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Beth Gay's Genealogy Page
Scottish Genealogy

Scottish Genealogy
Beth Gay, DCTJ, FSA Scot
912-985-6540 (o)
912-782-5674 (h)
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 king."

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 wintertime.

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 known.

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 modern Englishmen.

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 you?

Medical genealogy?

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 your daddy?

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 from.

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 sack)?

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 ($26.95).

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 ($27.95).

All except the last book are available from Weems & Sons, 296 Stone Fork Drive, Manchester, TN 37355 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 and browse to your heart's content.

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 weekend.

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 more.

Wherever you go, you'll know from the start that Scottish Highland Games and Festivals are for the family.

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 for membership.

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 form clans.

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 history.

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 particular.

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 States.

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 Scottish Clans!

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 Odom Library.

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 public documents.

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 heraldry.

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 genealogical conferences.

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!

Guelph's Scottish 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 collection

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 enroll, visit 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 available.

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 email 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 coat-of-arms?

In America, we don't have laws regarding heraldry. In Great Britain heraldry is serious business indeed.

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.

Use 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 as identification.

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 story.

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 stories!

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 Zaradora Phillips.

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