July 2017

In this Issue:

 Follow the Piper Pub Crawl  My Childhood in Scotland
 Letter From the Editor  Book Corner
 Visiting the Chicago Scots  Society Officers
 Research Your Scottish Ancestry  Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
 Odds and Sods  Future Gatherings for 2017
   A Word from our Advertisers

Follow the Piper Pub Crawl - Saturday July 8


Join us on July 8 for a Saturday evening of fun and fellowship on Mill Avenue. We will visit three Tempe pubs - led by piper Josh Prout of Fuil Celtic

Rula Bula Irish Pub & Restaurant - 401 S. Mill Ave, Tempe
A trip to Scotland's favorite neighor for refreshment and food - website
Rula Bula

Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row - 640 S. Mill Ave, Tempe
Its a Tempe "home town boy" bar with great refreshments - website
Whiskey Row

Gordon Biersch Brewing Company - 420 S. Mill Ave, Tempe
Scotland's connection to Germany dates back to the medieval period, when armies were shared, and probably an ale or two -website
Gordon Biersch

Saturday July 8th - note the date!

5:30 pm ----------------- Meet at Rula Bula
7:30 pm ------------ Parade to Whiskey Row
8:45 pm ---------- Parade to Gordon Biersch

There will be NO Gathering at the ICC in July !

Please RSVP to thewarranders@hotmail.com
or (602) 391-0223 (voice or text)

Transportation Options (on your own)

  • Valley Metro (stops 1/2 block north of Rula Bula) - website
  • Yellow Cab - (480) 666-0422
  • Discount Cab - (602) 200-2000
  • Uber - website
  • Lyft - website

Letter from the Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians:

SurfboarderIs it ‘vacation’ or ‘holidays’? Growing up in English-speaking and Scottish-influenced Eastern Ontario – we went on ‘summer holidays’. When our family moved to California in the early eighties, our daughter took ‘summer vacation’. Which is correct?

Here’s one answer:Briefly, a "vacation" is one that you plan. A "holiday" is one that is planned by government, tradition etc. e.g. School holiday, public holiday.” -- Definitions per Stack Exchange

[The "English Language & Usage Stack Exchange" is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.]

In Scotland, school summer holidays start in late June and last for about six or seven weeks, with most schools returning around August 17.

Across Greater Phoenix, summer vacation starts at Memorial Day and resumes late July/early August.

Regardless, in the words of one of Phoenix’ greatest poets and songwriters, Alice Cooper….

School's out for summer
School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces

No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher's dirty looks

Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not go back at all

Your CSA editorial staff is also” out for the summer” so this issue of the Desert Highlander Newsletter will be somewhat abbreviated.

Don Finch

But we’ve got two great upcoming events planned: the “Follow the Piper Pub Crawl” on Saturday July 8th, and a Genealogy Workshop on Thursday August 10th.

So, pick up a good book (there are several mentioned in this issue), pour a good Highland blended malt over some ice, and dream about your favorite summer holiday, or, vacation!

Don Finch, Editor

Visiting the Chicago Scots
by Paul Bell, Vice President Games

This past month I paid a visit to the Chicago Scots 31st Annual Festival and Highland Games in Itasca, IL. Their event is very similar to ours in most areas.

They are lucky enough to have a dairy farmer close that has a few Highland Coos that were in attendance! There were over 20 pipe bands competing from as far away as Maryland and Atlanta.

Their event is held in a very large park area adjacent to a business center, which allows them to close off streets and have access to a parking garage - where we all had to take refuge when the thunder storm rolled through on Saturday afternoon.

While there, I talked to several vendors about coming to the Phoenix Scottish Games and was surprised to see a few of our vendors there as well. It was an informative weekend where I spent quite a bit of time exchanging ideas with the event organizers from the Chicago Scots as well as the St. Andrews Society.

Below is a shot from the VIP area looking out at the beer tent, with the stage to the right of the tent.

Chicago Games 2017

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

FamilySearch Library and Website

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

The last article began to introduce you to some uniquely genealogy specific internet resources. Specifically, it discussed a few fee-based subscription sites that give you access to original records and resources, while also including software to build a family tree. Here I want to introduce you to one completely free genealogy site that is filled with an extensive wealth of original records, documents and more, while also helping you to build a genealogy, or connect to already existing family trees.

FamilySearch is the consumer brand for a variety of genealogy products and services operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church). It was originally founded in 1894 as the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) with the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City as its original primary resource center.

In 1938, the GSU began the process of microfilming records of genealogical significance around the world. In 1963, the master copies of these microfilms were stored in a Granite Mountain Vault for long-term preservation. The GSU also collected pedigree charts and family group sheets, and in the early periods of computer systems, they built a variety databases of genealogy information.

The Family History Library, on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and built in 1985, is a four-level building with two additional basement levels consisting of the greatest wealth of genealogy resources. It is the most significant genealogy library around the world. While the Library is open to the public free of charge, and while images of their faith is exhibited throughout the building, there is absolutely no effort to convert or teach patrons of their religion.

The Library holds genealogical records from over 200 countries around the world and consists of over 1.6 million rolls onsite, with access to another 2.4 million rolls offsite. The collection also consists of 727,000 microfiche, 356,000 books, 4500 magazine titles and another 3725 electronic resources. And if you can’t make it to Salt Lake City, there are over 5000 Family History Centers, branches of the Library, in over 134 countries around the world that you can regularly visit to conduct your research and access resources from the main Library.

FamilySearch, the website – familysearch.org – has become the more modern electronic and digital arm of the GSU and FHL. With this site, you can set up a free account and begin to access a wide variety of digitized resources and build a family tree. This site is one of the most heavily used genealogy websites on the internet.

The website was first opened in May 1999, and became so popular so quickly that it crashed within weeks. By October 1999 it surpassed 1.5 billion hits, and in November 1999 a major project uploaded over 240 million names from a preexisting database, bringing the names on this site to 640 million. The site continued to grow with major updates in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2013. In 2014 it entered a partnership with Ancestry, FindMyPast and MyHeritage, sharing massive amounts of data. Other databases such as FindAGrave and BillionGraves were also added to the data content in FamilySearch.

Digitization of the FHL’s microfilm collection began slowly in the mid-2000s and picked up speed such that the expected completion date is far sooner than originally anticipated. As over 1.5 billion rolls of microfilm have been digitized to date, a new completion date has been updated to 2020 for the entire collection.

In addition to original records, FamilySearch also has permanent uploaded genealogies from various genealogists; a catalog of all the other resources of the Family History Library, including resources from Brigham Young University’s family history and archive collection; 325,000 digitized books; and the Family History Research Wiki. The Wiki is particularly helpful in providing resources information and research techniques related to localities and record types, and more.

A key component of FamilySearch is Family Tree, where individuals can enter their family data and search the records and link original sources to the Family Tree and continue to build an extensive genealogy. You can print, download or upload your Family Tree. The Family Tree component is set up as a collaborative project making it interactive and composed of shared content, allowing people to make changes at will; the drawback is the so-called “fixes” made by other people who may not fully understand genealogy or how FamilySearch works, potentially creating problems. But it is still well worth utilizing this extensive genealogy resource.

The “Get Help” feature includes a “Help Center” and “Learning Center” with written and video tutorials. Additionally, FamilySearch has a YouTube channel with over 132 education videos: www.youtube.com/user/FamilySearch  or search YouTube with the terms “FamilySearch basics” for many other videos to help you get started.

This is another of a series of articles in which I show you the basics of searching for your family history, discussing the use of family records, public records, and online resources nationally and internationally, etc. The previous articles are now available on the Genealogy Section of this website.   See “Genealogy” in the menu options at the top of the web page.

Odds and Sods

Wilderness Scotland
The Scotsman

What is a Scotlish Summer Like?

Do You Know These Scottish Flags?

An Argentinian’s Memories of a Scottish Childhood
by Élida M. Testai
Edited by Don Finch

I was going through my library realizing that it was high time I gave it away before death unexpectedly visits me and all those marvelous books end up in the trash. Among my treasures I found three books related to Scottish topics. One of these books is an anthology of Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet. The other two were about Scottish culture: an anthropological recount of Scottish life, and the other about weddings.

So I contacted the Caledonian Society of Arizona, and dropped off my books at Don Finch’s house to save them from extermination.

My story with the Scots starts at the tender age of 5, when my mother decided that I would attend a private English school run by Scottish nationals. This would have been nothing surprising except for the fact that my country of origin is Argentina, a land of gauchos (a sort of local cowboy) and tango, and my mother tongue, Spanish.  Regarding my connection with Scots there are some things that have had a very strong impression on me: music, dance, geography and history.

My music teacher in the elementary school was Mrs. Dodds, a very kind woman with white hair, black framed glasses, and who used a walking stick. Music meant singing together songs written in English, and as I would learn later, in … ‘Scottish’. Because I had a nice voice, I became a soloist for the St. Andrew’s Society of the River Plate yearly competition and the songs Mrs. Dodds chose for me to sing were written in Scottish. Now, it was already a lot for me to speak and write English –a foreign language-and now I had to sing in Scottish. I did not know the meaning of the words that I pronounced, but I knew what the story was about. At that time, I did not know that some of the songs I was singing had been written by Robert Burns; I learnt this much later in life.

One of these songs I sang as a soloist was the ballad ‘Jock O’Hazeldean’.
(Take a look at more updated version to understand more what this is about.)  

From Robert Burns I sang: A Rosebud by my Early Walk. I believe I won at least one of these tournaments at the St. Andrew’s Society.

Argentinian memoribiliaThen, my mother signed me up for Scottish Highland dance lessons, and I had a real Scottish green plaid kilt with the pin and leather sporran with Celtic knots. I enjoyed the steps and hops of the dance very much. But it was at the St. Andrew’s dance competition that I experienced the sword dance with the boys on stage. I thought it was so elegant, sophisticated and unique having to place the feet in the spaces in between the crossed swords that were lying on the floor.

Geography of the British Iles was taken very, very seriously. Our childish minds had to learn every single turn, curve, slope, water course and firth in the small islands, and all about the economy and the demographics,etc. But what I really liked most of it all was the intricacies of the west coast of Scotland with its milliard saw-like rugged indentations that looked like curls blown by a westward wind. And also, the black and white photos in our geography books of castles surrounded in mist and clouds at ground level (for a non-European child, castles and knights were fascinating).

As for history, two events struck me. One was the fate of Mary Queen of Scots the Catholic queen, murdered by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, after of so many years in captivity. ‘How can someone be so low!, I thought to myself, my heart taken by Mary’s destiny.

The other point in history that struck me is Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Romans to stop the Scots (barbarians by Roman standards) from invading the Roman empire, in what is today England. Now, to me at the time (bear in mind that I may have been a 4th grader) it was unconceivable that such a great advanced civilization –the Romans which I admired as a very proud descendant Sicilian from my father’s side; could have been threatened by those I thought to be unorganized tribes (this would be the Scots). But I did not investigate further, and the question stayed lingering in my mind.

Later in life I had the opportunity to visit and live in Europe, and I made a trip to view Hadrian’s Wall. On my trip to Scotland I visited Glasgow and Edinburgh. There, I did see the castles, the pubs, the incomprehensible accent and language, the deep green lawns and their goats, the mist, the sea, the mystery arising from unrealistic blurred vision.

So it is not surprising to understand why I so closely followed Scotland’s referendum for independence from the United Kingdom in 2014. I was hoping for independence, but it did not turn out that way, we (we means it was my cause too) were just a little bit short. It will not be a surprise either, that something deep stirs inside me when I hear the fascinating, spellbinding sound of a bagpipe.

St. Andrew’s Society of the River Plate
St. Catherine’s Moorland School

Book Corner - Letter from an Author

Dear Editor - The Desert Highlander

Further to an email I sent to you some months ago about a book of Scottish short stories I have written called “Free as the Wind” I can now advise that the book is now available as a paperback through all major on-line booksellers such as Amazon, etc. As mentioned previously it is also available for Kindle and Kobo. I believe your members may be interested in this and would ask, if possible, that this email and its content could be circulated to them? A full detail of the book and how to purchase together with a sample text is available at www.ic-booksandmusic.co.uk. The site also includes photos and a short video from my recent charity walk in the Outer Hebrides together with some of my music and other items of interest
A synopsis “Free as the Wind” is as follows:
Free as the Wind – Part 1 – A short story set around a proposed oil industry development on the Hebridean island of Skye and the magical, mystical opposition to the project from around the Outer Hebrides.

Free as the Wind – Part 2 – A follow-on story that includes additional locations in Orkney together with visits to the parliaments in Westminster and Holyrood. It also features Chinese involvement and all again set within a mystical and folklore background.

The Lassa Stories – A series of short stories portraying life and events on a fictitious Hebridean island set in the nineteen sixties: Never on a Sunday / The Stranger / Ship in distress / The Big Match / Iain’s eventful summer.

Lassa 2012 – The next generation visits the fictitious island and becomes embroiled in a further adventure set around a renewable energy project.

The Witch of Kintyre – Revenge and romance set around the Kintyre peninsula and also featuring the gloriously scenic islands of Islay and Gigha.

Safe and Sound – A short story about two friends escaping after the battle of Culloden against the background of a family feud. It is set around Ross-shire and Helmsdale in the Sutherland area of Scotland.

Ian CouperThanking you in anticipation and I’ll be happy to answer any queries if required.

Kind Regards

Ian Couper
Mob: 07963 411978

COMING EVENTS and Highland Games in Arizona and Nearby
Games Calendar compiled by Clan Campbell Society NA

July 8 (Saturday) Follow the Piper Pub Crawl (July Gathering)
July 13 No Gathering at the ICC
July 15-16 Arizona Highland Celtic Festival (Flagstaff)
August 5-6 Monterey Highland Games (CA)
August 10 Gathering at the ICC - Genealogy Presentation
November 3-5 Tucson Celtic Festival







Thursday 10th


Genealogy Presentation


Saturday 16th


Kilts on Ice Curling Bonspiel


Thursday 12th


ScotsToberfest and AGM


Thursday 9th




Sunday 12th


RAF Memorial, Mesa City Cemetery


Thursday 14th


Annual Family Christmas Party

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. Payments received in November or December of 2016 include full year membership for 2017.

It’s easy to pay by credit card at our On-Line Shopping Cart - just jump to the Membership Page

Society Gatherings
Regular membership gatherings are usually held the second Thursday of each month at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. beginning at 6:30 pm. Please check our website for further details.

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
Secretary Ginni Caldwell
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

Kilt Rental USA

Len Wood
Bagpiper USB

Lois Wallace


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