Monday, March 28, 2016

Celebrate National Tartan Day on April 6

Tune up those bagpipes and shake out those kilts. Get ready for National Tartan Day on April 6.
Sean Connery with members of the United States
Air Force Reserve's Pipe and Drum Band
in Washington, DC. Tartan Day, 2004.

National Tartan Day commemorates the Scottish Declaration of Independence, from which the American Declaration of Independence was modeled, and recognizes the contributions of Scottish Americans to the United States. Each year since the initial proclamation in 1998, major cities hold parades featuring bag-pipe bands playing Scottish music and people dressed in kilts with the tartan patterns that represent their Scottish clans.

The 2008 Presidential Proclamation signed by George W. Bush said, in part:
Americans of Scottish descent have made enduring contributions to our Nation with their hard work, faith, and values. On National Tartan Day, we celebrate the spirit and character of Scottish Americans and recognize their many contributions to our culture and our way of life.

Scotland and the United States have long shared ties of family and friendship, and many of our country's most cherished customs and ideals first grew to maturity on Scotland's soil. The Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence signed in 1320, embodied the Scots' strong dedication to liberty, and the Scots brought that tradition of freedom with them to the New World. Sons and daughters of many Scottish clans were among the first immigrants to settle in America, and their determination and optimism helped build our Nation's character. Several of our Founding Fathers were of Scottish descent, as have been many Presidents and Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Many Scottish Americans, such as Andrew Carnegie, were great philanthropists, founding and supporting numerous scientific, educational, and civic institutions. From the evocative sounds of the bagpipes to the great sport of golf, the Scots have also left an indelible mark on American culture.

National Tartan Day is an opportunity to celebrate all Americans who claim Scottish ancestry, and we are especially grateful for the service in our Armed Forces of Scottish Americans who have answered the call to protect our Nation. (George W. Bush, National Tartan Day, 2008 : A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America, 4 April 2008.)

Here are some ideas for celebrating and honoring your Scottish heritage:
  • Search the free Scottish records on
  • Head to the local Family History Center to search their premium sites for free:
  • Read a book about the Scottish peoples in America. Here are some examples:
    • Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by Jim Webb
    • The Scotch-Irish: A Social History by James G. Leyburn
    • Scots and Scotch Irish: Frontier Life in North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky by Larry J. Hoefling
    • Scots Irish in Pennsylvania & Kentucky by Billy Kennedy
    • How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in it by Arthur Herman
    • Scotland: The Story of a Nation by Magnus Magnusson
  • Make some Traditional Scottish recipes from the Rampant Scotland website.
  • Find your Clan and the your clan's tartan by visiting the Clans, Tartans, Regiments page of the Rampant Scotland website.
  • Watch a Webinar on Scottish research:
    • Free Scottish research webinars sponsored by the Family History Library in April are:
      • Key Scotland Websites on April 18
      • Incredible Scotland Maps & Gazetteer Online Resources on April 19
      • Scotland Census Records on April 20
      • Scotland Civil Registration Records on April 21
    • Scottish research webinars on Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Viewing these webinars require a paid subscription, but you can buy a one month membership for about $10 and have unlimited access to the webinars and the syllabus.
I am sure there are dozens of other activities you can do to celebrate. How will you celebrate? Tell us in the comments below what you plan to do.

Happy Tartan Day!

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