The St. Andrew's Society is dedicated to preserving Scottish heritage and tradition and to
assisting those of Scottish ancestry. Our society contributes to the Scottish community in Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding
area by becoming involved with Scottish activities, helping those of Scottish ancestry, and promoting & encouraging Scottish
culture, Clan societies and Scottish organizations. The purpose of this organization is to increase the popularity of our
common interests. We hope to add new members so we will be able to grow and expand. We also want to have fun while when we
are together and working on projects. By developing relationships and friendships, the organization will become even stronger.
What Are St Andrew's Societies?
St Andrew's Societies can be found all over the world but primarily in
the English-speaking countries. There is no central organization or "mother chapter"; each St Andrew's Society is an autonomous
organization. While there are still some St Andrew's Societies which limit themselves to only male membership, most of the
Societies are open to all regardless of gender. Some Societies also limit their membership to individuals who were either
born in Scotland or who are direct descendants of people born in Scotland (one Society requires geneological proof). New St
Andrew's Societies in the United States have found that in order to qualify for a tax-exempt status from the IRS, they must
have a non-discriminatory membership policy; in fact the only real requirement is an interest in the St Andrew's Society!
Most St Andrew's Societies are established as charitable/educational not-for-profit organizations. To fulfill
their charitable/educational mandate, many Societies give scholarships for university study and for special Scottish cultural
classes (e.g., Highland Dancing, Celtic Harp). Some Societies also sponsor Scottish Games or at least sponsor trophies at
their local Scottish Games. The Washington DC St Andrew's Society has housed a Scottish family in a hotel when the father
had a heart attack in Washington, DC, truly "relieving the distressed"!
All St Andrew's Societies that this author
is familiar with are also strongly social groups with regularly scheduled luncheons, quarterly dinners, annual Tartan Balls,
Kirkin of the Tartan, etc. Many have special interest groups with in them for genealogy, Gaelic language, militaria, and/or
history. Some sponsor their own Pipe Band. The membership of St Andrew's Societies tend to be highly educated, knowledgable
about Scotland (history and culture), and fairly well off financially. There is a social "pecking" order within the Scottish
world: St Andrew's Societies at the top, followed by Caledonia Societies, Scottish Societies, and finally by other groups
(admittedly, this author has some opinions on the matter).
There is some controversy over the origins of the first
St Andrew's Society.
According to the St Andrew's Society of Charleston SC a number of gentlemen, "chiefly natives of
Scotland," organize the St. Andrew's Society in 1729, the first such Scottish organization in the world. Named for the patron
Saint of Scotland, it lends assistance to widows, orphans, and others in need of help.
This author remembers reading
of a St Andrew's Society being established in London during the reign of King James VI/I after he had ascended the English
throne; this would place it between 1603 and 1625. This Society was established to aid indigent Scots and later also became
more of a social club. Their motto was "Relieve the Distressed" which has become the motto of many St Andrew's Societies around
There are also two other totally separate types of St Andrew's Society. One is basically a group of laymen
(and women) associated with churches who perform steward functions. There is another group called the Society of St Andrew,
also church affiliated, that helps to feed the poor and hungry. Since St Andrew is also the patron Saint of Greece and old
Russia, there are a few St Andrew's Societies which are for Greek or Russian fellowship (it is easy to spot the difference
... they don't wear kilts).(1)
See Link Below
St. Andrew's Societies were originally
Organized during the period of Scottish Immigration in the 19th Century in order to assist needy Scots settling in their new
Country. The Oldest of these Societies, established on November 19,1756, is in New York City. Though the Society is named
after the Patron Saint of Scotland, St. Andrew's Societies are not religious Organizations, Nor are they Affiliated with any