The CASSOC Symposium for Growth and Success

Heritage and Genealogy 2023 - December 16, 2023

Session Summary (no resources)

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Session Summary

The meeting centered on the significance of heritage and history within clans, with an emphasis on preserving and promoting history through merchandise. The attendees explored various strategies to engage with heritage, such as creating genealogy databases and supporting DNA education. The team also discussed the shift from operating a store to a partnership with the House of Tartan in Scotland, the use of DNA testing for genealogy research, and the importance of collaboration among clans.

Clan Johnston/e's Genealogy Focus and Merchandising Partnership - Paul Johnston, President and Chief Commissioner, Clan Johnston/e in America


Paul shared how his personal interest in history was sparked by Clan Johnston/e's genealogy, and the strategies the clan uses to engage with heritage. He mentioned the creation of a genealogy database and the support of DNA education. Paul also shared a personal story about how DNA testing helped him discover a second cousin in England and exchange genealogy research.
Paul discussed Clan Johnston/e's shift from operating a manual and online store to a partnership with the House of Tartan in Scotland. Now, the House of Tartan handles inventory, processing, and shipping, while the clan earns a 10% commission on sales. This move has allowed the clan to offer a wider range of products and frees up time for volunteers. .

Clan Research and Discovery - Bill Lennox, Director and Treasurer of Clan McFarland Worldwide

Bill shared their enthusiasm for genealogy research and how the clan uses DNA testing to help members discover more about their family history. They encouraged more members to take the Y DNA test to expand the clan's genealogy tree. Bill discussed how their online store, Kilton Lantern, funds various research projects and initiatives, including archaeological research and scholarships. They also mentioned a significant discovery of 900 historical documents from the 1700s, which the clan is translating into English.

DNA Testing, Genealogy and finding one's ancestral roots - Lucas McCaw, Heritage Secretary & DNA Coordinator for Clan MacAulay

Lucas shared his passion for genealogy and his work on DNA testing to help people uncover their ancestral roots. He explained how DNA testing has proved or disproved traditional stories of origin within different MacAulay families, expanded membership, and provided valuable insights into historical events. Lucas also mentioned that Clan MacAulay provides funds for DNA projects through donations from members. They also introduced the DNA and genealogy funding, initiated by Doug Doughty. They shared about their partnership with a Canadian company offering merchandise with their logo, which helps spread the word. Lastly, they encouraged participants to ask questions or share ideas, mentioning that they had some prepared questions for Lucas.

Lucas discussed the importance of DNA testing for genealogy research. Lucas clarified the difference between Y DNA and autosomal DNA testing, emphasizing that the former is more useful for tracing specific surname lines due to its ability to pinpoint mutations through generations. Concerns were discussed about the privacy of individuals who might not want to share their DNA for testing.

Modernizing Traditional Organizations: Balancing Heritage and Accessibility - Matt Buchanan,Vice President - Clan Buchanan International

Matt stressed the importance of sharing and modernizing the history of traditional organizations, including incorporating women's stories and contemporary events. They highlighted the cultural suppression that occurred in Scotland during the Highland clearances and the importance of remembering and practicing cultural traditions. They also discussed the importance of making heritage and history more engaging and accessible to the younger generation through interactive tools. Additionally, matt and Joan discussed their connection to the royal stewards through marriage and the challenges it presents for the next generation. They highlighted the importance of monetizing their heritage for their membership and the value of archaeology in providing tangible experiences and objects for members. They mentioned their efforts to correct a historical issue where the clan had been without a chief for 300 years.

 Q&A Highlights

  • Monetization
  • Heritage
  • Digital
  • Tree-Planting
  • Team Discussion 
  • Collaboration, Education, and Sustainability in Scottish Genealogy

Matt emphasized the value of collaboration among clans and the need for genealogists to establish a network to prevent misinformation in family trees. They also underscored the significance of archaeology projects, such as identifying ancient lands in Scotland and interpreting boards on clan lands, to increase connection to their Scottish heritage.

Matt also mentioned discussions with the Education Department about improving the teaching of Scottish history.

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