Notes From a New Commissioner

First, thanks for the opportunity to represent Clan Forrester – the organization. I've "followed" Clan Forrester for some forty years, ever since my father gave me and each of my seven rothers and sisters a book containing all the known descendants of GGGreat Grandfather Isaac Forrester of Greenville, SC.  In those 40 years, I’ve not been able to identify Isaac’s parents. The lack of success in researching Forrester/Henson ancestors led me to become fascinated with the wonder of all the associated family lines and their history of migration this country, including my maternal Page/Taylor ancestors.

But I never chose to actually join Clan Forrester Society. For one thing, I didn’t want to spend the money. I could attend the Stone Mountain Games every so often to hear massed bagpipes play Amazing Grace. To be honest, I saw the organization as those Georgia Forrester with whom I could not prove a connection. In fact, I was so genealogically arrogant that I would not even consider that I could have an ancestor who didn’t spell the Forrester name without RR.  Then along came DNA testing and the growing number of surname and geographical projects!  I came to realize that if you are at all interested in the factual "Origins of You" then collaboration with DNA cousins is a necessity.  What was the mantra of that X Files TV Show - "The Truth is Out There!" So, I joined Clan Forrester Society, bought a Forrester tartan kilt, sporran, Glengarry hat, and a sgian-dubh, and jumped in headfirst in hosting a Clan Forrester tent at several Scottish Highland Games in KY and TN in 2018. Guess What??? I now see Clan Forrester as more than just an avenue to preach about the benefits of DNA testing. I actually enjoy meeting visitors with all the surname spellings and hearing their family stories. There is absolute satisfaction in identifying a previously unknown ancestor or family for a visitor, even when they are not related to me. But I have to admit, meeting a “long lost cousin” is thrilling.  And I actually enjoy the games, meeting and talking to other participating clans, and learning about the fascinating Scottish heritage. Even though I might end up being an English Forster from the Anglo-Scot Borders, I will still be a "Forrester with two RR’s".

Next up was a venture to the Greenville Scottish Games, May 24-25, in Greenville, SC. We made Clan Forrester’s presence known by marching our banner down Main Street, Greenville in the Great Scot Parade on Friday. Our media visibility was hampered a bit in that we were stuck between the Miss SC float and some guy in a fuzzy dog suit. But Joan and I were there none the less. The games on Saturday also heavily related to a salute to the military, including an impressive flyover and a precision parachute team drop on to the field. We were joined by Nathan, Susan, Thomas, and my brother, Curt and his extended family. Thanks to all for their patience in a very hot and crowded tent. We were delighted to get a visit to our tent by the Commander of the Royal Fusiliers Honor Guard. We were also honored with a visit by my second cousin, Jim Forrester, who was thrilled that "his clan" was back in Greenville. Jim and Curt were wearing the old white Clan Forrester logo golf shirts, which looks great with the Forrester standard kilt and sash (hint, hint). Hopefully, news of our presence will re-kindle some lost Clan participation and generate new membership from Greenville, Spartanburg, and surrounding counties and Western NC.

Rounding out our three-week marathon was the Glasgow Highland Games, May 31–July 2 at the Barren River Lake State Park near Glasgow, KY. I consider these my home games since we live across the lake only a mile from the park.  Noted for the large number of professional and amateur participants in the heavy events, these games also organize premier children's activities.  We saw considerable traffic to the tent on Saturday.  Except for the Parade of Tartans, Sunday was a disappointment. I want to point out an idea of Nathan’s that generated a lot of attention by visitors and tent judges. Nathan sent me a one-page paper tailed to the Glasgow area highlighting the genealogy of some Forresters who migrated to this area. I printed it on bright yellow paper and framed it as a presentation piece. Everyone who entered the tent stopped to read it. I plan to continue with some sort of tailored presentation at each event that we host, if I can do as good a job as Nathan did.

Historical family information that can enlightened people with all the spelling variants of our surname, is increasing almost exponentially due to social media communications. Yes, DNA testing greatly contributes and can point us in directions not previously considered.  But I can attest….collaboration with other like- minded people will be most beneficial.  Joining Clan Forrester Society is a step in the right direction.

Bo Forrester
TN/KY Commissioner