Clan Campbell Society (North America)
- MEMBERSHIP ADVANTAGES
- OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED BY THE CLAN CAMPBELL SOCIETY
- A SHORT HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY IN NORTH AMERICA
Those born as Campbells or of related names are automatically members of Clan Campbell. Anyone interested in the clan may join the Clan Society. The Society is designed for those who are actively interested in their clan heritage and kin.
The aims of the Society are educational and social; to re-forge the link between Campbells and their Highland heritage in Scotland and to re-forge their links with their world-wide kinsfolk in the clan.
Clan Campbell societies having a similar format to that of The Clan Campbell Society (North America), currently exist in Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Nova Scotia.
Most Clan Campbell Societies are members of an umbrella organization under direct control of the Chief and called The Federation of Clan Campbell Societies. This was originally created primarily to enable the Societies to use heraldic arms as granted to the Chief by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland for the Federation. This was necessary since in Scotland, with the most sophisticated system of heraldry in Europe, there is no such thing as `clan arms'.
The Clan Campbell Society is run upon democratic lines. The members elect trustees who serve upon an executive council which meets twice a year and manages the business of the Society. The members also elect a president and vice-president who lead the Society. The vice-president is directly in charge of the `commissioners' who are appointed to conduct the activities of the Society in each state. Also elected are the Treasurer and Secretary.
The relationship of the Society to the Chief and Clan is one of courtesy, with the Chief as paternal patron and ultimate authority where the Clan is concerned.
While the Chief is seldom directly involved in the governance of the internal affairs of the Society, his interest in the health of the clan societies is understandably keen and his advice is naturally sought where questions of the relationship of the Clan to the societies arise.
The clan follows its chief as leader of the clan and no clan is complete without such a leader. Equally you cannot have a clan society without a clan, and therefore it follows that the Chief is the essential patron and leader of the clan societies.
Since the Chief embodies the honor and continuity of the Clan and is in effect the guardian of the heritage of the Clan, his role is essential to the Clan Society. However the Society can demand nothing of him and can only make requests of him, as he can only make requests of the Society. The only obligations on either side are those of mutual courtesy and symbolic or personal loyalty.
On the whole the Chief has much the worst of this bargain as, if the Society performs well it reflects well upon the Chief, however if the Society is badly run, although the Chief has virtually no official control over the course which the Society takes, those not of the Clan or Society will see the effect as reflecting badly upon the Chief. We are fortunate that, our Chief has given much valuable time and care to our Society and it's members.
The Chief is nevertheless not without considerable power where the clan societies are concerned. This power lies first in his ultimate authority over all matters related to the Clan Campbell, without which the relationship between the Clan and the societies would not exist. Secondly the power of the Chief lies in his ultimate sanction, meaning that he could withdraw his connection with a clan society.
In that event the society in question, although it might still exist under its own name, would lose its credibility and could make no good claim to be an official part of the Clan. Where a society had legal status in its home country this could well result in any later and eventually authorized society being obliged to start from ground zero, since funds and tax status would remain with the un-authorized organization. Clearly, as has always been the case with Clan Campbell, in the unlikely event that this sanction was excercised, the results would depend very largely upon the personal standing of the chief at the time.
The president and executive council of the Society attempt to fulfill for the Chief his expressed interest in meeting as many Campbells as he can. Yet at the same time with such a very large clan and so many societies, they would be uncaring if they did not also attempt to limit the requests put to the Chief for his attendance at Society events. The appointment by the Chief of his chief executive has in recent years helped to manage the otherwise overwhelming demands of those who would unthinkingly attempt to exploit the very broadly defined and personally designed role of Chief.
The President of the Society with the executive council make use of the offices of the chief executive of Clan Campbell in any initial dealings with the Chief himself.
For membership information please contact:
Clan Campbell Society (NA)
There are a range of advantages available to members of The Clan Campbell Society (North America):
- The primary asset of membership is the quarterly Journal. Which carries a variety of articles on Campbell history, genealogy, social events and the notices of the Society.
- The Society provides a network of Commissioners in most states who co-ordinate any activities in their areas and are expected to be available to answer member's questions.
- The Society publishes a Calendar of Events in the quarterly Journal and itemizes those Scottish events in Canada and the United States at which members can participate in running an information tent or booth for recruitment, education and inter-action of members with their local commissioner.
- In the more heavily populated areas of the country some commissioners arrange social events upon occasion, however most Society events are related to the numerous Scottish Highland Games and Festivals held in many Provinces and States.
- The Society provides a Genealogical service for members which involves a small fee to have the extensive genealogical files of the Society searched for particular facts on a given Campbell ancestry.
- The Society Genealogical service includes the running without charge in the Journal `Kith & Kin' column of queries by members as to as yet undiscovered facts about particular Campbell ancestors.
- The Society Genealogist is also the Librarian and catalogues the growing library of reference books on Campbell-related subjects which are the basis of information provided in answer to member's queries. Donations to this library are extremely welcome. The library catalogue is available for a small fee and while reference books are not lent out, photo-copies of sections of publications may be purchased from the Society Librarian.
- The Letters to the Editor column of the quarterly Journal also provides an extensive opportunity for networking with other members on many issues; pipe music, travel in Scotland, clan history, Campbell portraits, educational opportunities and genealogical searches are among the type of issues sometimes covered.
- Every year the Society arranges a Campbell Gathering, generally in association with one of the Scottish Highland Games. The event is held in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting of the Society. This AGM, beyond the postal ballot for the election of trustees and officers, is the main opportunity for membership inter-action with the officers of the Society in making their ideas known upon an official basis. The Gatherings have always included social and cultural events for the enjoyment of members, their friends and families.
The emphasis of the Society is as a family organization for Campbell kin. There are many ways in which to help advance the quality of experience in Clan Campbell for our members. In so doing you will expand your own depth of pleasure in our rich heritage.
For those with a keen interest in their clan and it's widely varied aspects, and who enjoy meeting kinsfolk from all backgrounds, there are broad opportunities within the Society for their energies and much appreciation for their care.
The policy and direction of the Society is entirely run by members who volunteer their services. Only the billing of membership dues, the recording and printing of membership addresses, the printing and distribution of the Journal and the mail-order operation of the CCS Store, are functions contracted out by the Society.
Some legal and accounting services, the editing, design and layout of the Journal, the Genealogical and Library services, the compiling of the Calendar of Events, the manning of tents or booths at Scottish events and the organization of the annual Gatherings and AGM are all handled voluntarily by members, where they can be enlisted to participate.
At the same time the Society makes no demands upon members beyond regularity in paying their dues. There are always those whose health or responsibilities make a wider effort difficult, but for whom the regular appearance of the quarterly Journal and the chance to contribute towards historical research on Clan Campbell is pleasure enough.
One serious effort being made by a dedicated core of members is to contribute to the research into Clan Campbell and the role played by the chiefs in the historical development of Scotland. This undertaking is overseen by the chief executive of Clan Campbell and involves professional researchers and historians of high academic qualifications who, through their universities, are offered access to the archives.
Those who value their heritage enough to contribute to this effort can do so by making a regular tax-deductible donation to the Clan Campbell Educational Foundation.
The president and vice-president appoint willing members to be responsible for events in their area. Depending upon the population of members in a given area, there are several levels of state commissioner, from convener through deputy commissioner, state commissioner and regional commissioner. The main focus of those who take time to fulfill the voluntary efforts of these positions is the manning of tents or booths at their local Scottish events for the information, care, and recruitment of members.
These local efforts are often the start of greater involvement in the operation of the Society. It is in attempting to help members and prospective members at these events that the services offered by the Society come most sharply into focus. At such times it can easily be appreciated whether the services are working well. Those who see room for improvement have the chance to volunteer to foreward their ideas.
The trustees of the Society are selected by a committee of the incumbents and elected by the membership. The trustees have to be able to attend the two meetings of the executive council each year and frequently they are also regional commissioners.
The positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer involve much interaction with the membership. All involve a dedication of time for the three years period for which these officers are elected.
The Committee Chairs and the Journal Editor are appointments which are held for as long as those appointed are willing to serve in their positions, continuity being highly important in both roles. The backgrounds and training involved are also uncommon.
There are some very limited "special projects" funds which are occasionally available to the executive council, for example for the provision of tents to regional commissioners for use at Scottish events, or for contributing towards the videotaped lecture on Campbell history made by the Journal editor in conjunction with the Chief Executive of Clan Campbell.
Since the emphasis of the Society is to re-forge the link between overseas Campbells and their Highland heritage in Clan Campbell through cultural education and social inter-action, there is an extremely important "accuracy factor" which has to be taken into account in any efforts on behalf of the members.
One of the most fascinating elements in Highland culture, whether involving clan history, Highland dress and tartan, clan heraldry or genealogy, is that it is often complex and even subtle in interpretation. Also, many commonly held beliefs about these subjects are now being found to be misconceptions, yet they are sometimes still widely believed in Scotland itself.
This means that any published or media information upon these subjects is best to be well checked before distribution. The Society aims to maintain a high "accuracy factor" and this is one of the places where inter-action with the Chief and chief executive of Clan Campbell are found to be of very great advantage to the Society. When it comes to matters of Clan Campbell, beyond the intermural affairs of the Society, the "horse's mouth" is found at Inveraray Castle in Scotland where, naturally, the Chief and his chief executive are the ultimate authorities on questions of the clan.
The future of the Society lies in the hands of the members. At present it is not a complex organization and has all the strengths and weaknesses of any volunteer and family organization. The Society is only as good as those few members who decide to give some time to it's improvement can make it, given the resources a their disposal.
Despite the unconscious belief of many new members, there is no glass tower headquarters or even a rich Godfather figure. The Journal is produced on a bedroom computer and put together on a dining room table, it's volunteer staff of three being the Editor in Denver, the Secretary in Fort Wayne, Indiana DC and the Genealogist in Louisiana. All three contribute their efforts besides their full-time professional employment in other fields. Members contribute the articles or materials for articles.
The potential of the Society is considerable. There are currently over 3,200 members in North America. Whether the Society will or should ever reach the stage of creating endowment funds, perhaps with annuity funds for scholarships, or of having such aspects as organized home and student exchanges and sponsorship of research for the writing of a history of Clan Campbell, all this remains to be seen. Much depends upon the ability of members to enlist other Campbells and their Campbell related kin to be steady and participating members of the Society.