Members of the Clan Moncreiffe Society (CMS) celebrated the society’s founder, Ernest V. Moncrieff, with a memorial service this past October at the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta, Georgia. The international society, whose members spell their name in a myriad of ways, owes its success to Moncrieff who was key to establishing the group in 1998.
Charlotte Moncrief, CMS treasurer and membership chairman, said Ernest visited Scotland several times in the 1970s and 1980s to meet with Lord Harry Moncrieff at Tulliebole Castle. He also met with the Chief of Moncreiffe, Peregrine Moncreiffe, at his home. Ernest was able to unite both sides of this family so that the Clan Moncreiffe Society of North America could be established. Several years later, in 2007, the name was changed to Clan Moncreiffe Society to allow global members.
The group now has 188 registered Clan members from 25 U.S. states as well as others from Australia, Scotland, Canada and Cuba.
“Ernest was not only interested in Moncrief genealogy, but in the people,” Charlotte said. “He compared the occupations of Moncrieffe members, gathered documents and pictures of all the important information regarding the Clan and made three-ring binders to give to all the officers and commissioners. That way we all had proof and history in our hands.” Ernest also had a small library which he donated to the Society.
Ernest died December 31, 2012, after a long illness and October’s AGM was the first opportunity for the Society to honour him. “We truly miss him,” said Charlotte. “Ernest was a great motivator and fun to be around.”
Charlotte said Ernest inspired her and her husband Mike, CMS vice-president, to get involved in the close-knit CMS family.
She and Mike have since travelled to Scotland with the Society three times. “The first time we went to Scotland, Mike and I were amazed that 40 Moncriefs, whom we had never met before, could stay together for more than a week and still have a good time. Lord Moncrieff and our CMS Chief, Peregrine Moncreiffe, allow us to visit their estates, they take us on tours, feed us and are glad to provide their knowledge of history, family, and Scottish information.”
The Society meets once a year in Georgia for its AGM and weekend activities.
“Even though 12 months pass between meetings, it’s as though we met yesterday,” said Charlotte. “…We are as close as family and members email each other often during the year.”
At the Stone Mountain Highland Games, the CMS presence has grown considerably and Clan members are now very active. Member Susie Moncrief, of Florida, participates in the Kilted Mile run every year, for example.
“Susie was an encouragement to all her clansmen to begin participating in the events,” said Charlotte. “…The results have been that Clan Moncreiffe has won the Carmichael Award for the most clan member participation in the Kilted Mile run at Stone Mountain four times!”
When Honorable Rhoderick H.W. Moncreiff visited the U.S. in 2001, he gave a sword to a member who participated in a gaming event. The Clan has continued the tradition by presenting the Sword Award every year to a member who has offered exceptional service to the Society.
The Clan continues to look for ways to be active and engage its membership. CMS has another trip to Scotland planned for 2014 and members are currently working on acquiring non-profit status. “Our tartan is not common and it is difficult to find,” said Charlotte. “We’ve had bolts of material made in Scotland on an as-needed basis so that members can purchase tartan for kilts, sashes, ties, etc. We are investigating having the tartan made in silk and other materials.”
Commissioners have been attending highland games and Scottish festivals in several U.S. states to spread the word about CMS. Clan members and many members of the public are fascinated by the number of variations on the family name: Mancriff; Moncreiffe; Moncreiff; Moncrief; Moncrieffe; Montcrieff; Muncrief and Scott-Moncrief. CMS uses the oldest spelling on record, which is also the Clan Chief’s name.
Charlotte feels that the Clan’s work has paid off. “It has been great to see younger generations become interested in their ancestry and we are growing by including them. Now, they are becoming leaders for the future.”