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The Claymore
Newsletter of COSCA (The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations)

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 newsletter editors.

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, just come.

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 family organization.

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

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.

Yours Aye,


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.

Growth Petterns

IATS / TECA to offer certificates in "Tartanology!"

The  International 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 candidate.

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 art.

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: 610-466-9426.

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 is today.

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
President COSCA

Otis Johnston, Jr., COSCA Trustee, died this past January in Columbia, South Carolina

Otis Johnston, Jr.

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

Burke's Peerage & Gentry

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 earlier centuries.

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 Gilesí Cathedral.

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 maintained today.

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 themselves.

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

Greetings All!

As of 1 April 2002, no fooling, I am the COSCA Webmaster.

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 the Website.

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 site?

Let me know what you want to see and Iíll do my best to make it happen.

I can be reached at

Yours Aye,

Kurt Moore
Webmaster COSCA

The other 70% - The Scottish District Families Association reports...

Judi Lloyd - President of the Scottish District Families Assocation

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.

The Claymore
Editor, Beth Gay, DCTJ, FSA Scot
PO Box 2828
GA 31776-2828

229-985-6540 (o) 229-782-5674 (h)
FAX: 229-985-0936

COSCA Founder
Dr. Herbert MacNeal

Past Presidents
Dr. Herbert MacNeal, Sandy Marshall, Ron Kerr,
Leonard "Chuck" Bearman, Craig Scott & Col. Bob McWilliam

COSCA President
Lt. Col. Robert Heston
3 Eastbrook Court
Stafford, VA 22554

Vice President
George Douglas, FSA Scot

Secretary & Executive Secretary
Beth Gay

Shirley Douglas
218 Camelot Drive
Tavernier, FL 33070

COSCA Trustees
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 Claymore
The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations
PO Box 2828
Moultrie, GA 31776-2828


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