COSCA Council of Scottish Clans and Associations



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   Scottish District Families


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 (SDFA).


Another good source of Scottish district information as well as samples of the various tartans can be found at District


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. 
Membership 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.