News

Kyle Jones

president@macdougall.org

In our mother tongue, fàilte oirbh gu Làrach-lìn Chomann Chlann MhicDhùghaill Ameireaca a Tuath. ‘S e rùn an làraich-lìn seo beagan dualchas nan Dùghallach a shealltainn dhuibh. Tha mi an dòchas gun còrd i ribh.

On behalf of the members of the Clan MacDougall Society of North America, I would like to welcome you to our website.

We hope to provide an ever expanding insight into the heritage of Clans MacDougall and MacDowall. Our clans are eight and a half centuries old and are part of a Scottish heritage that is over two millennia old. Our Society supports an active program to maintain this heritage as we continue to expand our activities in preserving and celebrating our ancient culture and traditions.

If you are not a member, we hope you will consider joining us. Membership in our Society allows closer participation in our activities and discoveries. Our members receive monthly newsletters and two or three times a year they receive our newsletter, The Tartan, which provides more in-depth articles. Members have access to the Members’ Page on this website.

Thank you for your interest in Clans MacDougall and MacDowall. I hope you enjoy our website and I encourage you to become a frequent visitor.

This should only be seen by registered members.

The Clan MacDougall Society of North America, Inc. was founded in 1964 with the full approval of our late chief, Madam MacDougall of MacDougall, thirtieth Chief of the Clan. The Society has continued to grow with the formation of chapters in Canada and the United States. Clan MacDougall Society of North America is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable organization under Sec. 501(c)(3). Contributions and gifts to the Society are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers. Recently the work of the Society was expanded through the creation of the Clan MacDougall Foundation and the appointment of Regional Commissioners. Together we are moving into the twenty-first century, bringing to our increasing circle of members a joy of belonging and of growing pride in a goodly heritage.

Through the efforts of Society members, the following activities are in constant development:

  • Computerized, family genealogical information.
  • Preservation and sharing of our heritage – music, oral history, folklore and crafts.
  • Involvement of our youth through athletic, creative and exchange experiences.
  • Publication of The Tartan, our Clan Society’s communicator and supplementary newsletters.
  • Support to our Chief in maintaining Dunollie as well as the preserving of historical records.
  • Making available books, manuscripts and other sources to libraries and centers of Scottish studies.
  • Awarding prizes and trophies which encourage excellence in performance within the Scottish community.
  • Maintaining contact with our Clanspeople around the world.

Castle Restoration

GYLEN CASTLE DEDICATION On Friday, May 12, 2006 an event took place which was of great interest and significance to all MacDougall clan folk who are concerned with clan history and treasures. Chief Morag MacDougall of MacDougall cut the ribbon officially reopening Gylen Castle to visitors. It has been 11 years since the mother and aunt of Chief Morag created the Gylen Castle Repair Fund and commenced the process of applying for grants and making plans for the careful reconstruction and repair of this beautiful clan treasure. It has suffered from more than 350 years of ravage and deterioration from weather, at its high perch on the southern end of Kerrera Island in Oban Bay, on the northwestern shore of Scotland.

I am greatly indebted to Chief Morag, her husband, Richard Morley, our good friend Hamish MacDougall of Appin and Bridge of Weir, and friends at the Oban Times for providing us with details of the dedication ceremony. More than 80 interested clan folk and media attended the dedication – some of whom walked and some of whom rode the two miles from the ferry dock to the castle. Prior to and after the official ribbon cutting at the castle, there were interesting and informative speeches back at the Gylen Teahouse by a number of the official representatives, most of whom are well known to many of you: Mike Robertson ( Factor of the MacDougall estates and interests), Catherine Gillies (of the Friends of MacDougall Collection), Dr. John Raven of Historic Scotland, Martin Hadlington (Chief architect of the Gylen Repair Project), and, of course, the official speech of Chief Morag herself. Unavoidable conflicts kept me from going over to represent our NA Society, but we were ably represented by Mr. Gary MacDougall of Chicago, who gave an excellent speech on our behalf. There was very good coverage by local and national Scottish news agencies.

To put the significance of the completion of this extensive repair work in historical context, let me fill you in on some of the history of this architectural treasure.
Gylen Castle was built during ca. 1582-1587 by Duncan MacDougall, who was either the brother or the son of the chief at that time. It was clearly constructed as a fortified residence. Its design is obviously defensive, with heavy walls, guarded entrances, gun loops and ports, and observation outlooks on all sides. However its design was not entirely for utility or defense. Not only is it surrounded by glorious scenery on all sides, but, clearly, great care, artistry and craftsmanship went into its construction. You will see many interesting features such as: crowstep gables, corbled cornices, romanesque carvings, and sculptures of faces and figures.
Sadly, no amount of repair work or money will restore Gylen to its original condition, because in 1647 (after only 60 years) a detachment of the army of the fanatic Covenanters captured and burned the castle and killed all who resided and defended therein, either on the spot or taken to Inverary Castle and hanged. To add to this tragedy, it was on this occasion that the great family treasure, the Brooch of Lorne, disappeared. It had been captured by MacDougalls from Robert the Bruce in 1306. The brooch of Lorne has since been returned to the MacDougalls and remains in the possession of the Chief. Gylen Castle was returned to the Chief of the MacDougalls in 1660, after the restoration.

Even though the repair work on Gylen is finished, important planning continues for repair and preservation of Clan MacDougall treasures: Dunollie Castle and Dunollie House and estates, in the interests of visiting Clan folks. The “Gylen Castle Repair Fund” was some time ago converted into the “MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust”, and this continues to be a primary vehicle for funding continuing preservation work. Donations to this fund can be made through the Clan Society Treasurer or directly to Scotland. In addition, I will continue to sell copies of Bill MacDougall’s clan history “Kings in the West, and Beyond the Seas”, with proceeds going to the Preservation Trust.

Respectfully submitted, June, 2006
Richard MacDougal, Past President
Chairman, International Relations Committee
If you wish to donate to the fund, your contribution by check should be made out to “MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust” and given or mailed to your regional commissioner of the Clan MacDougall Society.

Report from the architect:

GYLEN CASTLE: CONSOLIDATION AND REPAIR WORK
Gylen Castle is currently undergoing extensive repair and consolidation works, which will take a number of years to complete. The work is funded by the MacDougall family and clan members, and is grant aided by Historic Scotland. The work involves the careful consolidation of the fabric and repointing with lime mortars. The work so far has been limited to the interior and wallhead areas, and the next phases of the work will concentrate on the exterior walls. The building was constructed in 1587, and has been roofless since 1640. It has received minor repairs in the past (1913), however this is the first major repair and consolidation of this very important castle.
I hope that you will appreciate that the building is currently inaccessible to the public for safety reasons. I also hope you will visit the castle again once the work is complete in a few years time.

Martin Hadlington, Architect

I apologize for having to add a minor inconvenience to some of our forms but we’re getting five or six e-mails a day from people trying to sell diet pills and other such things. The e-mails are most likely being generated by spam “bots” or programs written specifically to send spam e-mail through contact forms. An additional step has been added in which the sender will need to type in letters presented in an image that is generated on the fly. I hope this cuts down on the spam e-mails to myself and the membership chairman.
Take care,
David

The new site has been up for two weeks now and there seem to be very few problems.

I see new users joining steadily.

There has been some confusion about why posts or comments don’t appear right away. We’re moderating forum posts or comments for general users. Those who are verified members of Clan MacDougall Society of North America will be able to post without moderation, but it may take a day or more for me to log in and manually upgrade the user status to Society Member.

In looking through the logs, I’ve seen a few “spambot” attacks, but this system tracks the IP numbers and I am able to “ban” the miscreants before they can wreak much havoc.

The new site has been up for 24 hours and I’ve seen no major catastrophes yet. Several new users have registered. So far, I haven’t seen any “fake” registrations from spammers. I have noticed that the black text in the left-hand column is hard to read on some monitors, so I will likely be making adjustments there in the days ahead.

Hello to all,
As we migrate to the new version of the Web site, I am eager to hear any comments or criticism.
The decision to switch to a new format was made for several reasons.
First, our old site’s layout and structure has been around since 1996 in one form or another. From 1996 until 1998, we were at charleston.net/org/clanmacdougall/ and in 1998 we moved to www.macdougall.org but the overall look and feel of the site has remained much the same.
Second, and perhaps the most compelling reason from my point of view, was the inadequacy of the Forums software that we’ve been using since about 2003. The old Message Forums were hacked and defaced in 2005, with the hacker removing ALL of the previous messages. The membership database was left intact, but with no posts, the forum was back to square one. A newer version of the same software was installed, with this version having greater security measures to prevent hacking, but it continues to present a problem in that “SpamBot” scripts are constantly trying to register new “users” with the sole purpose of adding links to their Web sites, usually sites that promote Viagra or porn or some other such thing. Five or six times a day, I need to log in and delete these fake “users.”

With the country in the grip of a heat wave, Clan MacDougall held its Annual General Meeting in the cool mountains of western North Carolina. Grandfather Mountain Highland Games formed the backdrop for our gathering.

Beginning Thursday night on the mountain the clans assembled, Clan MacDougall’s presence was voiced by two dynamic women, Tammy Rondinaro and Kelly Wright. Their war cry gave fair warning to all assembled that Clan MacDougall’s intentions were honorable but other clansmen could be at risk.

Early Friday morning Buzzy Bramble, Southeast Regional Commissioner and his wife Susan, had the Clan MacDougall tent area set up and ready for the guests. Everyone met Don Northcutt, our new VP for membership, for the first time. Many came from long distances to attend the Games and Annual Meeting. Among those were Beth and Bruce McClintock the Mid West Regional Commissioners from Missouri. Past Presidents and their wives were also in attendance: Wylie and Debbie McDougal, Jack and Nancy Kane, John A. and Pricilla McDougall. Although unable to make the meeting, Dick and Betsey MacDougall made it to the Barbeque on Saturday evening.

Dear fellow Clansmen,

As we head for Grandfather Mountain and the Annual General Meeting it is a good time to reflect on what we have accomplished this past year. It has been an exciting year for the Society. We have a new set of Bylaws and 8 new committee chairs. We have a new Membership Vice President, and we have new regional Commissioners (in the Pacific Crescent, Cuff Burrell; Buzzy Bramble in the Southeast, Ashby McCowan in the Mid Atlantic and George MacDougall in Canada West).

Our Recording Secretary William Ermatinger is very close to having the Clan Society’s 501c3 status approved by the IRS. The process was financially supported by Wylie McDougall and the privately held Clan MacDougall Foundation. I hope to report at the AGM that William has it completed. When all is done there will be two separate entities, the Clan MacDougall Foundation with its own Board of Directors and the Clan MacDougall Society of North America, Inc. with our Board of Directors. The Board of Directors for the Clan Society is elected by members of the Clan Society in accordance with a recently passed Bylaw change that stipulates that the Board of Directors be elected by the current members of the Board, the Regional Commissioners, and by the Chairs of the Standing Committees instead of just by the Board of Directors. The Clan MacDougall Foundation elects its board in accordance with its own Bylaws.