Most people wear a tartan that they have a family connection with, and there are over 3,500 tartans in existence. Most people research their own family tartan and decide which one to wear. Most
people first research the surnames of their grandparents, or further
back, to find out which tartans or clans they are involved with. There is a huge amount of information online and in specialist books to help. Many people who cannot find information about their Scottish family background choose to wear a 'district' tartan and there are many of these. It may be named after a city or certain area of Scotland. Of course, 'clans' began because people living in a certain area would wear the same tartan because of the local dyes and cloth available from the local weaver, or because of an association with the local clan chief or family. 'Sett' is the name given to the pattern of a tartan. The sett was determined by the colours/dyes available and how the handloom was set up.
Each of the tartan commonplace notebooks comes with a bookmark that gives a brief history of the origins of that tartan. Deirdre Kinloch Anderson has written about the history of tartans and her family company also in her book: A Scottish Tradition. ISBN 978190600 0677 £25.00 available from Kinloch Anderson.
To read about the origins of the phrase 'Commonplace Notebook' please see our section on 'The Commonplace Notebook' which we found out about while researching some of our books on Robert Burns.