Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tartans and Scottish heritage

This is shocking -- I went through the entire Highland Games season without ever explaining the background of my blog!

Those of you who were with me last year may remember that it is the Oregon tartan. I've adopted the Oregon tartan as my own because even though I was born in Louisiana, I have grown up in Oregon and consider myself an Oregonian. And yes, every USA state has its own official tartan.

(It might interest you to know that Tall One's personal kilt is Douglas tartan. He chose it because the Douglas fir tree is the official tree of Oregon, and it was named after someone from clan Douglas. So we have two different tartans, but we chose them for pretty similar reasons.)

"But Sarita," you might say, "Don't you have Scottish heritage? Why don't you and Tall One wear the tartan that your ancestors wore?" Good point, except for two tiny little details.

Detail #1) Our branch of the family was disinherited about five or seven generations ago because our ancestor stowed away on a ship to the USA and refused to return home. He even changed his last name, cutting ties from his clan. Though I'm not sure if he changed his name before or after he was disinherited.

Detail #2) Sometime after this wayward ancestor alienated his clan, the clan was disbanded by the king for treason. Some nobles who were outside of Scotland survived, so there are still branches of the family in existence (in addition to our own disinherited branch), but kilt makers generally don't have the tartan on hand since the clan officially doesn't exist anymore. Even if they did, we'd choose another tartan.

Given this history, we figure that it's a good idea to find a tartan to adopt, rather than wear the tartan of the clan that our ancestor ran away from. And since Tall One was born in Oregon and I've spent 20 years of my life in Oregon, we both chose tartans that reflect where we are from.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Clearly you come from fine stock -- an ancestor who dared to start fresh, and an entire clan who dared to alienate the king. Sounds like a clan of sturdy independents to me!

Sarita Rucker said...

I guess that's one way to look at it.