My Name is Karen and I am A…


Ha! You thought I was going to say an Alcoholic. Not!

And I’m not really a McFarland either. I only married into the name.

Yet, even though I wasn’t born a McFarland, the name I have to say is kind of special.

Why do I say that?

To begin with, the McFarland’s come from Scottish descent. They not only have they’re own tartan, a family crest and coat of arms, they own the island that’s in the middle of notorious Loch Ness.

That’s special, isn’t it?

Turns out, not so much.

According to Wikipedia, the clan McFarlane, which is the original form of the McFarland name, was denounced for committing theft, robbery, murder and tyranny. Several members of the clan were tried and convicted, some pardoned, some executed. Many dispersed throughout Scotland while others fled to Ireland, and with the potato famine, emigrated further to America where the surname would then evolve to McFarland.

Ah, the McFarland’s. The clan it seems were a rowdy bunch of rebel rousers. So much so, they got their “A” kicked out of the country. Without the “A”, the Mac turned into a “Mc”.

Kick that “A” out and no one will know the difference, right?


So then, what’s the story with McFarland in the USA?

About a month ago, I received this text and picture.



“You have your own “world” at Disney?”

My cousin Craig. He thinks he’s funny.

My response?

“What can I say? When you have it…”

I really had no idea what he was talking about. But I wasn’t about to tell him that.

Oh, hi Craig. *Waves*

But this little prankster got me going. I had to find out what he was talking about?

I have my own “world” at Disney?

What does a small Hispanic town in central California, USA, have to do with McFarland?

Well, here’s what I found out.

McFarland is where two world record Olympic medalists attended high school and the place that inspired the 1987 true story into a movie.

“McFarland, USA.”

It’s about a group of novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White, played by Kevin Costner, a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change.

Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.” (

Well, what do you know. I do have my own “world” at Disney!

Yet, this is no small world. For a number of years, hubby and I lived near the town of McFarland. In fact, we were constantly asked if we were related to the McFarland’s of “McFarland”.

Considering their founder J.B. McFarland was Scottish, for all we know, he could be a long lost relative. Stranger things have happened!

And that my friends is what makes the name McFarland so special.

At least in central California.

Here’s the preview. I hear it’s pretty inspiring. Take a peek!

So what do you think? From what country does your family’s ancestry hail? Has your family ever had a town named after them? Had you ever heard of McFarland, California or the movie that bears its name? Are you a fan of Kevin Costner? If so, feel free share your favorite Costner or Disney film with all of us!

Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!


29 thoughts on “My Name is Karen and I am A…

  1. Diane McFarland

    Hi Karen! I enjoyed your post very much. I, like you, married a McFarland (John Overton McFarland) originally from NC. Wouldn’t it be something if we were related…through our husbands? I recently saw, & thoroughly enjoyed, the movie, McFarland USA. I purchased a DVD copy today for my son for Father’s Day (he has two young sons…Ben & Nick McFarland) & we watched it again this evening. I got curious about how that town got its name, & through the power of Google, came upon not only tons of McFarland information….websites, books to order on McFarland history etc., but also your wonderful chat room full of even more information. I’ve enjoyed researching my own German family history….my maiden name is Ruther. On my Mom’s side there are Grunst, Petsch, & Steinbeck’s! My parents grandparents came to the U.S. (MN & MI) from northern Germany around the 1850’s. I haven’t gone back further than that. This McFarland history I’ve read about tonight is really neat. I look forward to passing it on to my children….who really are McFarland descendants. Many thanks….Best Wishes, Diane….

    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Diane! Thank you so much for your visit and comment. Yep, we married into a wild bunch I’m afraid. At least according to the history of the McFarland clan. I’m quite sure we are related in some way since we all stem from one area of Scotland. And I too have lots of German in my background. So we both have a similar history. Glad you enjoyed my post and found it insightful. It’s fun to learn about our past and each other. I wish you all the best and continued success in your ancestral search. Be sure and come back and visit again some time! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Lynn Kelley

    Can I get your autograph? 🙂 Looks like my kind of movie. Yes, I’m a Kevin Costner fan. I loved Dances With Wolves.

    I’m sure there are a few towns named Kelley. With an e-y or without. A good last name that people think is my first name. I like it either way. Too bad my son didn’t name either of his girls Kelly. I guess they didn’t like Kelly Kelley. Some people are so darn picky about names! JK! 🙂
    Lynn Kelley recently posted..Car-free Living in Los AngelesMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Lol Lynn! You crack me up! I’ve heard nothing but good things about this movie. I too loved Dances with Wolves. That was a masterpiece to be sure. And I am quite sure there are a number of towns that dawn the name of Kelley, no matter how it’s spelled. We can’t afford to get too picky. We’re stuck now and in it for the long haul my dear friend. lol. 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Ha, ha, ha Yvette, you have no idea. lol. There was more, but I decided to take it easy on the man. But I’m glad you liked it. Go see the movie with your kids. I hear that people applauded at the movie theater when it ended. 🙂

  3. Serena Dracis

    Great story, Karen! What a cool family history. An island in Loch Ness? That’s the best piece of family trivia I’ve ever heard.

    Never heard of McFarland, CA or the story, but how inspiring! Kevin Costner is hit or miss for me. Oddly enough I kinda liked Waterworld. Loved Dances With Wolves. Didn’t like The Bodyguard at all. I still have to see The Postman, but he makes me laugh in Silverado.
    Serena Dracis recently posted..Well, Hello! Yeah, It’s Been A While…My Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Yes, Serena, I almost forgot to include that bit of information until hubby reminded me the other day. Yeah, I’d have to say that the island in Loch Ness is pretty cool. Well, the movie “McFarland USA” is based on the town of McFarland, California about a half hour north of Bakersfield. It’s supposed to have a similar feel as “Remember the Titans.” If that’s the case, it may have a chance. And I get your drift. Kevin Costner’s movies a so varied which for an actor may be a good thing to show his diversity, but I, like you, have my favs and those I can live without. But I missed Silverado, although I did love Dances with Wolves. Thank you Serena for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  4. Jennifer Jensen (@jenjensen2)

    Fun post, Karen! I married a Jensen, four generations in America but his dad was still a full-blooded Dane! I’m a mutt, mostly English, Scots, Irish with some German and French thrown in for good measure. I’m big into genealogy and one of the fun things living in Ireland for those few years was doing onsite family history. My maiden name, Garvin, doesn’t sound Irish, but it is. Unfortunately, I can’t make the link from my American-born Irishman to his parents and where they were in Ireland. And no, no towns named for us. Sounds cool, though!
    Jennifer Jensen (@jenjensen2) recently posted..I Need Some Whitespace in My LifeMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Hey there Jennifer! How are you? So your a mutt? I think most of us are. lol. I am a mixture too. But on my father’s side, it’s pure Irish. I just don’t know how many generations we go back. I think I’m fourth generation, but I can’t be sure. I would love your help with our genealogy. And I would love to take you up on your offer. As for the McFarland’s? They’re really Scotts? When we traveled to Ireland, everybody called my hubby the Scotsman. They wouldn’t let him get away with being Irish. lol. I would loved to have lived over there. What an adventure you must’ve had. 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Well, I was told that Disney’s intention for “McFarland, USA” was to be very much like “Remember the Titans” which also was a Disney film way back in 2000. Has it been that long already? So, I’m hoping it will be a nice family film for you and the “Little Bean!” 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Well, chocolate is sweet! Y’all know about that over at Mysterio Press! And if it includes France-Oui, Oui! Glad you enjoyed the post Kassandra! Thank you so much! 🙂

  5. Coleen Patrick

    Cool post, Karen!! Patrick is my maiden name, and it’s essentially made up. My dad found that his great grandfather changed it when he arrived in this country. He came from eastern europe and we don’t know the original name, but Petrovich is a thought. The rest of my family tree hails from Ireland. 🙂
    Coleen Patrick recently posted..The Surprising Taste of Change (and NYC)My Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Thank you Coleen! Okay, Petrovich does not sound Irish. Somehow Patrick sounds more fitting. That would be interesting to find out how eastern Europe mixed in with the Irish. I think most of us are a bunch of mixed nuts girl. Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  6. Jennette Marie Powell

    Lots of places named “Powell,” and probably none after my family! Back in the 80s, people used to ask my brother if we were related to Cozy Powell (British rock drummer who played with Emerson, Lake & Powell, and also Whitesnake). He always said “probably not,” because if we were, we’d be going back three or four hundred years!

    Your connections are fun, and heck yeah, I’d be owning up to living in the movie’s area, whether the connections are real or not!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..A Week of QuestionsMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Well look at you Jennette! Always the quiet ones. lol. Powell is a popular name. But can I tell you how much I loved listening to Emerson, Lake and Powell? Was it Powell? lol. I thought it was Palmer. A lot I know. Thanks for straightening me out. All these years I’ve used the wrong name. But I’ll be taking your advice seriously. Heck yeah, I’m related to the McFarland’s. Thanks Jennette! 🙂

  7. K.B. Owen

    I’d say walk in as if you owned the place. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get some free stuff. Or be in a commercial, like that Taco Bell one with all of the guys named McDonald, who liked the tacos better than the Big Macs. Fun post, Karen!
    K.B. Owen recently posted..Happy “Donut Day”!My Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Excellent idea Kathy! I’m always into free stuff. But somehow I can’t picture me in a commercial. lol. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for dropping by. ((Hugs))

  8. Mike Schulenberg

    There’s a Schulenburg, Texas, but I’m pretty sure my family has nothing to do with it. But every once in a while, someone hears my last name and asks me if it has anything to do with town. Either that or they tell me I look like Ozzy Osbourne :/

    Have you done any research into the genealogy of your family? I bet you’d find out all sorts of neat stuff.
    Mike Schulenberg recently posted..Blog Hop: My Writing ProcessMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Well see, I knew someone would have a town named after them! Now I ask you Mike, how many people in Texas have the Schulenburg? Yep, I thought so. You are famous and you didn’t know it! lol. And you do not look like Ozzy dude. Unless, that gravatar is not really you. Hmm. About my family. There’s a lot of missing pieces about my family. Although I don’t think they were a bunch of rebel rousers like the McFarland’s. But since they’re Irish, I have a feeling there’s been a whole lot of drinking going on throughout the ages. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  9. Denise D. Young

    It’s always interesting to learn more about our heritage and ancestry. My ancestors are mostly Irish and German, though there’s some English and French thrown in there as well. I’m curious to learn more about my ancestors, and now I have a friend who works in an archive center who’s offered to do some digging into my ancestry for me. It will be interesting to see what she turns up.
    Denise D. Young recently posted..Cover reveal: Michael, Path of Angels by Patricia JosephineMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      That’s very interesting indeed Denise. How cool is that? I love that kind of stuff. What a great combination girl. That’s going to be so exciting finding out about your roots. Have lots of fun! 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      They were and still are naughty Julia! lol! It’s embedded in their genes! I only wish my history was as interesting as the McFarland’s. But you never know what lurks in the gallows of my ancestry. I’ll have to look into that. Stay tuned girlfriend! 🙂

  10. Patricia

    What a great story. I’d be telling folks that you are indeed of the famous McFarland land, why the heck not?

    My husband is supposedly related to President and General Ulysses S. Grant but so far everything on is the grand parents and great-grandparents, which I already knew. Without paying I can’t go any farther and I’m not sure it’s worth it. Although it would be fun to find out for sure.

    I’m afraid to look into my family history. We’re all a bunch of stubborn Germans. That’s more than I need to know.

    Fun post, Karen.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Karen Post author

      Oh my goodness Patricia, I so know about the Germans! Stubborn? Nah! I don’t believe it! lol! But at least the McFarland’s have a pretty interesting history.Good or bad, I’ll run with it. It’s it amazing what they can find out about our past? Yes, I know it cost to find out. But I bet you enjoy the program on PBS called “Roots.” We learn all kinds of things watching that show. You should go check it out! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks Patricia! ((Hugs)) 🙂


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