Beth Gay, DCTJ, FSA Scot
PO Box 2693
Moultrie, GA 31768
Among the first things that
I can well remember is my daily hair braiding ritual.
My granny would turn a
straight chair backward so she would have access to my waist length hair,
stick-straight, usually - in those precreme rinse days - tangled and
snarled after a bath and shampoo.
I would wiggle and squirm.
Grandmother would say,
"Now, baby, do sit still."
I would wiggle and squirm.
Grandmother would say, "If
you will be still, I will tell you a story!"
I would sit still as lichen
covered rock while her gentle fingers would patiently tame my mess of
hair. She would tell me stories of her own childhood on a farm in the West
Florida wilderness. She would tell me tales that her mother and father had
told her that had been told to them by their parents…and their parents and
their parents…back into the mists of time.
As she gently unsnarled my
baby-ash-blonde hair that turns, to this day, very red in the sunshine,
she would tell me about her three-great grandfather who "was a wee
redheaded Scotsman who walked with a cane and ate from gold plates." This
grandfather, she said, left land and money to his son who could not go
back for it.
She would tell me about how
her great grandfather who "sold his riverboat, put the money in a big,
red, bandana, and who came in a wagon all the way from Augusta, South
Carolina, to Madison County in West Florida for land granted to him by a
She would tell me of the
days when baths were a Saturday night affair and when little girls had one
Sunday dress and one everyday dress - and a time when shoes were for
She told me of breakfasts
of collard greens and corn bread and the days when you went to bed at dark
because there were no electric lights!
I most loved the "story of
the candleholders." (This story best illustrates the value of family to
the old Highlanders, I now realize.)
My granny told me of a
great Highland chief who had visited England.
On his way home he stopped
to visit a friend who had been with him at an English university.
Of course, his friend
invited the Highlander to a banquet to be held in his honor. At the meal,
the Englishman bragged about the very fine silver candleholders on his
table. He told the Scottish chief that he had nothing nearly so valuable
and wonderful for his own table in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands.
My granny said that the
Englishman went on and on about his wondrous silver pieces. The Englishman
bragged until the Highlander said, "Why, of course, I have candlesticks as
fine as yours. Mine are even grander and so valuable that you canna' put a
price on them."
The two friends made a bet
as to which of them had the finest candleholders.
Many months later, when the
Englishman came north to Scotland to return the visit, he was invited to a
banquet to be held in his honor.
The Highlander's home was
ordinary. The furnishings were simple. His food was plain fare.
The Englishman reminded the
Scottish chief of the bet as he saw no silver candles on the table…only
hand-wrought wooden holders - stained and worn ones at that.
Immediately, and with a
great big smile, the chief called for his two fine sons - tall, strong and
handsome. The boys came to stand on either side of their father's chair -
both holding fiery torches in their upraised hands.
The Highlander won the bet!
As an adult, I found a
marvelous painting by John Pettie called The Chief's
Candlesticks…illustrating this very story that my granny had always
Her many-times-told stories
were the beginnings of my own interest in family history and genealogy and
in my own Scottish heritage.
I'll bet you have your own
cherished childhood memories of your grandmother, grandfather or other
dear one telling you stories of yesterday.
You are your own "best evidence"
David Lifton wrote a
fascinating account of John Kennedy's assassination called Best
Evidence. In his book, Lifton says that in a murder, the body is the
"best evidence." The same theory holds true in genealogy.
Look at your own bare feet.
Their story begins with the
Germanic tribes of Angles and Saxons who invaded Britain in the fifth and
sixth centuries. The language they brought has evolved today into our
modern English. Some of their laws formed the basis of English common law.
And their feet, some scientists now say, literally formed the basis of
A retired Gloucestershire
podiatrist, Phyllis Jackson, says that during World War II, refugees of
Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Cornish ancestry came to the small town of
Hereford where she was living. Some of those refugees became her patients.
She said, "I realized that
the foot shapes of the Celtic patients were quite different from the
English ones I was accustomed to, and they all had bunions." (The seven
Celtic nations are: Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Man,
the coast of Brittany and Spanish Galicia)
Traditional English feet,
she says, tend to be broad and somewhat pointed - with the toes forming a
steep angle from the first to the fifth. The Celtic evacuees, in contrast,
had toe tips that were almost level with one another and their feet tended
to be longer and slimmer - except for a bulge at the base of the big toe,
where bunions form.
The English shoe, modeled
for an English foot, just didn't fit the Celtic shape. It was from trying
to wear the English shoes that the Celtic bunions formed.
When Dr. Jackson retired
from podiatry, she took up amateur archaeology, but kept her focus on the
feet of the skeletal remains of Saxons and Celts from a sixth century
cemetery in Lechlade, Gloucestershire. She found that she could really
tell the difference between the Saxon and the Celtic foot.
Aside from the obvious
differences, Dr. Jackson found a distinctive slightly scrunched cuboid
bone in the Saxon feet and a more square cuboid bone in the Celtic.
Reflecting my own
genealogical "muttness," in that I have Scottish, Welsh, English, Swedish,
French, Native American and probably many other genetic backgrounds in my
makeup, my own footsies are the fat Saxon shape, with the straight-across
toes and bulge by my big toe of my Celtic heritage!
What do your own feet tell
Speaking of genetic clues
to your own family history, you might like to write for a pamphlet called
Genetic Counseling, which is available from The March of Dimes
National Office, 1275 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10605.
If you would like to track
genetic diseases and medical problems within your family at the same time
you work on your genealogy, you might contact Genealogy Plus, PO Box 68,
Langdon, AB TOJ 1XO Canada for a copy of The Family Medical Census Kit
by A. A. Anderson.
This gives you all the
information and forms necessary to conduct a family survey in regard to
genetic and medical problems.
More clues right inside yourself…
What did you call
If you called him "Father,"
chances are, you are from Germanic heritage.
If you called him "Papa,"
chances are, you are of French or English extraction.
If you called him, "Daddy,"
the chances are excellent that you are of Scottish family!
Scottish clues in your kitchen?
My dear friend,
Donald F. MacDonald, of North Carolina and, for many years, Edinburgh,
Scotland, was telling me about how he learned that fried chicken had come
to the American South from the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Donald said that James
Boswell, from the Lowlands of Scotland and his companion, England's Samuel
Johnson, enjoyed roast chicken and broiled chicken in Edinburgh and
London, but when the two reached Skye, they tasted "fried fowl," as
prepared by Mrs. Lachlan MacKinnon of Corry, near Broadford.
That year was 1773. It was
less than ten months time until the MacKinnon's joined the hundreds of
other island folk who were leaving for North Carolina. The MacKinnon's
joined the heroine of the Jacobite Rebellion, Flora MacDonald and Flora's
husband, Allan MacDonald on the voyage to The New World. (It so happened
that Mrs. MacKinnon was Allan's sister.)
They brought their recipes
with them to the Carolinas in America.
Our Southern biscuits are
simply the scones of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
When you "joint" chicken,
how many pieces do you make?
In the poor Highlands of
Scotland, housewives cut their chicken into 12 pieces. In the Lowlands of
Scotland, families could afford to make only 8 pieces from chicken.
Today, in kitchens where
the cook was taught to "joint" chicken by her mother, whose mother or
mother's mother or mother's mother's mother came from the Highlands of
Scotland…a chicken is still cut into a dozen portions!
Next time you cut up a
chicken, count the pieces. It might be a clue as to where your family is
We have a proud heritage
It is said that George
Washington, at Valley Forge, said, "If all else fails, I will retreat up
the valley of Virginia, plant my flag on the Blue Ridge, rally around the
Scotch-Irish of that region and make my last stand for liberty amongst a
people who will never submit to British tyranny whilst there is a man left
to draw a trigger."
It is true that the word
"heathen" comes from the old Latin word - coming from the days when even
the mighty Roman army could not prevail in the Highlands of Scotland -
which means "People of the heather who could not be defeated!"
Our American English is
peppered by words which proclaim our Scottish/Gaelic heritage! Have you
ever heard someone say fil-um for "film" or "arth-ur-it-is for
"arthritis?"? How about umber-ella? How about ath-a-letics? Have you ever
heard someone say they were "a'going" somewhere?
Have you ever used the
words biddy, slue, smidgen, snood, clabber, drove, nook or poke (as in a
If you have heard or used
any of these….and there are hundreds more…you're speaking Scots Gaelic!
(By the way, if it's Irish, it's "Gay-lic" and if it's Scottish, it's
"Gal-lic" - both with the accent on the first syllable.)
What should I do first if I am Scottish?
If you are of Scottish
ancestry, or German, or Welsh or Lithuanian, Native American, etc., etc.,
you begin at the exact same place - with yourself!
You first obtain a set of
genealogical forms. You will need a pedigree chart which will trace your
direct ancestors and family group sheets which will keep track of your
cousins, aunts and uncles.
These genealogical forms
are not hard to find. You may find them in "how-to" books at your local
bookstore or your nearest Mormon Family History Center…or, you may order
them any company that deals with genealogical forms. My favorite company
is The Skeleton Closet, where the forms are designed for genealogists by a
genealogist. Contact them at PO Box 780427, Orlando, FL 32878-0427.
Unless you are the
immigrant from "the old country," you'll need to do your genealogy back
through the generations until the immigrant.
You may begin by simply
researching your surnames and matching them with Scottish clan
organizations and then by joining your clan. We'll talk more about finding
your Scottish family in just a little bit.
Your own Scottish library? It's possible!
Ward and Terrie
Weems own Weems & Sons Booksellers. Ward was kind enough to send along his
Top Ten Scottish Genealogy Books for you.
For a modest expenditure,
you can have, in your own home, books that will help you for the whole of
your lifelong quest for Scottish roots.
Wards Top Ten: The
Surnames of Scotland, by George Black. ($50); Scot Irish
Surnames, by Bell ($18.95); Your Scottish Ancestry, A Guide for
North Americans, by Irvin ($19.95); Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors
by Kathleen Cory ($16.95); Scottish Roots - A Step by Step Guide to
Ancestor Research ($13.95).
Ward recommends: The
Original Scots Colonist 1612-1783 by Dobson ($28.50); Supplement to
The Original Scots Colonist 1607-1707 by Dobson ($22.50); Scots
Kith and Kin, edited by Collins ($10.95); The Scottish Clan and
Family Encyclopedia, updated edition ($65.00); and the starting point
for thousands of names, Tartan for Me! by Dr. Philip Smith
Ward says if you wish to
expand your library to include the general Scottish American experience,
you might like to add Tam Blake and Co., The Story of Scots in America
by Jim Hewitson ($19.95); Scotch Irish Pioneers by Bolton (1910)
($32.50); A Dance Called America by James Hunter ($19.95);
Cracker Culture - Celtic Ways in the Old South ($22.50);
Scotch Irish by Leyburn at UNC Press ($15.95); Carolina Scots by Kelly
($29.95) and the five Scots Irish volumes by Billy Kennedy ($15.95 each).
I'd like to add some
must-haves! The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (four in the
series so far, plus The Outlandish Companion - various prices);
The Mark of the Scots by Duncan A. Bruce - Their Astonishing
Contributions to History, Science, Democracy, Literature and the Arts
($24.95) and Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine - The
Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking by Joseph E. Dabney
All except the last
book are available from Weems & Sons, 296 Stone Fork Drive, Manchester, TN
and toll free at 1-888-705-0255. Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong
Wine is available from Cumberland House Publishing, Inc., 431 Harding
Industrial Drive, Nashville, TN 37211.
Scottish genealogy isn't your "regular bear"
There are some
things that you need to know before you begin the journey of discovery
that is your Scottish heritage.
You need to know about
septs. You need to know about clans. You even need to know a little about
heraldry. You'll need to know about non-traditional Scottish names and
spelling variations. You'll need to know about Highlands and Lowlands and
"districts" and a little something about tartans.
I read somewhere that
historians do not need to be genealogists, but that genealogists must be
historians. In Scottish genealogy, it is imperative that you know at least
a smattering of Scottish history.
You say, "Beth, I know what
"sept" is…except that you forgot to put a capital "S" and a period after
it. It's the abbreviation for September!"
"Sept." is the abbreviation
for that lovely fall month. However, "sept" is something else entirely.
With a small "s," sept
simply means an allied family to a Scottish family or clan.
Dr. Philip D. Smith, in his
expanded seventh edition of Tartan for Me! Writes, "'Sept' is a
term borrowed from Irish culture in the nineteenth century to explain the
use of a variety of surnames by members of a single clan."
It's easy to understand if
you think about life in the olden days in the Highlands of Scotland. Life
was hard and dangerous and always precarious.
Say, you are a family of
Hendersons living near a castle owned by a family of Macdonalds. A severe
storm sweeps over the land and you fear for the lives of yourself and your
family. You go to the stronger-built castle (or home) and ask for
admission for safety.
It might be that there is a
political upheaval in the area and there is danger of attack. You would go
to the stronger-built castle and ask for admission for safety.
In any event where you
needed a sanctuary, you would go to the stronger-built place and seek
sanctuary for yourself and your family.
The Chief of the family who
owned the castle would grant your request for a place in his home, but he
would ask that you swear your oath of fealty and loyalty to him, in return
for your family's safety.
Thus, by oath, you would
become an "allied family" to his own. (The word "sept" is completely
interchangeable with "allied family.")
And so, that family of
Hendersons would become allied to that family of Macdonalds.
Over time, the families
might, or might not, also become related by blood through the marriages of
sons and daughters of both families.
Some of the modern day
Scottish Clan organizations have hundreds of septs or allied families.
Some have only a few.
Some septs have their own
Clan as well. Still using Henderson as an example we find that there were
Henderson's who lived on Henderson land and who sought refuge in Henderson
castles/homes/places of safety. There were Henderson's who lived on
Macdonald land near Glencoe and who are today still allied with the
Macdonalds through their ancient ties of loyalty and fealty.
Some names may belong to
half a dozen Scottish Clans.
If you have one of those
names that may be allied to several Clans, you simply must do your
research to find out where your family is from. The where
will eventually tell you whose land that was…and thusly, to whom your
family is allied. Maps are readily available showing locations of major
clans and families.
The easiest way to unravel
your tangled Scottish heritage is to visit a Highland Games and find your
own family. Usually, there is an information booth that will supply you
with the name of the Clan or family to whom you belong.
How to find a Scottish Highland Games? What happens
when I go?
The Clan Maclachlan
Society sponsors a website by Jim and Michael Finegan that lists all the
Highland Games and Festivals in the United States (or as much as it is
humanly possible to keep track of with the mountainous amount of data
available on the subject). Just go to
http://www.shirenet.com/MacLachlan/games.html and browse to your
Following the nice weather
across the country, there are Highland Games and Festivals all over the
United States all year. Frequently, there are several events on the same
Some of the older, larger
events will see 50,000 - 80,000 visitors per day…some more. Other newer,
smaller festivals will count their attendance in the hundreds.
They are all fun. They are
all educational. They each have their own "flavor."
At the Games, you'll find
"Clan Row" with various families represented each in their own little
tent. At Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina, Stone
Mountain in Georgia, Pleasanton in California, Mesa in Arizona, Ligonier
in Pennsylvania…the largest events…you'll find more than 125-150+ clan
organizations represented. Some of the smaller events will perhaps have a
few dozen or half a dozen. They are all exciting.
Most Highland Games feature
some combinations of competitions in Highland Dance, Piping (solo and
ensemble), Drumming, Harp/Clarsach and Fiddle. Some events have
competitions in Gaelic singing and the Lochaber Trump.
There are heavy athletic
competitions and foot races. You'll see sheep herding demonstrations,
falconry displays and sword fighting exhibitions.
There will be Scottish food
and Scottish merchants selling everything from touristy gim-cracks to
exquisite crystal, stoneware, tartan clothing, toys, books, crafts and
Wherever you go, you'll
know from the start that Scottish Highland Games and Festivals are for the
This year, the San Diego
Highland Games theme was just that…"For the family."
How to find your clan
In the Highlands of
Scotland, people had to band together for mutual protection and safety.
The logical group to band together was the family…or, clan in Gaelic. In
the old Gaelic it was "clann" and prnounced "cla" as in "ahhh."
When you arrive at a
Highland Games ask if there is a COSCA tent? (COSCA is the Council of
Scottish Clans and Associations.) If there is, simply visit the tent and
tell the representative your surnames that you think may be Scottish. The
representative will help you determine which organization you should visit
If there is not a COSCA
tent…walk around Clan Row and look for your surname on the signage and
literature easily visible. If you don't find anything in this manner,
simply go to any Clan tent and ask the folks inside if they will help you.
The clansmen and clanswomen handling the tents will be delighted to assist
you in finding your own connection to Scottish heritage.
You might see a TECA tent.
(TECA is the Tartan Educational and Cultural Association). These nice folk
will help you determine your Clan as well.
When you get home from the
Games, go to the Internet and one of the search engines. Simply type in
your Clan name…and chances are, you'll find a wealth of information.
If you are told that you
are Lowland Scot, what do you do?
The Lowland Scots lived…in
the lowlands…where the life wasn't nearly as harsh as the lives of those
who lived in the rugged Highlands of Scotland. In most cases, there was
not the need to band together. In most cases, the Lowland families did not
Today, Lowland and Border
families such as the Andersons, the Blairs, the Littles, the Bells…just to
name a few, have formed Clan/Family organizations and you'll find them on
Clan Row at many Scottish Games.
Under the umbrella of The
Council of Scottish Clans and Associations, a Scottish District Families
Association has been formed. If you find that your family is from
Edinburgh or Glasgow or Roxburgh or Argyll or Tweedside, etc., write SDFA
c/o COSCA, PO Box 2828, Moultrie, Georgia. Membership is just $5 per year.
If you are of Lowland
family, but still wish to participate in all of the Highland fun…contact
the Clan Henderson Society, Dr. Horace Loftin, 218 Greenwood Dr., Panama
City, FL _______. Clan Henderson, following the ancient practice of
allowing anyone who wished to swear loyalty and fealty to the clan to
become part of the clan has a Henderson by Affection category.
You might like to
visit The Gathering of the Clans on the Internet at
This page will help you find information on clans, tartans and Scottish
Why join a Clan?
Perhaps the strongest and
certainly the furtherest reaching cultural revival of our times is the
modern resurgence of the Celtic people in general and the Scots in
For the last 30 years or
so, the American Scots have reorganized into their ancient Clans. Today,
at last count, there were 172 Scottish clan groups organized in the United
It was my pleasure to serve
Clan Donald USA in an office that required that I see all of the
membership application forms. On the form were a series of choices asking
why the person/family had joined Clan Donald. At least 99% of the boxes
beside the choice of "genealogy" were checked.
For the last 30 years or
so, the Scottish clan organizations have had genealogists working on their
particular family and allied families. You might, if you are fortunate, be
able to simply "plug in" to one of the families already researched. The
clan genealogists are thrilled when a new member submits new information
to the clan collection. The clan genealogists are delighted to help new
members work on their own families.
Robert D. McLaren,
7810 Kincardine Court, Alexandria, VA 22315-4025 (703-971-6924)
has for many years maintained a current list of Genealogists for
Scottish Clans .
He writes, "The amount of
information available from these genealogists varies greatly, with some
having extensive records. For example, the clan genealogist for Clan Scott
maintains a database of all SCOTTs and is a coordinator of the SCOTT One
Name Society. He has about 53,000 records on file dealing with more than
2,000 family lines. The clan genealogist/historian for Clan Barclay also
is a coordinator for the BARCLAY One Name Society. She has about 19,000
Barclay/Barkley and collateral names on file dealing with 125 family
lines. The Clan Morrison has a 6,000 name database of Morrison families in
the US and Canada."
If you would like a copy of
this information, contact Mr. McLaren with the above information. Please
be sure and send a replacement disc and postage if you ask him to mail
anything. The list is 60 double-sided pages.
The genealogical reasons
notwithstanding, you'll make wonderful friends, enrich your life and the
lives of your children and enjoy your membership in any of the groups.
Usually, dues are about $20.00 a year for the family, so the memberships
are easily affordable.
Scottish Clans and the Odom Library
There is a library in
southwest Georgia where you will find information available no place else.
It is the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library, founded on a million dollar
bequest from Mrs. Odom only about eleven years ago. At the Odom Library
you'll find the genealogical records of 114 groups, most of whom are
This is the library where
the clan genealogists keep on record the information they have gleaned
from all the years of their work. That information is available Monday
through Saturday, 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM to you. The library is located at
204 5th St., SE in Moultrie, Georgia.
The Odom Library has a fine
collection of genealogical materials on the eastern seaboard of the United
States and the migration routes west and an excellent War Between the
States collection. The Scottish Collection is the icing on the cake at The
You might wish to subscribe
to The Family Tree, published by The Odom Library. With a press run
of 80,500 and a readership of something like half a million, The Family
Tree carries news of interest to the Scottish community, the genealogical
and historical community and interesting news from everywhere. Columns on
Jewish, Spanish, Italian, Scottish genealogy appear in its pages as well
as many other ethnicities.
To subscribe, contact The
Odom Library, PO Box 2828, Moultrie, GA 31776. Call 912-985-6540 or fax
912-095-0936. There is no charge for a subscription, but postage
contributions of at least $6.00 or more are appreciated.
The Scottish Collection at Fort Wayne, Indiana
The Allen County Public
Library and its Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department in Fort
Wayne, Indiana, are genealogical gold mines for Scottish genealogists.
Successful research in the
Scottish records at the Allen County Public Library depends on deciding a
date of birth or marriage and his/her place of origin. A 19th
century emigrant is a little easier to find because of the many resources
in Scotland, including civil registrations of vital records dating from ca
1855. Earlier emigrants must rely on church books, legal records and other
There are department
catalogs and research guides, gazetteers and maps, passenger and
immigration lists and vital records that will help the genealogists
pursuing Scottish information. You will also find probate, land and legal
records in the Allen County Public Library. There is an excellent
collection of material which discusses the history of clans and the use of
Of course, the Allen County
Public Library is famous for its Periodical Source Index (PERSI)
and you may check this guide under the name of the Scottish family or
locality for citations to relevant articles.
You will also be able to
check out audio cassettes of Scottish lecture subjects at national
Contact the Allen County
Public Library by writing PO Box 2270, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270. The
address is 900 Webster Street in Fort Wayne. Call 219-421-1225.
Scottish genealogical treasure in Guelph, Canada!
Collection is one of the finest in the world and is the very best on the
North American continent.
Users of the collection
should be advised that the Scottish materials are scattered throughout the
library depending on subject classification or form.
You'll find books on
Scottish history, genealogy, clan histories, travel politics and economics
are to be found on the third floor.
Also to be found on the
third floor are the burgh records, a marvelous collection for the urban
historian. The third floor includes the genealogical and local history
section. Scottish genealogists will find many useful handbooks and a large
collection of family histories.
There is an amazing map
collection on the third floor of the library in Guelph with the 1970
ordnance survey maps of Scotland for those looking for out-of-the-way
places. There are some specialized maps showing family, clan and tartan
locations and historical maps such as the facsimile reprint of the 1635
edition of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.
There are newspapers and
periodicals, rare books and archival collections, a Jacobite Collection,
government documents and even a section on Scottish religion and science.
The library is located
within the University of Guelph. Call 519-824-4120, extension 3617. Write
the University of Guelph Historical Library - Scottish and
Scottish-Canadian Collection, Guelph, Ontario NIG 2W1, Canada. The library
is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until midnight and weekends
from 10 AM until midnight.
The Genealogical Society of Utah has a great Scottish
No discussion of American
Scottish genealogical resources could be complete without a little
information on the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. You'll
find comprehensive Scottish records and a broad English and Welsh
collection which make up most of the 150,000 rolls of microfilm for Great
Britain. There are significant collctions for Ireland, Australia and New
Zealand as well.
The Family History Library
is located at 35 North West Temple Street in Salt Lake City. Call
801-240-2331 for complete information. The library is open Monday from
7:30 AM until 6 PM and Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 AM until 10 PM.
How about taking a course at home?
The Brigham Young
University Department of Independent Study is now offering a new program
under Donna B.G. Breckenridge, PhD., called Scottish Family History. There
are 15 lessons which include The Early History of Scotland to Robert the
Bruce, From Marjorie De Brus to Mary Queen of Scots, The Highland
Clearances and the Industrial Revolution, Introduction to Scottish Record
Keeping, Births, Marriages and Deaths from 1855 to the Present.
I am told that there will
be noncredit, personal enrichment Scottish family history courses coming
soon to BYU's Department of Independent Study.
For more information or to
http://coned.byu.edu/is/ or call 1-800-914-8931. You may write BYU,
Independent Study, 206 Harman Continuing Education Building, Box 21514,
Provo, UT 84602.
Let somebody else do it!
If pursuing your own
Scottish heritage seems just too daunting, there is plenty of help
The ASGRA (Association of
Scottish Genealogists and Research Archives)
offers a list of professional researchers who live in Scotland that will
be glad to work with you.
Their list includes sixteen
researchers who specialize in various aspects of Scottish research. A
sample of the researchers includes: Mrs. Rosemary Bigwood, MA, M. Litt.,
38 Primrose Bank Road, Edinburgh EH5 3JF, Scotland, UK. Mrs. Bigwood does
family history/Pre 18th century records/historical
research/transcriptions/Latin translations; Alan J. L. MacLeod, FSA Scot,
who lives at 5 1/3 Mortonhall Road, Edinburgh, EH9 2HN, Scotland, UK. Mr.
MacLeod specializes in family history/living relative research/sightings
of Parish and Statutory Registers and Census Records.
In this country there is
a Directory of Professional Genealogists which lists many
researchers who will work for you on Scottish research.
This book lists Association
of Professional Genealogists by state and by international categories.
If you would like a
copy of this book which is useful no matter where you need help with your
research, contact the APG, PO Box 40393, Denver, CO 80204-0393. You may
firstname.lastname@example.org The book is $15 in the
US and $19 to Canada or Mexico.
The Scots Ancestry Research
Society, 29b Albany Street, Edinburgh
EH1 3QN, Scotland, UK offers research for Americans of Scottish ancestry.
Their initial fee is £40 payable upon registration. They have an
explanatory leaflet and registration form available upon request.
Now that I've discovered I'm Scottish what about a
In America, we don't
have laws regarding heraldry. In Great Britain heraldry is serious
Next time you get a
brochure in the mail offering "your" coat-of-arms on a coffee mug,
sweatshirt of plaque…just toss it. It's not correct nor is it proper.
Very briefly, coats-of-arms
belong to an individual not a family. Unless you can prove to the Court of
the Lord Lyon at HM New Register House in Edinburgh that you are a lineal
descendant of someone who is entitled to a coat-of-arms, you should not
use nor display a coat-of-arms as your own. Period.
If you wish your own
coat-of-arms, you may write The American College of Heraldry, PO Box 710,
Cottondale, AL 35453. The American College of Heraldry registers and
publishes armorial bearings granted or otherwise recognized by an armorial
authority. They register and publish arms borne for some time, but which
are not recognized by an armorial authority. The group designs, registers
and publishes new coats-of-arms for persons desiring to establish a
heraldic tradition in their family.
An invitation to membership
is extended to all persons having an interest in heraldry. Application
forms for membership and registration of Arms (or further information
regarding the College) are available upon request. The annual membership
fee is $25 which includes a subscription to The Armigers News.
http://members.aol.com/ballywoodn/archeraldry.html on the internet.
Clansmen may wear the crest of the Chief
In ancient times, clansmen
wore an actual little "belt" with a buckle around their upper arm with a
sprig of the clan plant badge held within the belt and buckle. This served
Today, that leather belt
around the arm has been translated into a crest badge made of metal -
usually silver or pewter. The crest is from the Clan Chief's Coat-of-Arms
and is surrounded by the belt and buckle design in a circular motif.
Usually, the clan motto is engraved upon the belt and buckle.
This is what is proper for
you to wear and signifies that you have sworn your loyalty and fealty to
that clan and chief.
An example is Clan Gunn.
The Clansmen's Crest is a dexter arm wielding a broadsword, proper. The
motto: Aut pax aut bellum (Either peace or war).
These clan badges are
easily found at Scottish vendors everywhere.
What happens now?
My grannie died
October 30, 1960. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her with love. I
long for just one more touch of her hand on my hair and for just one more
Her stories have led me on
a search that is not yet over. I'm still searching for more information on
the family of Annie Roberta McDonald, my grandmother. I do know now more
about the family than she ever dreamed was possible.
Ah, I could tell HER
I hope this short article
will help you share the joy, the delight, the wonder of discovery that is
waiting for you right in your own Scottish ancestry.
My grandmother was born
Annie Roberta McDonald, the daughter of John Daniel McDonald and Zillianne