September 2016

In this Issue:

 September Gathering Announcement  Women's World Championship
 Letter From the Editor  Positively Scottish Magazine
 The Glen Carrich Beastie  Society Officers
 Research Your Scottish Ancestry  Coming Events
 Odds and Sods  A Celtic President?
 September Historical Article  A Word from our Advertisers

September 2016 Gathering
Wizardry on Wheels

Arizona Mini Owners President Shirley Blahak describes the life
and times of the classic Mini and its big brother, the new MINI
Each will be on display in the ICC Courtyard

< Minis

Thursday September 8, 2016 at the
Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central, Phoenix

6:30 pm ----------------- Meet and Mingle
7:00 pm --------- Picture Show on the Mini
8:00 pm ------------------- 50/50 drawing

Members ----------------------- Always Free
Non-members --- $5.00 donation requested
Snacks are provided - No-host bar


Letter from the Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians:

Welcome back from the summer holidays. Guess I’m dating myself, but my recollection is school ending in late June and starting again after Labor Day. Families took their vacation during July and August – lots of factories had summer shut-down to install new equipment, or do maintenance, so the workers headed off to the beach, the mountains or to visit grandma.

The three-day Labor Day weekend was a big deal as we eased into school with that following short week. And it didn’t seem too long after that it was time for the World Series - it was always the Yankees and the Dodgers. If you grew up in Scotland, I guess the First Division championships were decided in April, so October may not have been quite as special.

Well – the Caledonian Society is getting back into full swing with quite a line-up of activities for the balance of the calendar year.

Tartan MiniOur September 8th Gathering at the ICC is quite different in that we’re focusing on a British treasure and I don’t mean Sir Paul, or Stonehenge. Come learn more about “Wizardry on Wheels – all you want to know about the Mini motorcar”. Shirley Blahak who along with son Phillip have organized the British Car Show at our Highland Games for years will display several of their classic Mini’s (built 1959-2000) and perhaps a new MINI or two (the new ones that were reintroduced in 2002).

Don FinchScots-toberfest will follow, and then the RAF Cadet Memorial on November 13th (date to be confirmed). We’ll celebrate St. Andrew’s Day with a Dinner and Dance at the Phoenix Country Club on December 3rd. The club will be decorated for Christmas so the lasses can wear their finest holiday gowns. As for the peacocks – laddies, perhaps a bit of mistletoe entwined in your sporran!

Looking forward to seeing you at the ‘Mini’ picture show on the 8th.

Cheers! Don Finch, Editor

The Glen Cannich Beastie
By: James G. Grant

The young man had a day off. In the glen it wasn't unusual to not have a hunt on any given day. So he took his weekly bath and dressed in his finest kilt, (that wasn't mud splattered) and headed up the glen road to the main highway. It was a short walk of 5 miles, "only a good stretch of the legs".

The young man was well versed in the lore of the glen and thought about all the misty creepy stories he had heard. There was always the tale about the 'The Glen Cannich Beastie'. Everybody in the area knew about the Beastie that prowled the highway and its victims still lived, although stunned about what they had seen and very unwilling to discuss it with anybody.

Our young Highlander reached the main highway in good time, hoping to thumb a ride into Beauly or maybe even Inverness. He was on the main highway less than 1/4mile, when he heard a throbbing and a hissing noise just out of sight, beyond the hilly horizon. He looked to his right and left but to his dismay, noo place tae hide! He bravely kept to the highway and finally he saw it coming over the distant rise, THE BEASTIE of GLEN CANNICH---an ENGLISH TOUR BUS!!! He was trapped. It saw him and started to slow down to attack him. He was amazed at its size and the huge appendage that hung from the monsters one large eye, AN EXTERIOR MICROPHONE. His goose was cooked.

The BeastieAll he could see was dozens of silver haired men and grannies cranning their necks to get a glimpse of the man in his kilt in the middle of the western highlands. The driver turned the microphone on and the young man was bombarded with questions about highland life. It seemed an eternity but finally the people thanked him and they proceeded on their way, looking for more game and scenery.

The young man breathed easily and rejoiced in the fact that he had survived an amazing morning and was really ok and still fit! This is a story to tell his Grandkids, which he has. The story is true, the glen was Glenstrathfarrar and the highway does lead to Glen Cannich.  


Research Your Scottish Ancestry

The Search Begins at Home

by Robert M. Wilbanks IV, B.A.
Chief Genealogist & Historian, C.S.A.

Some of you may have the good fortune of being Scottish, or know that your parent or a grandparent came from Scotland. However, that should not stop you from learning more and delving deeper into your Scottish ancestry. Meanwhile, for those of us who were not fortunate enough to be born in Scotland, or to know directly of our Scottish ancestry, learning about our possible Scottish heritage is an additional and exciting way of being a part of the history and culture of Scotland. The aim of this column is to provide to everyone, Scottish or American, the technique to search for your Scottish or Celtic heritage.

Often, when I talk to people about researching their family history, they feel that they have no information with which to begin the search. I believe that everyone is a genealogist whether they know it or not. You will find that you have a great deal of information right within your own home. You keep track of births and anniversaries of family members. You have a photo album; great for jogging the memory about people, places and events. Perhaps a parent or grandparent kept a journal, a scrapbook, or an old family bible; filled with family data. Perhaps you have birth, marriage and death certificates of your parents or grandparents. Maybe you have the Naturalization Record of your Scottish grandparent. The list of materials within your home which can provide information to begin the search for family history is endless. The collection of these sources can provide you with dates and places of births, education, marriages, residence, deaths and burials, which will be most helpful in beginning your in-depth research.

The next and most important thing that you want to do, before all else, is to interview, whether in person, by phone or by letter, your older family members. Just as you know the names and events of your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, they in turn will know the information of their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Interviews of older family members could take you back one or two more generations, as well as give you additional dates and places of events; including mabe a town or county in Scotland and when your ancestor came to America.

As you gather this material, from around the house and interviews, it is necessary to make special note of the approximate, if not exact, dates of births, education, marriages, residence and deaths. It is also important to identify the exact names of towns, townships, or at least the counties where the family member was born, lived, married and died here in America. In America, our ancestors were required to keep records at the county level, usually in a county court house. In the case of the big cities, the records were usually kept at the city level. Meanwhile, in Scotland, knowing only the county that your family came from will be of little help. You must at least know the name of the town. Scotland’s Counties were divided into Civil Parishes where the records were kept. Once you know the town, then you can identify the Civil Parish. If you cannot identify the name of a town in Scotland from information within your home, in future columns I will show you how American County, State and Federal records can help you with this. Meanwhile, it is important for you to understand that when gathering the information from interviews and records in your possession, you need to have a time and place associated with your family before you can begin the research process at a library.

While collecting dates and places is important for the research process, I do not want you to think that other materials and information that you may find is of little or no importance. You may find materials which provide information that does not give specific dates and places of events, but it does add to your knowledge about your ancestor. Some examples might be an old report card or diploma, business papers, a lock of hair, a favorite poem or book, and other such family heirlooms. From these you will learn how your ancestors lived, loved and endured. These records will give your ancestor personality and character, and give you a greater understanding about them and about yourself.

So get up and get started in learning about your Scottish heritage. And once you have begun to gather your information from what you know and what you have, contact me to help you get organized and begin your research.

John Ross - Cherokee Chief
by Jo Ramsdell

John Ross (1789 -1866) was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 to 1866, serving longer in this position than any other person.  Described as the “Moses of his people” Ross influenced the Indian nation through such tumultuous events as the relocation to Indian Territory and the Civil War.

John RossJohn Ross was the son of a Cherokee mother and a Scottish father.  His mother and maternal grandmother were of mixed Scots-Cherokee ancestry, since his maternal grandfather was another Scottish immigrant.  As a result, young John (one-eighth Cherokee by blood) grew up bilingual and bicultural, an experience which served him well when his parents decided to send him to schools that served other mixed race Cherokee.  Ross was born in Turkeytown (in modern day Alabama) near the head of the Coosa River to Mollie (nee McDonald) and Daniel Ross, an immigrant Scots trader.  Because he was born to a Cherokee mother, Ross was considered to be a member of her Bird Clan by birth.

After graduation, he was appointed and Indian agent in 1811.  During the War of 1812, he served as adjutant of a Cherokee regiment under the command of Andrew Jackson.  Ross first went to Washington D.C. in 1816 as part of a Cherokee delegation to negotiate issues of Indian land ownership and white encroachment.  For many years there had been discussion about the boundary of the Cherokee land.  In 1819 the Cherokee Council again sent Ross to Washington to clarify the provision of the Treaty of 1817.  The delegation had to negotiate the limits of the ceded lands and clarify the Cherokee’s right to the remaining tracts of land in Tennessee and Georgia.   

In 1827 Chief Pathkiller died and William Hicks was appointed interim chief.  But Hicks did not impress the Cherokee as a leader and they elected Ross a permanent principal chief in October 1828.  He remained so until he died.

Chief Ross had found some support in Congress in his efforts to establish a lasting treaty with the U.S. government for permanent boundaries, but despite this support in April 1829, John Eaton, Secretary of War, informed Ross of President Jackson’s intention to pass a bill through Congress requiring the Indian tribes living in the Southern states to move west of the Mississippi.  In December 1829 the state of Georgia confiscated a large section of Cherokee land and in May 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act,

In the summer of 1830, Jackson urged the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creek to sign treaties accepting removal from their homelands.  All of the other tribes signed off on Jackson’s terms, but the Cherokee did not.  When Ross and the Cherokee failed in their efforts to protect Cherokee lands, Ross took the radical step of defending Cherokee rights through the U.S. courts.  In February 1833 Ross once again went to Washington to negotiate alternatives to removal.  By October the two sides still had not come to an agreement.  Ross was unsuccessful in his attempts to stop enforcement of the treaty and in February 1835 Ross agreed to exchange all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi for land west of the Mississippi and 20 million dollars.  Those Cherokee who did not emigrate to the Indian Territory by 1838 were forced to do so by General Winfield Scott.  This forced removal came to the known as the Trail of Tears.

Athletics - The Women's World Championship
By: Michelle Crownhart

The Caledonian Society of Arizona is excited to announce that the Women’s World Championship is going to be hosted at the Highlander Games in Vermillion, Ohio in September 2017.

Although we are saddened to not be the exclusive host to this event, this move will expand the exposure of the Elite/Professional Women in the Highland Games! Spectators that have been unable to attend in Phoenix will now get the opportunity to see the best in the world compete for this title.

Congratulations to the ladies for this giant move forward! We wish you luck and hope to see you back in Phoenix gracing our field with your athleticism.

COMING EVENTS & Highland Games in Arizona and Bordering States
Games Calendar compiled by Clan Campbell Society NA

Sept 3-4 Scottish Highland Gathering & Games   (Pleasanton CA)
Sept 11 SEPTEMBER GATHERING "Wizardry on Wheels"
Sept 8-11 Long's Peak Highland Festival   (Estes Park CO)
Sept 17 Fresno Highland Gathering & Games   (Fresno CA)
Sept 18-19 Edgewater Celtic Harvest Festival   (Edgewater CO)
October 13 OCTOBER GATHERING "Scotstoberfest" and AGM

Odds and Sods

From CBC Radio Canada
Bagpipe lung' death a warning to wind instrument players

The Scotsman banner
Articles of interest from
The Scotsman
Scotland's National Newspaper

Tesco Supermarket chain removes saltire from fruit packages

Fruit package

Vintage bagpipes complete 6000 mile journey to return home

Bagpipes return to Scotland

Positively Scottish - A New On-line Magazine
by Iain Lundy

Scots are a force for good the world over. Well they are, aren’t they? And ‘the world over’ includes the United States, a land filled with Scottish expats who are making a positive impact in their communities and the wider society.

Now a new Scottish-based online magazine wants to hear their stories. Positively Scottish is a not-for-profit venture launched recently in Glasgow which tells inspiring tales about Scotland and Scots, both at home and abroad.

Every two weeks an American expat is featured – and the magazine’s ‘foreign correspondent’ is Caledonian Society of Arizona member Iain Lundy, a journalist in Scotland since 1974 and now resident in Chandler.

He is keen to hear about anyone who fits the bill. Scots-born people who left their native land for a new life in America, and are now making a positive contribution to their adopted country. They can be doing anything from driving the school bus or running a local pet rescue service to volunteering as a firefighter or coaching the local school soccer team.

Successful academics, college sports stars, Highland dancers, Scottish singers, leading businesspeople, tireless charity workers – just as long as they emigrated from Scotland and are now settled in the States – are examples of the people Iain wants to hear about.

Among the people he has unearthed and profiled since Positively Scottish was launched are:

  • A basketball enthusiast originally from Dunfermline, Fife, who is now living in Virginia and teaching American kids how to play one of their Big 4 sports.
  • A mother and daughter from East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, now running a ‘tartan and haggis’ shop, and teaching Scottish country dancing in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • A Glasgow woman who has opened a school in Texas to help autistic and ‘socially challenged’ children to integrate into society.
  • And a Greenock-born Scottish folk singer, now based in Pennsylvania, who has played at Highland Games and festivals in every US state except Alaska.

As its name suggests, Positively Scottish focuses entirely on positive or ‘good news’ stories, often featuring people who have conquered adversity. The concept is known as ‘solutions journalism’ and contrasts with the traditional image of media stories as ‘negative’.

Co-founder Calum Macdonald, who worked with Iain for many years in Scotland, said, “We’ll focus on how people and groups tackle issues in a fast-changing world, and present an alternative to a mainstream media which some readers say has become too reliant on a diet of conflict, disaster, and clickbait.

"The site will always be free to access, apolitical, and will not host any digital advertising, helping to make your reading experience as enjoyable as possible.

“Positively Scottish will include a mixture of long reads, interviews, and profiles of largely unsung heroes in areas such as social enterprise, charities, the environment, and grassroots arts and sport.”

The magazine is operated by a Community Interest Company (CIC) whose directors share decades of experience in journalism, web development, digital design and the charity sector. Funding for the initial phase will come from a personal legacy and the nature of the CIC means any external finance that can be brought in must be re-invested in journalism.

Positively Scottish logo

Iain Lundy can be contacted on He is keen to hear about people from any part of the US, not just Arizona.

Positively Scottish can be found at and is also on Facebook and Twitter.

So why not sign up for a daily dose of Scottish positivity and the chance to comment on the articles?

A Celtic President?
Reprinted with permission from The Independent Celt

The Independent Celt takes no stand on this country’s presidential election – except to say we wish it were over. However, we are always interested in the activities and pursuits of Celts, whoever they may be. This year it appears that, if one of the presumed two top candidates wins the election, we will not only a Celtic president, but also a Celtic vice president.

Hilary Rodham Clinton is 3/8 Welsh. Her great grandmother, Mary Griffiths Jones, was born around 1850 into a community of all men and coal miners in Merthyr Tydfi, Wales, and emigrated to Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the 1870’s.

Donald trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, was born in 1912 into a family of crofters and fishermen in the village of Tong, in the parish of Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland. She also emigrated to America.

If we consider the vice presidential candidates, we bring the Irish into the mix. Both started out as Irish Catholics (although Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, switched to evangelical). Pence’s grandfather Richard Cawley was born in Sligo and emigrated to Chicago, Illinois in 1923.

Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, also takes pride in his Irish ancestry and has, with his family, visited the ruined cottage where his great grandfather lived ibn County Langford before emigrating to America.

As states, “for almost 250 years there hasn’t been an Irish American Catholic [vice president], until Joe Biden broke the Waterford Glass ceiling.” But now it looks like we’ll have a very Celtic White House for the next four years!

The Independent Celt is published monthly in Flagstaff, Arizona. A year’s subscription costs $15.00. Donations are accepted to offset printing costs. The Independent Celt accepts submission of articles, artwork, and features of interest to Celts. Deadline for submissions is the third Friday of the month preceding publication. For more information, and for Celtic updates throughout the month, visit – and “like” the Facebook page 

Membership Renewal Reminder

Dues are still only $25 Single and $40 Family. This admits you to all our wonderful monthly events with food and entertainment provided.

It’s easy to pay by credit card or PayPal, just jump to the Membership Page

Society Gatherings
Regular membership gatherings are held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Come join us or log on to

Caledonian Society Officers
President: Don Finch
Immediate Past President: Mark Clark
Past President: (2010 – 2012) Jean Latimer
Vice President Administration: Mark Pelletier
Vice President Games: Paul Bell
Vice President Membership : David McBee
Treasurer: Vicki Phegley
Trustee 1: Ian Warrander
Trustee 2: Thom von Hapsburg
Trustee 3: Dan Miller
Newsletter Editor:

Don Finch
Statutory Agent: Dan Miller
Chief Genealogist & Historian: Robert Wilbanks

A Word from our Advertisers

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