If youíve been told your surname isnít part
of a clan but rather, connected to a Scottish District
Family, you should know youíre in very good company! Itís
been estimated that 70% - at least 5,000 of all Scottish
surnames - are actually district family names and not part
of a clan.
Because district families werenít caught up
with the infighting that frequently plagued the clans, they
were generally better educated, had a higher standard of
living, and a much better quality of life. They carried on
Scotlandís commerce and agriculture, contributed to the arts
and sciences, and were responsible for many inventions and
discoveries that have influenced modern society. In essence,
they were the backbone of Scotland and contributed heavily
to making the country what it is today.
There are presently more than fifty (50)
recognized districts in Scotland, each with its own tartan.
If youíve been told your surname is part of a district, you
would wear the tartan associated with that district and
should join the
Scottish District Families Association
good source of Scottish district information as well as
samples of the various tartans can be found at
The SDFA was formed in 1997 for the purpose
of providing an organization for persons whose name or
ancestry links them to a Scottish district rather than a
clan. The SDFA is also sponsored by COSCA.
includes quarterly newsletters containing news about
members, Scots in America, profiles of various districts,
and games/festival dates. Members also receive a pin (two
pins for Family Membership) with the SDFA emblem Ė a map of
Scotland displaying Scotlandís ancient name of ďCaledoniaĒ.
Membership also offers you a place to gather
at games and festivals where the SDFA is hosting a tent.
SDFA originated at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
in North Carolina and as a result, has its strongest
membership based in the Southeast; however, other areas of
the country are also represented. If youíre interested in
serving as a regional representative for your area, please
let them know.