September, 2010

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 Scottish Names  September Celebrations
 Fall Kickoff Meeting  Know the Clans
 Gaelic Lesson  Caledonian Society Officers
 The Queen's Four Marys  General Meeting Minutes
 Take the High Road  Important Dates in September
 Flowers of the Forest  Where Rivers Flow to the Sea

President's Message
As we come back together, after two months off, it is time to start talking about the Games again. During our time off we have been busy getting a few things done. The application for use of Steele Indian School Park has been submitted and accepted. Leslie Grant resigned as Games Chair and we have found a new Games Chair. He is Jason Temple and he comes to us from Prescott, where he was Games Chair for five years. His business caused him to move to the valley and he now resides in Glendale. We have also gotten several other offers to help with the Games from new applicants off our web site. Things are looking up and we are very excited about the plans for our future.
I look forward to seeing you in September at our General Meeting on the 9th of September in the Scottsdale Senior Center on Granite Reef Road. The meeting starts at 6:30pm. Please come and join us.
Jean Latimer

Spelling Variations in Scottish Names
By Roderick MacRae

It is common wisdom that the spelling of Scottish names changes so frequently that it is often difficult to track down the origins or to find missing ancestors. For example, the name MacRae is subject to some 18 spelling variations.

Let’s review some of the common problems and issues in spelling of Scottish names. First is the prefix “Mac.” Many people believe that the “Mac” spelling connotes Scottish heritage while the “Mc” connotes Irish. There is no historic truth to this. The term derives from the Gaelic “Mhic” which means “son of” or “of the kin.” The habit of abbreviating spelling confused the pattern when Highland names appeared in English form. The “mac” was abbreviated to simple Mc” (often the small “c” was raised with a line beneath it). Thus, old documents may find a Highland name spelled with Mhic, Vhic, Mac, Mc or M’. All of these forms are interchangeable and mean the same. They are not separate names.

Second, some Highland names are patronymic (descended of an actual person) while others are not. The MacLeods, for example, truly did begin with an individual named Leod (a Viking) and the descendants began calling themselves sons of Leod.

Likewise, the MacDonalds originate with a particular historic Donald. Other names may descend from a place or an occupation. Thus, the MacNabs are “sons of the abbot”. The Elliots and Buchanans are named for the lands.

Another problem is literacy. While Scotland valued education, literacy was not widespread among the common people. The language of learning was Latin or British English, not Gaelic. Gaelic spelling remained non-standardized until recent times. Thus, almost every Scottish name was subject to some variations of phonetic spelling.

A fourth problem is what happened to the name when a Scottish immigrant landed in the new country and a government clerk entered the name in the records. For instance, when the Gaelic speaking Finlay MacRae stated his name to an immigration clerk who, doing his best to untangle the Gaelic sound “founla,” Finlay ended up as “Philip” MacRae.

Here are a few common surnames that you might not know are of Scottish descent:

(Surname — Clan)

Abbot — Macnab
Adam — Gordon
Andrews — Anderson
Baxter — Macmillan
Brown — Lamont/Macmillan
Clark/Clarke — Cameron/Mackintosh
Dallas — Mackintosh
Dove — Buchanan
Ewing — MacLachlan
Fletcher — MacGregor
Gilbert — Buchanan
Gray — Stewart of Athole
Haws — Campbell
Hutcheson/Hutchinson — MacDonald
Kelly — MacDonald
King — MacGregor

Fall Kickoff Meeting

September 9

Scottsdale Senior Center

Join us for our first
meeting of the Fall.

Gaelic Lesson

Good morning . . . . .Madainn math (Mah teen vah)

Good day . . . . . . .Latha math (Laah mah)

Good afternoon or evening . . . . Feasgar math (Fes ker mah)

The Queen's Four Marys

Part I
Born in 1542, Scotland’s Mary Stuart still holds the record for being the youngest queen ever. Before the baby was a week old, she was formally proclaimed Queen of Scots.

For her own safety, she was sent to France where she was to marry Francis, the Dauphin, and thereby firmly establish ‘the Auld Alliance’ between France and Scotland. There, the “Reinette” (little queen) excited a great deal of interest and admiration, and few royals could have experienced as idyllic a childhood as that enjoyed by Mary Stuart. To ensure she was never bored or lonely, she had the company of four other little girls of her own age as playmates.

The famous four were Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Livingstone and Mary Fleming. These little girls romped with the little Queen of Scots at the French Court where the accent was on pleasure. There was no lack of ponies, pets, toys and trinkets; ponds were stocked with goldfish and swings were placed under selected trees for their enjoyment. They shared their lessons--and confidences, too, as they entered their teen years and acquired courtly admirers.

The wedding of Francis, Dauphin of France, and Mary, Queen of Scots, was a glittering occasion, with the bride’s four Marys in attendance. But Francis was not destined to enjoy married life for long. Mary was widowed at 18 and returned to Scotland accompanied by her hour constant companions who shared her name. If they had been quintuplets they could hardly have been closer.

In Scotland, too, the young Queen’s “demoiselles d’honneur” always rode beside her. All were athletic girls and much preferred being on horseback to traveling in a carriage, even in wet weather when a velvet canopy was held above their heads by 16 horsemen to protect their coiffures!

Each girl had her own fans in the crowd, with some preferring “lovely Livingstone” and others “bonnie Beaton.” Mary Fleming was the girl who most closely resembled the Queen, and indeed could have passed for her sister, while sweet Mary Seton was perhaps the most sedate of the four the “quiet one” of the group.

The Queen and her Marys rode races on the sands at Leith, went hunting and played golf which was already popular in Scotland.
Mary Stuart could beat her ladies at most sports, but when it came to archery contests, Mary Livingstone was unsurpassed. Lovely Livingstone’s arrows never failed to hit their mark, while those of the others tended to fall so wide everyone learned to keep well out of range.

On dreary days they turned to games of chess, cards or billiards, at which Mary Beton was very skillful. They were seldom to be found at their tapestry or embroidery frames unless they lightened their labors by competing to see who could finish an ambitious piece of work, such as a bead embroidered panel, first. The Queen kept her fine sewing for the sessions of the Scottish Parliament she was obliged to attend because having her hands occupied helped to prevent her from yawning.

Almost every merry, laughter-filled day was founded off nicely by a ball at Holyrood Palace where the nine-piece orchestra included the Rizzio brothers, Guiseppe and ill-starred David, who later became the Queen’s secretary and confidante. There were also musicians, songstresses and jesters.

“Joy, mirth, marvelous sights and great show and singular devices, nothing left undone that might either fill the bellies, feed the eyes, or content the mind,” is how Thomas Randolph, the English ambassador, described the Holyrood scene when writing home to his queen, Elizabeth I.

Take the High Road

Oh ye’ll tak the high road
An’ I’ll tak the low road,
An’ I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie bonnie bank o’ Loch Lomond.

These are the lyrics of the chorus of one of Scotland’s best known and loved ballads. The final two lines are more or less self-explanatory in that the storyteller will never again meet his true love by the shores of Loch Lomond. But what of the first two lines?

A myth revolves around an old Celtic doctrine that when a Scot dies wile in a foreign land, his spirit will return to the land of his birth via “the old road.”

It was during the 1745 Jacobite uprising, so the story goes, that some of Prince Charlie’s followers were taken prisoner in Carlisle, just short of the Scottish border. After a trial it was decided that one Scot was to be released while his colleague was to be executed. So it meant the condemned man would return to Scotland via the low road of death and arrive at Loch Lomond before his liberated companion who would have to take the earthly high road.


Flowers of the Forest

Some of you may have wondered about the meaning of the Flowers of the Forest when you read it in the minutes or when we list the death of a member or friend. The tradition of Flowers of the Forest has a touching background. In September 9, 1513 at the close of the Battle of Flodden, there lay dead “the flower of Scotland,” King James IV, an Archbishop, two Bishops, scores of noblemen and a great loss of the common man. Flodden was one of the battle disasters of Scottish history.

It is a Scottish tradition that following any battle, a piper is asked to compose a lament. Now all over the world, in times of mourning, the pipes recall the lament composed at the Battle of Flodden, The Flowers of the Forest

Coming Events
Sep 4-5 Games - Pleasanton, CA
Sep 9 Games - Estes Park, CO
Sep 9 Membership Meeting
Oct 8-10 Games - Ventura, CA
Oct 14 Membership Meeting

September Celebrations

Sep 4 Jill & Kevin Gossett — Anniv.
Sep 5 Chad Connolly—Birthday
Sep 6 Sandra Glasscock — Birthday
Sep 6 Alice DiStefano — Birthday
Sep 8 Darin Beatty—Birthday
Sep 9 Patricia Goyer — Birthday
Sep 11 Alan Ramsdell — Birthday
Sep 13 Jerry Minnis — Birthday
Sep 13 Robert LaVar—Birthday
Sep 13 Diana Macfarlane—Birthday
Sep 14 Margaret Manchester—Birthday
Sep 15 Monte Patterson — Birthday
Sep 15 Nickalos Connolly—Birthday
Sep 15 Susan Satchell—Birthday
Sep 16 Marilyn Veich — Birthday
Sep 17 Margaret Romas — Birthday
Sep 19 Richard Cameron—Birthday
Sep 20 John & Leila Glasgow — Anniv.
Sep 20 Janice Mathieson — Birthday
Sep 21 Michelle Campbell — Birthday
Sep 22 George & Lois Kirk—Anniv.
Sep 22 Dick & Mary Kay Collis—Anniv.
Sep 24 Deedra Brown & Ken Jackson—Anniv.
Sep 24 Melissa Hankins—Birthday
Sep 25 Lisa Scott — Birthday
Sep 26 Harold Stewart — Birthday
Sep 26 Gary & LeeAna Kains—Anniv.
Sep 26 Paul Delaughery—Birthday
Sep 29 Adam Beatty—Birthday

Know the Clans
District Tartans
From District Tartans By Gordon Teall & Philip D. Smith, Jr.


The very name Caledonian conjures up pictures of Roman soldiers striding northwards towards the land of mountains, lochs, forest and glens they failed to subdue. To sailors, the Caledonian Canal, cutting through the Great Glen from Loch Linnhe to Moray Firth, encapsulates so much of what is typical of Highland Scotland.

The Caledonian tartan was popular in the 18th century and appears in a number of guises. Romantic stories are told of its origin but in reality little is definitely known. It is a suitable tartan for anyone who wises to be associated with Scotland and is the choice of a number of pipe bands. Its color is predominately red with black, gray and gold accents.

Culloden, the last land battle on British soil, was fought near a farm on Drummossie Muir outside Inverness on April 16, 1746. It signaled the end of both the Jacobite cause and the Highland clan system. Here the small Jacobite army under Prince Charles Edward ( Highlanders, Irish and Lowland Jacobites) were defeated by a larger, better equipped and better led force of regulars and Scottish militia under the Duke of Cumberland. The end of the “Forty-Five” rising brought proscription of the tartan and, even more long-lasting, laws which restricted the power of the clan chiefs and ended an entire way of life. The Culloden tartan was worn biy a membr of Prince Charles’s staff during the battle but it is not known with which family or district it was first connected.

Although the Culloden tartan has no direct link with the local population, it has now become firmly established as the district tartan for the area.

Arran, the large mountainous island in the Firth of Clyde, rises steeply from the sea. Easily visible from many places on the Scottish mainland and from Ireland. Arran is a conspicuous landmark which has long since captured the hearts of visitors. Early settlers included Christian ascetics and some of its place-names reflect the Viking era. The history of Arran is essentially one of tenant farmers, generations following generation to modern times. Gaelic was spoken on the island until well into the 20th century. It has long been a popular tourist resort and at one time many businessmen used to commute from Arran to offices in Glasgow by ferry and rail.

Caledonian Society Officers

President: Jean Latimer………..........602-867-6507
1st Vice Pres: Tyler Cramer……...….574-344-1314
Treasurer: Lisa Scott…………….....…..602-218-6645
Games Chair: Jason Temple……....…602.920.5445
Recording Sec: Jean Whyman…......602-956-6424
Corresp. Sec: Kay Morneau….…......480-503-0341
Trustee: Alan Ramsdell……….…....….480-969-8400
Trustee: William Wallace…………......480-838-7055
Past President: Elizabeth Grant.......602-509-1146
Newsletter Editor: Jo Ramsdell….....480-969-8400

Society Meetings

Next Meeting: September 9, 6:30pm
Scottsdale Senior Center

Join us for our first meeting of the Fall.

Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Scottsdale Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Rd., Scottsdale, Az. beginning at 7:30. Come join us or call 602-431-0095 or log on to

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

Due to hiatus, September minutes to come in October.
See archives for previous minutes.

Important Dates in September
Sept 6 Labor Day
Sept 11 Patriots Day (US)
Sept 12 Grandparents Day
Sept 23 First Day of Autumn


The longest river in Scotland is the River Tay, famous for its salmon fishing. It runs for 117 miles.

Next comes the River Spey, which flows rapidly for 110 miles.
The River Clyde flows from Leadhills to the Firth of Clyde for a distance of 106 miles.

The Tweed, in the Scottish Borders has a course of 96 miles and the Dee, in the northeast runs for 90 miles emptying into the North Sea at Aberdeen.

The River Forth, flowing into the Firth of that name, has a length of 66 miles.
The River Clyde flows from Leadhills to the Firth of Clyde for a distance of 106 miles.

The Tweed, in the Scottish Borders has a course of 96 miles and the Dee, in the northeast runs for 90 miles emptying into the North Sea at Aberdeen.

The River Forth, flowing into the Firth of that name, has a length of 66 miles.