The Media Research Bureau Dissolved by the American Society of Genealogists

In 1983 I became involved in Clan Donald, USA which is the organization of descendants of Donald of Islay d. 1269, from whom the name McDonald comes.   I learned from the official organization of Clan Donald that the meaning of our surname in its original Gaelic form mhic dhomhnaill is “son of world ruler”.   In her book Ila Maughan said, “some writers” give the original spelling as “MacDomnaill meaning Sunday of beauty”.   Ila Maughan was very good about giving her sources and listed the above information as being from a 1923 history of our name published by the Media Research Bureau.  I did a search of the Media Research Bureau on line (a resource not available to Ila Maughan) and found that the American Society of Genealogists “fought actively against agencies which sought to delude the public for profit by misusing genealogy or heraldry…(They) forced dissolution of the Media Research Bureau that sold genealogical data “on your family name” along with coats of arms.”   There are still organizations that will sell you inaccurate family histories usually containing a copy of “your family Coat of Arms”.  But surnames do not have Coats of Arms.  Coats of Arms are registered documents that  belong to an individual.   My wife made a valid comparison that displaying an unrelated person’s Coat of Arms is like displaying an unrelated person’s birth certificate on your wall.  Because of the legal significance of a registered Coat of Arms it may be a more valid comparison to displaying someone else’s diploma on your wall.    Ila Maughan included a Coat of Arms and a history of the surname, from the sources that were available to her, to give the posterity of James McDonald & Sarah Ferguson an appreciation of our ancestors.  She certainly inspired me to learn more about our ancestors.  This web site will share updated documentation & links to the latest information available through the Internet to further what Ila Maughan began with her book.