April, 2011

In this Issue:

 President's Message  Coming Events
 Tartan Day  March Celebrations
 How the Date of Easter is Determined  Know the Clans
 Some Scottish Surnames  Caledonian Society Officers
 Celtic Nations  General Meeting Minutes
 Caerlaverock Castle  Important Dates in March

President's Message

APRIL is the month that we celebrate the NATIONAL TARTAN DAY! April 6, 2011. I sincerely hope that you will choose to wear your own Tartan that day—what a great way to start a conversation that will let you share your proud heritage with your co-workers and friends. Enjoy letting others know that you are aware of your roots and proud of who you are. While others flaunt their heritage, we Scots are usually more sedate. So maybe it is time for us to speak up and sign out!

We had a successful Games in 2011 and we are already working on improving them for 2012 as we build up to our 50th year in 2014. We need to grow all aspects of our Scottish Community so that our 50th Anniversary will not only be special, but SPECTACULAR!

Remember that "Many Hands Make Light Work", so plan to come out and help make the Games the highlight of the year—your year. There are plenty of little jobs that you can do without "over-doing". We have gained a nice group of young folks who have taken over the heavy jobs and we are so grateful to have them working with us. Things are looking rosy these days so come and enjoy the fellowship with your new family of younger Scots.

Jean Latimer, President

Tartan Day

Tartan Day is celebrated on April 6—a special time for Scots in Canada and the United States to honor the Scots who have helped to make both countries great. In Canada it has been celebrated since 1993, with America following suit in 1998. The date April 6 was chosen as this commemorates the date that the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. The Declaration of Arbroath was a declaration of Scottish independence, and set out to confirm Scotland's status as an independent, sovereign state and its use of military action when unjustly attacked. A small excerpt states: "Man has a right to freedom and a duty to defend it with his life." This declaration is important in American history because the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that Scottish document.

How the Date of Easter is Determined
Easter is a moveable feast meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The first Council of Nicaea in 325 established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere.

Ecclesiastical, the equinox is reckoned to be on March 21 even though the equinox occurs astronomically speaking on March 20 in most years. The date of Easter therefore varies between March 22 and April 25.

Secular customs, such as the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts have become part of the holiday's modern celebration and are often observed by Christians and non-Christians alike. HAPPY EASTER!

Some Scottish Surnames

MackLam - MacLam - MacClain

There is very little data on this surname as to whether it is Irish or Scottish. The name appears to be tied in with Clan Lamont. Various spellings include: MacLam, MacLamb, MackLamb, MacLum and MacClain. Lamont is pronounced LAMont in Scotland not LaMONT as in North America. With soft spoken Gaelic speakers it would be easy for English clerks not to hear the last syllable and write something akin to MacLam or MacLamb. Whether the name is Irish or Scottish, one would guess Scottish, but there isn't any reason why the name didn't migrate to Ireland at sometime over the centuries like so many other Scottish names. Some families with the name MacLam could also be from MacLaine, since any name can be altered with new spellings especiall y when being translated from Gaelic to English.

Hutchison - Hutchinson

There are many variations of the name Hutchison. They include Hutcheson, Hutchinson, etc. It is a patronmy meaning "son of little Hugh". Its many various spellings can be explained by the fluidity of spelling in past centuries. The minister or clerk who listed a person's name in he 1700's was of course literate but the spelling was not necessarily fixed and consequently it varied from parish to parish. On looking at parish records one can see that in certain areas the name became entrenched one way while in the next parish it could have a completely different spelling. So if a person moved from parish to parish, they could well be recorded with two different spellings. Towards the 19th century families took a certain form and that's how it has come down to us today.

Celtic Nations

The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and cultural traits have survived. The term "nation" is used in this context to mean a generally defined region that is associated with a common identity, language or culture. It is not synonymous with "sovereign state", but rather with traditional territories or countries.

The six territories recognized as Celtic nations are Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales. Limitation to these six is sometimes disputed by people from Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia (including Northern Portugal). Until the expansions of the Roman Republic and Germanic tribes, a significant part of Western Europe was Celtic.

Each of the six nations has its own living Celtic language. In Wales, Scotland, Brittany and Ireland these have been spoken continuously through time, while Cornwall and the Isle of Man have languages that were spoken into modern times but later died as spoken community languages. In both of the latter regions, however, revitalization movements have led to the adoption of these languages by adults and produced a number of native speakers. Ireland, Wales, Brittany and Scotland contain areas where a Celtic language is used on a daily basis. Generally these communities are in the west of their countries and in upland or island areas. In Wales, the Welsh language is a core curriculum (compulsory) subject which all pupils study. Additionally, 20% of school children in Wales go to Welsh medium schools where they are taught entirely in the Welsh language. In Ireland all school children study Irish as one of the three core subjects up until the end of secondary school and 7.4% of primary school education is through Irish medium education which is part of the Gaelscoil movement.

Of the six languages : Gaeilge (Ireland), Cymraeg (Wales), Brezhoneg (Brittany), Gaelg (Isle of Man), Gaidhlig (Scotland) and Kernewek (Cornwall), three belong to the Goidelic or Gaelic branch (Ireland, Isle of Man and Scotland) and three to the Brythonic or Brittonic branch (Wales, Cornwall and Brittany).

The tern "Celtic nation" derives from the studies of the 16th century scholars George Buchanan and Edward Lhuyd. Lhuyd traveled extensively in Great Britain, Ireland and Brittany in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Noting the similarity between the languages of Brittany, Cornwall and Wales, which he called "P-Celtic" or Brythonic, the languages of Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland, which he called "Q-Celtic" or Goidelic and between the two groups. He concluded that all six languages derived from the same root. He theorized that the root language descended from the languages spoken by the Iron Age tribes of Gaul, whom Greek and Roman writers called Celtic. Having defined the languages of those areas as Celtic, the people living in them and speaking those languages became known as Celtic too.

Caerlaverock Castle
For centuries Caerlaverock Castle has stood guard over the border between Scotland and England. Built in an unusual triangular shape and set in the middle of a wide moat it is one of the country's most spectacular fortresses.

The story of Caerlaverock, near Dumfries, is deeply interwoven with that of the Maxwell family who built it and own it to this day. Records of the family date back to early 12th century Roxburghshire where Maccus, son of Undwin, was granted estates at Melrose by the king. He also built a church at Maxton. However, it was his grandson Sir John De Maccusewell who chose Caerlaverock as the principal seat of the family in 1220 following another grant of land.

It was here, behind ever more impressive fortifications, that the Maxwells remained for hundreds of years despite a series of sieges. When King Edward I of England pitched an army of 3000 against the castle in 1300, it managed to resist for a while, even though there was a garrison of just 60 men.

Later conflicts often revealed the Maxwells to be astute politicians, assuring their own survival through turbulent times by swearing loyalty to whoever seemed to offer the best prospects for security. By the 17th century the family's fortunes reached a peak when as a staunch supporter of Charles I, Robert Maxwell was created the First Earl of Nithsdale in 1634. He went on to build a fine new house within the walls of his own castle. In this case the Earl's political judgment proved flawed as the country collapsed into civil war. Despite this he resisted a Covenanting army for 13 weeks in the summer of 1640 before being forced to surrender.

Afterwards the castle and residence fell into elegant decay. Visitors were attracted to it as a romantic retreat, among them was Robert Burns who carved his name on the gatehouse in 1776. Now in the care of Historic Scotland, the Caerlaverock Castle has many visitors enjoying the exhibition on siege warfare, cafe, picnic area and shop.

Coming Events

Apr 2 Tartan Day Celebration
Payson, Arizona
Apr 6 Tartan Day
Apr 14 Membership Meeting
Apr 14 Games—Las Vegas, Nevada
Apr 24 Easter
May 12 Membership Meeting

April Celebrations

Apr 2 Jim & Donna Groves—Anniversary
Apr 3 Johnny Trimble—Birthday
Apr 4 Danene Richardson—Birthday
Apr 5 Steven Smith—Birthday
Apr 5 Paul Bell—Birthday
Apr 10 William Reeves—Birthday
Apr 10 Charles McLane—Birthday
Apr 15 Sharon Naughton—Birthday
Apr 15 Frank Kempe—Birthday
Apr 16 Virginia Davis—Birthday
Apr 16 Michael McClanathan—Birthday
Apr 19 Bob & Alma Anderson—Anniversary
Apr 21 Glenda King—Birthday
Apr 21 Janice Bryson—Birthday
Apr 21 Leatha Ferguson—Birthday
Apr 22 Pam Allan—Birthday
Apr 22 Paige Macmillan—Birthday
Apr 22 Patrick & Rena McDonald—Anniversary
Apr 23 Robert & Vanne Cowie—Anniversary
Apr 24 Kim Duprest—Birthday
Apr 24 Pat Minnis—Birthday
Apr 25 Nancy Kaib—Birthday
Apr 26 Bobby Hoeck—Birthday
Apr 26 Ellen Martin—Birthday
Apr 26 Norman Lawrence—Birthday
Apr 28 Jerry Williamson—Birthday
Apr 28 Kathy & Gerald Ridlehoover—Anniversary
Apr 29 Stephen Chernin—Birthday
Apr 30 Ann Fowler—Birthday

Know the Clans
District Tartan: Fort William
From District Tartans by Gordon Teall & Phillip Smith Jr.
District Tartan: Fort William

Fort William takes it name from a stone fort built at Inverlochy under William II of Scotland (III of England) who reigned from 1689-1702. It replaced an earlier temporary structure erected by General Monck. Prior to the building of "Fort" William the settlement was known as Maryburgh. The fort was one of several government fortifications along the line of the Great Glen, others being Fort Augustus and Inverness. Permanently garrisoned during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, these forts were intended to assist in the pacification of the clans. The Gaelic name means simply "The Garrison".

Today Fort William is a small town on Loch Linnhe at the western end of the Caledonian Canal. It is popular with tourists and has a number of industries. The nearby mountains, dominated by Ben Nevis, provide both minerals and hydro-electric power and during the winter months ski-ing. The town is the home of the excellent West Highland Museum, which has many interesting exhibits relating to the history of the area. Fort William is linked by rail to Glasgow by the scenic West Highland Line, which extends westwards to Mallaig. This northern section is the route for nostalgic steam-powered express trains which are very popular with tourists.

The Fort William district tartan was first included in Wilsons of Bannockburn 1819 Pattern Book. The tartan colors are mostly gray and black with a thin green stripe.

Caledonian Society Officers

President: Jean Latimer—602-867-6507
1st Vice Pres:
Tim Wallace—480-821-6163
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

Regular membership meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center located at 1106 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. Come join us, or log on to www.arizonascots.com or call 602-431-0095

The Caledonian Society of Arizona
General Meeting Minutes

March 10, 2011

The meeting was called to order at 6:55pm by President Jean Latimer with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Flowers of the Forest in memory of Helen Ritchie Krcina, who at her death was 85 years young.

MINUTES: Jean called for a motion to accept the minutes of the February meeting as written in the Desert Highlander Newsletter. John Kilpatrick made the motion and Dan Miller gave the second. Motion passed.

TREASURERS REPORT: The report was taken from an e-mail from Susan Wallace, who is traveling. While it is not yet complete our current cash flow shows us with $13,930. Jean stated that we would be taking a different approach to working up the budget for 2012, as our income figures were poorly stated and we have a much better account of where the monies came from this year.


  • 1.) It was noted that we had the President of Clan Wallace, USA at our Games and there was some doubt as to whether he was recognized during the Opening Ceremonies.
  • 2.) Jason Temple reported that the clean-up at the park was coming along nicely and he would meet with Brian tomorrow.
  • 3.) Looking ahead to the 2012 Games, one big item will be the possible date change to the last weekend in March.


  • 1.) Jean announced that she had been in contact with some folks in Payson who are trying to put on a Scottish Festival—to honor Tartan Day—on April 2, 2011. National Tartan Day is April 6. They are not charging for Clans to put up a tent for the day and since Scots love "FREE", we will aid them as much as we can including a posting of their event in Coming Events in April on the web site.
  • 2.) Jean introduced Mark Clark and Joseph Wehunt who are trying to put together a small band that would mostly play Celtic music. Jean invited them to play for us during the April gathering so they can get our folks to help spread the word about them.
  • 3.) The Board has voted to celebrate Tartan Day at our April meeting with a "Thank You" to our Area Chairs. NO BUSINESS MEETING. Just a fun get together.
  • 4.) Jason reported his thoughts regarding the 2011 Games. He felt that while we got through them, they could and should be much better and he has some definite ideas on just how to do that.

    There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 8:50pm for refreshments.

    Submitted by: Jean Whyman, Acting Recording Secretary

Important Dates in April

Apr 1 April Fools Day
Apr 17 Palm Sunday
Apr 22 Earth Day
Apr 22 Good Friday
Apr 24 Easter