The Founding of Clan Montgomery Society International
Each year, CMSI celebrates the anniversary of its founding. The Society has grown and changed a lot over the years, and with new technology, information about Clan Montgomery is available over the Internet. Many clan societies don't have a genealogy database on the web, but CMSI is fortunate in providing that service for all — not just members. CMSI members have found that the Clan is represented at more and more Highland Games and Festivals, and we continue to urge the membership to actively participate in Clan gatherings.
The following is an excerpt from the Gardien, the Clan newsletter. James Morton Montgomery recently submitted his thoughts on the founding of CMSI, and as charter member #19, he was in on the very beginning of our Society.
Notes on the beginning of Clan Montgomery Society. — Surely a Clan Montgomery Society would have been established somewhere, sometime. But it came into being in 1980 in Kearny, NJ because that was where the Council of Scottish Clans in the U.S. was located and because someone with the Council knew Joan Montgomery Dunphy.
"We get inquiries from Montgomerys about a clan group and have to tell them there is not one," Joan was told. "Why don't you start one?"
Little in Joan Dunphy's background equipped her for founding an international organization; but like the proverbial bumblebee that theoretically can not fly, she didn't know that and founded one anyway. In doing so she called upon skills developed as a community volunteer, real estate sales and an inherited love for things Scottish. She began with personal contacts and then collected Montgomery names and addresses, mostly in New Jersey, to send 500 form letters with questionnaires. "The response has been terrible," she confided in an early 1980 letter to the few who did answer her call. But the few who did hear the call in turn let their relatives know and membership began to grow. "Although we are still small in number," Joan prophesied to the early joiners, "we will grow."
That first year was an all-Joan show. Her letters reveal her thoughts quickly skipping among the trivial (needlework pattern for "our coat of arms" and colors for signs) to strategic, long range planning (anticipating charity tax status and arranging the first annual gathering). Even before that initial meeting, the society was up and running with a four-page quarterly newsletter replacing Joan's occasional letters. During the 1980 Scottish games season, Clan Montgomery had raised its banner at eight events — North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain and Flora MacDonald games, Newcastle in Maine, Ligonier in Pennsylvania, Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, Stone Mountain in Georgia, plus Santa Rosa and Monterey in California. By January 1, 1981, the cutoff date for charter membership status, 82 were on the roster.
For the first annual meeting Joan chose the charming Green Park Inn at Blowing Rock, NC in conjunction with the Grandfather Mountain Games, July 10, 1981. More than fifty members and family came, representing the corners of the continent. They represented the backbone of the group's leadership for the next decade and more, including four future society presidents. Ted Montgomery, MD of California was elected the first president with John F. Montgomery, PhD of West Virginia serving as vice president. Joan, intending to keep a firm hand on her baby, became secretary-treasurer, as well as editor-publisher of the Newsletter.
During 1981, membership doubled. Volunteers stepped forward to assume responsibility for committees and projects. The society hosted tents at a dozen and a half games. By then it was apparent that the various Highland games about the nation were the fastest-growing source of new members and additional host volunteers were recruited. For many of them it was solitary work for the first few years, assuming all the work and sitting lonely in the tent for several years until others gradually joined and shared the duties and fun.
The next several years saw steady growth. The organization structure became more complex with commissioners and regional officers being appointed to administer field activities. The first clan tour to Scotland in 1983 brought a new excitement even to those who did not attend. Monty Perkins, having assisted for several issues, became newsletter editor in 1984, broadening and expanding its content to reach every member with articles on Montgomery history, society activities and personal notes. The first stirrings of genealogy reports anticipated the importance of that subject to future society expansion.
Retired college president Dr. John F. Montgomery, having chaired a number of meetings as VP when Dr. Ted could not make it from the west coast, became the society's second president. Calmly forceful in his leadership style, he quietly assumed control, delegated responsibilities and steered the society into maturity.
The death of Joan Montgomery Dunphy in 1985, only a month after leukemia had been discovered, shocked the entire organization. It also underscored how rapidly the organization she had conceived, founded and led had grown and assumed its place among the larger clan organizations. This was the end of the beginning; but that beginning established the framework, the spirit and the strong membership that Clan Montgomery Society would call upon for all its first quarter century.
Montgomery DNA Project
The following information was provided by John C. Montgomery, CMSI database manager, about the Montgomery Surname project:
The Montgomery Surname Project at Family Tree DNA has experienced an encouraging growth spurt and is rapidly beginning to reflect strong participation by CMSI members. The Group Administrator for this project and the person who got it all started is J. Mark Montgomery, CMSI# 607. As this DNA database grows, the chances of finding a matching test result increases, so all males with the Montgomery surname are encouraged to participate. This database can be a very valuable tool in confirming or disproving the "paper trail" lineages in our current genealogy database as well as perhaps finding "cousins" who are not members of CMSI (yet.)
For those who may be interested in participating in this project but aren't sure how to get started, here are the steps to join the Montgomery Surname DNA Project and order your DNA testing kit at a discount (only $99 for the 12-marker test for project participants. For greater accuracy in DNA matching, 25- and 37-marker tests are also available. However, the 12 marker test can be upgraded at a later time if needed without having to submit another DNA sample):
1. Go to the Montgomery Surname Project join page http://www.familytreedna.com/surname_join.asp?code=F64496&special=True&projecttype=S. This takes you directly to the DNA Kit order form and surname enrollment page.
2. Fill out the DNA Kit order form. Note that credit cards are used for payment. Click "Continue" to submit your order.
3. Your DNA kit will be shipped within a day or two, including instructions on how to collect your samples. Collect the samples and return to Family Tree DNA in the prepaid envelope. Be sure to return the signed Release Form that comes with your test kit. Without a signed Release Form, your DNA results will not be included in searches for DNA matches outside of the Montgomery Surname Project. If you did not receive a blank Release Form, you can print one from http://www.familytreedna.com/forms/FTDNA-release-form.pdf.
4. Mark Montgomery, the Group Administrator for this project, will be notified when your samples are received and he will contact you with further information.
5. Your results should arrive by email about 12 weeks after your sample is received by the test lab. You will receive a printed certificate about 4 weeks after you receive the results by email.
This is an exciting project that should provide us with some important results. If you have been "sitting on the fence", I hope this will convince you to jump off and join in the fun.
E-mail the webmaster to share your news with Clan Montgomery!