE has become a very recognizable part of the region's Scottish games and heritage. Many of the NE members have met Joan and Don, and will remember them both. The SDFA and the Scottish/American community have lost a great friend who was the epitome of a Highland lady. The NE SDFA will miss her greatly.

Hello from Atlantic Canada

Dwayne Firth found us on our website and was very happy to see that there was an organization for district people even if it was in the US. Dwayne is probably at the point that we were 5 years ago, Scottish in heritage, but with no place to call "home" at the games. My vision with Dwayne (though this is the first time he’s aware of it) is to assist him in making the people of Canada aware of the role district and family Scots played in Scotland’s past and will continue to play in her future. The following is a part of Dwayne’s letter accompanying his membership request. "I am very interested in the goals of your organization as there is little or nothing on the Scottish Districts. I live in the oldest area of Canada which has a long tradition of Scottish immigration." (Remember that when Scots emigrated they usually entered North America in two areas, Canada and the Cape Fear Valley in NC). "Here in Atlantic Canada there are many descendants of the great Clans and as a direct result of this a tourism industry has grown up around them. No doubt you have seen Nova Scotia’s tourism ads and have heard of Cape Breton Island which still has a population of Gaelic speaking people. The problem is that the Scottish District Families have been ignored. Most Atlantic Canadian companies that deal in Scottish products know all about the Scottish Clans but they know very little about the District families. I have received a blank stare on more than one occasion while trying to shop for Scottish District family products. I hope your organization" (now Dwayne’s also) "can educate these folks on the rest of Scotland’s" peoples. (Sound familiar, folks?)  Dwayne is looking for any information he can find on the Roxburgh, or border areas, of Scotland. For those of you who are also associated with the Roxburgh area, there are many books about the border areas and about the border reivers. Most of them talk to the clans in the area, but they will still give you an idea of the history and culture of that area.

Another Kilt Maker

While at the Richmond Games I met Deborah Kommalan, who is a kilt maker, and has been making them for over 20 years. The unique thing about her is that she can get the wool in small quantities, enough to make two kilts. This would help those of you who have a tartan that is not usually available because the Scotland mills will weave only in large quantities. Her e-mail is, phone number (410) 255-5065, and snail mail address, 2140 Poplar Ridge Rd., Pasadena, MD 21122.

SDFA Merchandise

Unfortunately, the SDFA has ended its relationship with the embroidery company that has done our shirts, hats, and tote bags in the past. I do have our template and am actively seeking another vendor to work with us on creating shirts and items where members may have their districts names on the items as well as the SDFA logo, without charging an exorbitant fee. I have on-hand several of the items if anyone wishes to purchase them. They include two hats - Roxburgh in red on white, and Aberdeen in dark blue on blue - one white golf shirt 3 button, size XL - Ayrshire District and 3 white golf shirts, Mar in bright green - 4 button xl and small, and a 3 button lg. The second item that I am working on is finding a manufacturer to create the SDFA hat crest/brooch - again without a high set up cost and a required order number.

On the Road Again

For those who have been members for over 9 months you may remember that I had an ongoing column on my trip to Scotland in 2000, with the districts as the focus of my journal. Then other things came up requiring space. So since the winter newsletter is a little light I shall continue with a part of the trip here.
I left off with a dinner and dancing at Delgatie Castle in Northeastern Scotland. This is one of several castles that have rooms available for the public to stay in. On a Saturday we are taking the back roads to the Aboyne Games in the district of Huntly. To orient you a little further we are in the Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire area of Scotland aka the Grampians area and travel a bit into the Mar and Huntly districts, as well as the Deeside area. There many of us will meet Merlin, the Earl of Errol, Chief of Clan Hay, for the first time. More tidbits from Maggie (our guide). Gaelic - auch = field. Slakinthieva - Slange-e-va = cheers Failte = welcome; Feud mille failte = a hundred thousand welcomes. We are riding through a small copse of trees behind a mobile sheep dipping truck. Finally John (our coach driver) is able to pass around him (barely). The sky is overcast with clouds. The parts that we can see are a blue-tinged white in color. More from Maggie. On Hallowe’en - guising is the thing to do. They also carry a turnip with a face carved out and a candle inside. Highland Games started in the 11th century when Malcolm Conmail came up to find strong men. The Braemar Gathering (which is the largest games in Scotland - Grandfather Mountain is referred to by the Scots as America’s Braemar) was canceled when Diana died. We are riding along the Dee River approaching the Royal Deeside where Balmoral stands. The Dee is a shallow little river at this point. Almost everywhere that we travel is litter free and actually the streets, sidewalks and homes look freshly washed and swept. The village of Aboyne is approximately 30 miles from Aberdeen. It’s Highland Games attract visitors from all over the world. To the north of the village are the Lumphanan Peel Ring (where a 12th century castle once stood and where King MacBeth was slain) and The Tomnaverie Stone Circle (which has just been excavated). During July and August it is the home of the Royal Deeside Festival which features music, art, drama and films.

We arrive at the Aboyne Games and find that there are 5 small clan tents and several vendor tents with many of them selling little items such as we would see at the State Fair. The games are small. We lunch on fish and chips. The fish is very light and greasy. Finding a cold drink is very difficult. We finally find one vendor with them. The athletics are the same as we see in the States. Games in Scotland are not as  popular nor heavily attended as they are in the states.

On the way back to our hotel in Inverurie we travel through a small town near Balmoral where people are lined up on both sides of the street. John stops the bus and Maggie inquires as to what was going on. The Queen is behind us somewhere on her way to Balmoral. John pulls the coach into a parking area and we quickly walk up the roadway towards Balmoral. We would have been let over to the courtyard except that the Queen’s car is about to make the turn. So we stand and watch it go on into the courtyard and are allowed to stand and take pictures also though it is quite a ways in. There are no "secret service men" or protective attendants to be seen, but when I inquire about this to a policewoman standing at the bridge entry she tells me they are there, but not seen.

On Sunday morning we have a light breakfast and pile back into the bus for the ride back to Delgatie. Maggie talks about the various religions of Scotland including Beltaine in which on the 1st of May if a maiden goes out in the early AM and washes her face in the dew she will find a handsome lover or husband. We are addressed by Merlin from the palace balcony. The wind is blowing and to me it’s quite cool, but there are many in short sleeves and not feeling cool at all. We have a cold buffet lunch and a glass of wine. By the time the whine (was that a Freudian slip, or what, as everyone is whining about leaving for Perth at 8:15 in the morning). The castle feels very comfortable since this is our second visit. Then we’re off to the outside for piping and country dancing exhibitions on the grass. The dancers are so beautiful against the natural green of the lawn and bushes, especially the ladies in flowing white satin dresses and tartan sashes. There are archers teaching guests how to shoot the long bow. Then the falconer (who was in Huntly at the Gordon 2000 on Friday) arrives with a tawny eagle, European eagle Owl, a tannet falcon, and two other falcons, as well as a Harris Hawk. It is a beautiful, beautiful day especially when the sun has been out for awhile and warmed up the air. The sky is blue and covered with large clumps of cotton ball clouds all squeezed together. They fly the falcons, and it is wonderful to watch them fly and swoop closely over our heads as they come in for the lure. One time a falcon swoops between Larry and me so closely I can hear the whoosh of the air over his wings as he goes by.

Upcoming Events

(** denotes that an SDFA tent will be set up or an SDFA member/representative will be at the event in a clan tent)

Jacksonville Scottish Highland Games - 02-23-02 - Jacksonville, FL - (904) 725-5744

Arizona Highland Games - 02-23/24-02 - Scottsdale, AZ - ((602) 944-4847

19th Annual Highland Festival & Games 03-02-92 - Plantation, FL - (954) 626-6060

50th Annual Tartan Ball - 03-02-02 - Erie, PA - (814) 453-6974

Scottish Country Fair - 03-22/03-24-02 - Sumpter, NC - (803) 775- 0908

Dunedin Highland Games - 04-12-02 - Dunedin, FL - (727) 733-3197

**Loch Norman Highland Games - 04-19/21-02 - Huntersville, NC (704) 875-3113

Culloden Highland Games & Scottish Festival - 04-27/28-02 - Culloden, GA -(478) 885-4267

Getting Information on the SDFA

You can get information about the SDFA at the games by visiting the COSCA tent, or by writing to Jeff McDaris, 35 Ivy Lane, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 or Judi Lloyd, 710B Mc Culloch St., Raleigh, NC 27603. The address for the Home Page is
Jeff’s e-mail address is Judi’s e-mail address is
For residents in the northeast, your representatives are Dave and Janet Battistoni. Their e-mail address is Their address is 18 Harvard St., Red Hook, NY 12571. For residents in the northwest, your representative is Paul Cales, FSA Scot. His e-mail address is His address is POB 607, Winchester, OR 97495. All other areas Judi Lloyd, 710B McCulloch St., Raleigh, NC 27603. E-mail is

Future Newsletters

We welcome any articles pertaining to districts, Scottish history, dress, trips, menus, Scots in America, etc. If you attend a games send me a write up on what it is, what they have to offer, what your impressions were. Send articles via mail to SDFA Newsletter, c/o Judi Lloyd, 710B McCulloch St, Raleigh, NC 27603. You can also e-mail articles to or

Games Conveners

If any of you would like to represent the SDFA at your games please write or e-mail me, the Battistoni’s if you are in the northeastern area of the country, or Paul Cales if you are in the northwestern area of
the country. To test the waters and get your feet wet find the COSCA or SDFA tent at one of the games and spend some time talking to them and helping out. The volunteers there are a wealth of knowledge and will be very willing to let you ‘hang around’ and watch/help them.

Moving or Missing Your Newsletter

If you move please send me your new address so that correspondence from the SDFA can get to you. Also if you do not receive a newsletter within a reasonable time after it is due out (end of January,
April, July, and October) please e-mail or write


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