CONNECTING WITH YOUR CLAN
your clan or Scottish District Family, check our
Members page to see if that
group is listed. If so, there will probably be a link to
their website. Feel free to contact them directly and get to
know them. If your clan isn’t on our membership list, do a
web search. You may find one or more of your clan organizations listed.
If you have multiple clan options, it can be
confusing about which group to join. In reality, it doesn’t
matter if it’s a name from your father’s side or your
mother’s side. Technically, you can join as many as you’d
like. If one of your family names belongs to a
Scottish District Family,
please read our post on this
topic. It has more detailed information and some helpful
links to get you connected.
Joining more than one clan can be helpful
since not all groups are represented at every event. We
recommend that you check out all of your potential
organizations - online and when possible, in person. See
which ones are the most active in your area, the most
responsive, and the most welcoming. Until you’re able to
clarify exactly where your family originated in Scotland,
this is the best way to choose.
For those of you who grew up being told you
are "Scotch-Irish” or "Scots-Irish",
for some interesting background information from Dr. Phillip
Smith, a respected
Scottish scholar and COSCA Board member. Also,
The Ulster Scots Society of America.
A Word About Genealogy:
When you join a clan, most encourage you to submit your
genealogy to the group database. Occasionally, matches will
be found; particularly in larger clans with sizable files;
however, it isn’t the clan genealogist’s job to research
your particular family tree. You will need to do this on
your own. There are many excellent online resources for
genealogy and many qualified genealogists out there so,
SELECTING YOUR TARTAN
When it comes to selecting the correct
tartan, the choice is really up to you. There are a few
tartans that are considered “off limits”; such as trademarked or
copyrighted tartans, tartans that have been developed for an
individual or organization, or those reserved for members of the Royal
Family. Other than that, it’s preferable to select your
tartan based on your surname first, your paternal family
surnames second, or your maternal or marital surnames third.
Your district tartan is also a correct option.
The definitive reference book on tartans is
Me” by Phillip D. Smith.
Many clans and vendors have copies of this book at the games
and we always have them at our COSCA tents; however, it’s
very important that you understand how to use this book or
you can walk away with inaccurate assumptions. Dr.
Smith specifically states in the introduction: “In no way
should the Name-Tartan list in “Tartan For Me!” be regarded
as a list of clan or family names. That is quite a different
matter.” What this book does provide is extensive information
about your suggested tartan(s). It can also tell you whether
or not a surname is connected to one of the Scottish
District Families. It’s a phenomenal resource and we highly
You can also search for pictures of your
Register of Tartans
When you select tartan based on your surname,
family surname, or district, it will always be the correct
choice for you and will have many uses at highland games or
social occasions. There are plenty of reputable places to
purchase tartan fabric on the web and many vendors can also provide Scottish District,
Irish, and Welsh tartan.
anyone can wear tartan - both Scots and non-Scots. For
non-Scots, the Caledonia, Hunting Stewart or Black Watch
tartans are always appropriate choices. And finally, make
sure to follow the tartan golden rule: only wear one pattern
at a time regardless of how many clans you're connected to.
Any time is a good time to buy a kilt but
until you’re ready to make that investment, consider
items as neckties, tams, polo shirts, sashes, pins, etc.
with your clan badge or tartan. Most people wear these in a
variety of ways and you'll find many uses for them. A simple
tartan sash with a clan badge or celtic pin for women and a
tartan necktie for men are always great starting points and
will carry you through many situations until you can
purchase additional items. There
are always a number of excellent vendors who sell these
items at the games and just as many who sell them online but here are
a few you may find helpful:
recommend that both men and women get a copy of
"So You're Going To Wear The
Kilt" by J. Charles
Thompson. This is the definitive reference for proper Scottish attire and
will keep you from making many social and stylistic errors connected with
Scottish clothing. This information can be essential if you choose to dress
in a more traditional manner or attend formal Scottish events. Reading it will help you know the rules and avoid fashion faux pas.
QUESTIONS ABOUT HIGHLAND GAMES & WHAT TO WEAR
You may already be involved with highland
games in your area, but in case you're new to them, please
check out this
Games FAQ link
for additional information. It’s for people just getting
started with highland games and will provide you with some
OTHER WAYS TO GET CONNECTED
First thing to do.....
“Links” page of the COSCA website.
There are a lot of helpful websites listed to get you
started on your Scottish journey.
We try to post with some regularity and our posts…. along with the
posts of our followers…have up-to-date information on things
of a Scottish nature.
Facebook group- COSCA: Council of Scottish Clans &
It's a good place to see what's going on across the country
with other folks interested in their Scottish clan
Sign up for
Panalba is a social networking site set up for people who
are interested in Scotland, Scottish Clans, and anything
related. The site is run by the folks in Scotland who put
The Gathering 2009 together so you know it’s gonna have
really good stuff.
Hope all of this helps you get started. If
you have any questions, please contact COSCA directly at
Enjoy being Scottish!