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Russell Clan and Surname Associations
Highland Games, Legonier, PA Fig C-1. Bob Kramp, wearing balmoral, traditional kilt, and Russell T-shirt, is surrounded by cousins, the  Lusk (on left) and Sherwin couples, and Bob's two daughters (kneeling). Photo taken in front of "informal" Russell Clan tent at Scottish Highland Games at Legonier, PA, Sep, 1994.
Fig. C-2. Family and visitors at the "informal" Russell Clan welcoming table at Scottish Highland Games at Legonier, PA, Sep, 1993. Bob Kramp in Royal Stuart shirt at far right; Alvin Grelling, Jr (tallest w/o hat), and his sister, Eleanor (Grelling) Stewart (in eye glasses), are in back row center- my first cousins who I am meeting for first time.

The Legonier Scottish Highland Games is held the first weekend in September at Idlewild Park, Legonier, PA, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. In 1993 and again in 1994, I set up a welcoming table and tent in the clan area of the park; mounted a "Russell Sept" sign; and invited several of my cousins to stop by. Several did, and in fact, I met some of my first cousins for the first time in my life. Of course, besides my cousins, I also invited anybody interested in the Russell surname to join in our gathering and to sign our guest book.  I wrote a 4-page flier which explained my interest in the Russell clan and which also included the results of some preliminary research.

As far as I know, up until 1993, there was no presence or promotion of a Russell Clan at either Legonier or Grandfather Mountain- another Scottish event I attended. Since then, I have sort of let the ball drop as far as continuing to set up an informal Russell Clan table at the Legonier Games. The cost of setting up and sponsoring a Clan area runs about $150- too much for a one-man operation.

However, I have included this page on my web site just in case anybody wishes to discuss the possibility of resurrecting a Russell Clan. Indeed, there may be other gatherings of a Russell Clan of which I am unaware.

I have not researched the subject lately, but in 1993, there were two associations in the U.S. that were interested in the Russell surname: Clan Russell and the Russell Registry. Incidentally, a recent visit to AOL's surname message board, revealed that these two Russell surname associations are listed on their site. The following is an excerpt from my 1993 flyer that I made available at my welcoming table at Legonier. Realize that this information is now 6 years old.

"Is There a Russell Clan?"

"If you browse through some of the popular books on Scottish Clans, for instance, Scottish Tartans With Historical Sketches of the Clans and Families of Scotland by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney (Emeritus Lord Lyon of Arms), you will find that the Russells are a sept of Clan Cummings; also spelled Cummins or Comyn. Branches of Cummings include Cumming of Altyre and Cumming of Inverallochy. I will leave it to you to read and decipher the history of the Cummings clan. Warning: you should first prepare yourself, and read up on the general history of the conflicts between Scotland and England and the power struggles among the nobility, both major and minor, to succeed to the crown. The bottom line is that it was often a gruesome affair."

"Unfortunately, you will find little information on the Russell Sept of Clan Cummings. Under the clan system, a sept, which is a term meaning family or blood kin, was often less prominent and less powerful than the clan, and therefore, the sept would often associate itself politically, economically, and defensively with the neighboring clan. Thus, the sept is bound to the clan by territory rather than by blood. But if you are a Russell and are looking for a tartan to display, read on before you adopt the tartan of Clan Cumming. By the way, a tartan is a pattern, and a plaid (pronounced plade) is a mantle that is worn as a garment. Also, a sett is the design of a tartan, whereas sept (pronounce the "p") means family."

"On one of my research trips to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., I came across a book of family associations in the gift shop that listed two family associations with the surname Russell: Clan Russell and The Russell Registry."

"I. Clan Russell c/o Dr. Robert Russell, 100 North 76th Ave., Apt. 104, Plantation FL, 33324. Dr. Russell, a professor at NOVA University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, has been collecting names of Russells who are interested in forming a Russell Clan. For instance, a group of Russells in Oregon, numbering about 75 individuals, has contacted Robert. However, the Association is still in the forming stages. Robert also receives queries concerning genealogy, but he can not fulfill such requests because he does not have this type of data. Robert is a native of Scotland born in the area of Inverness. He has written to the Lord Lyon of Scotland who maintains a register of tartans, and there is, indeed, a tartan for Clan Russell. Also, Robert has been given permission to incorporate the Clan Russell in America. It is quite interesting in light of the literature on the subject that Robert received a response from the Chief of Clan Cummings upon an inquiry, in which the Chief disclaimed any association with the Russell family."

"It is Dr. Russell's intention that applicants for membership to the clan should claim descendency from a  Scottish Russell. Robert's address has appeared in The Scottish Banner (published in Canada), and The Clansman."

"II. The Russell Registry:  The Registry was started as a newsletter by Frances Eleanore (Russell) Nelson in the early 1980's. Subscribers and correspondents to the Newsletter shared genealogical information pertaining to the Russell surname. Several volumes of the Newsletter have been compiled into a book which is now available through Shirley Shumate, 2873 Mercedes, Odessa TX, 79764."

From Tartan for Me by Philip de Smith, Heritage Books (1992): The Russell, Gailbraith, Hunter and Mitchell Clans all share the same tartan. To have a look at the tartan, visit "Electric Scotland" on the intenet. Be sure to click on the "back" button at top of your browser to come back here. For a hard copy of the tartan order a colorful catalogue from the Scottish Lion Import Shop, P.O. box 1700, Conway, NH, 35860.

The Septs of Clan Cummings are given as: Buchan, Cheyne, Chiene, Common, Commons, Cumin, Cummings, Cumyn, Farquharson, MacNiven, Niven, and Russell.

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