October 2017

In this Issue:

 ScotsToberfest  Burns Supper 2018
 Letter From the Editor  The Beautiful Queen
 The Sgian Dubh  Society Officers
 Research Your Scottish Ancestry  Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
 Odds and Sods  Future Gatherings for 2017
   A Word from our Advertisers

October Gathering - ScotsToberfest

Haus Murphy's Restaurant
5739 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale

Haus Murphy's Haus Murpy's

Our October Gathering will be the annual ScotsToberfest, on Thursday October 12. Join us at 6:30 for Social Hour, then a brief Annual General Meeting, and end evening of good food and friends.

There is no admission fee for this event -members and guests are welcome. Order from the Haus Murphy's menu on your own.

Please send an email to Mark Pelletier to give us an idea of how many are attending. Thanks.

Letter from the Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians:

It’s cooling down but it’s heating up. Huh! Whatzat! That makes sense in the context of Arizona’s weather and the Scottish community’s fall activities. Let’s take a look at what’s going on:

Thursday October 12th – it’s ScotsToberfest again at our favorite German eatery, Haus Murphy’s in Glendale. Come celebrate that old Alban-Teutonic holiday, beginning at 6:30 pm. Order from the menu and while you’re eating your brats and schnitzel, the Board will present our annual report. New members will be invited to join the Order of the Quaich, by partaking in a choice of Scotland’s finest beverages, uisce beatha or Irn Bru!

Saturday October 28th – it’s Scotland Day at the Mesa Library’s Red Mountain Branch, 635 N Power Rd. (just north of University Ave). There will be demonstrations, lectures, and discussions on Bag Pipes, Highland Dancing, tracing your Scottish roots, Scotch whisky, clans and tartans, travel to Scotland, and more. 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

November 3, 4, 5Tucson Celtic Festival & Scottish Highland Games. Our southern neighbors’ 31st annual fair is being held at Rillito Raceway Park. Many of our local athletes, Highland dancers, clan members and Pipe Bands will be participating. Stop by the CSA tent to say hi!

Saturday November 4th - The Arizona Fall Festival at Hance Park is a free and family-friendly celebration of everything local to Arizona featuring food from many fine restaurants, a beer & wine garden, booths from local merchants and live musical entertainment. Look for the CSA info. tent. l

Thursday November 9th – our monthly gathering returns to the ICC at 1106 N. Central Ave. Globetrotter Lois Wallace will take us on an armchair experience of Travel In Scotland. 6:30 pm bar opens; 7:00 pm Announcements and Presentation; 8:30 pm Raffle prizes

Sunday November 12th – RAF Memorial at Mesa City Cemetery – commemorative service for 23 Royal Air Force Cadets who died in flight training at the #4 British Flying Training School at Falcon Field. The service, which has been conducted for more than 30 years, will be held at 10:45 a.m. at the City of Mesa Cemetery located at 1212 N. Center Street, Mesa, AZ. The British Plot is located near the center of the cemetery. Representatives of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Air Force, the Daughters of the British Empire, and numerous other civic and patriotic organizations will attend. The Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band will perform. CSA will present a wreath. This is a FREE public event and all are invited.

Thursday December 14th – our annual Family Christmas Party will be held at the ICC. Please contact me if you’d like to serve on a planning committee. president@arizonascots.com

Beginning with the AGM at Haus Murphy’s on October 12th there’s a lot on our plate, but we know you have the appetite (ouch!) for a full Fall of fun festivities!


Sgian Dubh
By James G. Grant

The next time you see a man in a kilt, look and see if he is wearing a small knife in his stocking. If he is, why? The history of the sgian is interesting and not that ancient. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Highland kilted regiments for a good part of it's use and survival.

The origins of the knife are varied, but logic seems to point to a small knife used to clean and dress hunted stags. The blade was called a gralloching Knife. It was carried in the sporran or in a small sheath in the arm pit. When worn there it was called a Sgian Ochles, or arm pit knife. It was and is a handy utility knife, the same as a pocket or small belt knife today.

The rise of the Highland Regiments in the late 18th & early 19th century and the repeal of the ban on wearing the kilt in 1782 gave rise to the wearing of arms by the Highlanders, while in the army. If you look at any older Sgian dubhs, they really are minature copies of the larger dirks worn by officers in the Highland regiments. A bit of backtracking here. The Blackwatch at that point had always worn the dirk. They even wore them during part of the French and Indian wars in the 1760's, but turned them in later for Tomahawks, true story!!

Regimental Sgian DubhThe wearing of the Sgian Dubh became part of  the uniform, along with some typical regulations. In army regulations, the Sgian Dubh must be worn in the right stocking, along with the dirk on the belt, yep, right side. Too bad if you are left handed like me, then you have to walk backwards!!! Modern kiltwearing says that either side is correct.
                      At right: authentic Regimental Sgian Dubh

Modern Sgian dubh collecting and wearing can be a lot of fun. The collectors look for the knives that have been mounted in sterling silver or gilded in gold. Used army Sgian Dubhs are also very collectable and hard to find now. There is a plethora of less expensive knives available from your Tartan shops, Highland games and on-line. Be very careful with some of the cheaper imports. They might be a good price, but don't stand up to time and wear. Sgian dubhs are also great gifts for the graduate, weddings.

A few cautious steps will turn an old friend into a family treasure. Wipe the blade and scabbard with a silicon shoe polish pad. No rust. Take your knife out of your stocking and put on your car console when going home. Don't leave knife in scabbard when not wearing. No rust, no rot.

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

Geography: Past and Present

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

By now, through this column of the last year, you are seeing the many facets of researching your family history, incorporating a wide variety of topics, record types, online resources, continuous learning, etc., combined with thinking strategies. Don’t let it overwhelm you. It isn’t difficult, but there is a lot to think about when doing genealogy.

In the core of researching your family history, everything comes down to one significant factor: placing your ancestor at a time and in a place; finding your ancestor in a particular time at a specific place. Knowing your ancestor’s time and place helps direct your research further in the correct records of a particular time in a certain place. Time and place, time and place, this is key to your genealogical research. Many kinds of records will help identify the town, parish or county of origin for a family. Records of you ancestor in one time and place, can identify him from a previous time and place.

In this writing, I will talk about understanding Place: natural geography and manmade jurisdictions. In genealogical research, it is necessary to know at least the county where the family came from, thus allowing you to search the correct collection of local records according to jurisdiction. Whether researching in America, Canada, England and Scotland, it is important to know where to specifically begin the search. Determining the relevant record-keeping jurisdictions to which your ancestor belonged is a critical part of genealogy research.

Knowing where your ancestor lived helps to identify specific political or religious jurisdictions and their unique records and where they are located. Genealogy is significantly based upon a knowledge and understanding of geography, both present and past. Genealogists must learn to identify place-names and geographical jurisdictions, and their relationship between past and present.

In regard to geography, three significant factors can occur separately or in any combination: generations change, people move, and jurisdictions and place-names are newly created or change. For example, an Alexander Kirkpatrick in a particular county could be a young man just come of age, or a newcomer recently arrived, or a longtime resident who was shifted into the area merely by a boundary change. An example of a boundary change is if one record shows Donald Gordon as born in 1813 in Mississippi while another record shows him born in Alabama. Realize that Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory until 1817. Another name change example is Charleston, South Carolina which was originally Charles Town.

Also, be aware of multiple jurisdictions and place-names of the same name, and then there is the topography. An example of the former is in America where in almost all 50 states there are towns and counties with the names of Washington, Jefferson, Adams or Lincoln. Also, there is Portland, Maine, Portland, Oregon, Portland, Alabama and Portland, Texas. Meanwhile, topography effects your research, such as when William McNair, to avoid crossing a canyon or wide rushing river to get to the county courthouse of the county that he was living in, instead goes to the courthouse of the bordering county to record the birth, death, marriage or deed.

Like in America, land in Scotland is divided into many different jurisdictions; political and religious. Because libraries and archives organize and catalog their holdings by these geographical divisions, it is important to understand what divisions are used. One confusion of these many administrative districts is their intersecting of each other. Additionally, in 1974, Scotland reorganized its thirty-four counties of old into twelve jurisdictional regions. Most libraries organized and based their cataloging of their Scottish holdings according to the county system as of 1891; firmly established after the 1889 Local Government Scotland Act.

Within Scotland’s counties are multiple jurisdictions called parishes: both church parishes and civil parishes. Records may be organized depending upon these two types of parishes. For example, birth, death and marriage records, before 1855, are filed with the historic church parishes, but then beginning in 1855 they are filed in the civil parishes of the county. Ecclesiastical parishes are based upon the Church of Scotland, but those parishes can be identical to the civil parishes of the same are, though there are exceptions. Civil Parishes, created around 1845, are the government's parishes which in 1930 were re-designated as districts and then in 1975 changed to Council Area. Realize that many towns can have the same names of civil parishes; distinguish the difference. Wikipedia has a page that provides a good explanation of the Civil Parishes of Scotland and identifies all 871: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civil_parishes_in_Scotland

If you can locate a county in Scotland where your ancestor came from, you may be able to narrow down your research to one of the parishes in that county. However, if you already know the town the ancestor came from, identifying the parish and county is easier.

Other administrative divisions include a variety of sub-denominations, smaller divisions within a parish, as well as geographical features and communities. An electoral division is a civil unit which was used to keep valuation records. This FamilySearch Wiki page talks about Scotland’s Historical Geography: www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Scotland_Historical_Geography

Maps, atlases, and gazetteers are necessary tools in genealogy. Maps can be either political, topographical or historical. All can show the names of towns, counties and states, and rivers and mountains. These maps come in various sizes. Numerous historical maps for various countries, states, and counties help genealogists know how the region has changed and who was living where, and when. Gazetteers are significant at identifying any place name in Scotland, past and present. This FamilySearch Wiki page discusses Scotland’s many historical and current Gazetteers both in book and online: www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Scotland_Gazetteers

Here I have explained the importance of understanding the administrative divisions when doing genealogy research. This applies to any country you are researching, whether the United States, Canada, England, etc. Here I tried to fundamentally show you the significance of knowing the region where in Scotland your family is from, knowing more about your research locale, and studying maps and the history of this region to help you in your research.

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


Edinburgh Red Phone Boxes will
change to Mini Offices

Say Goodbye to the Round Pound

Burns Supper - 2018

Mark your calendar now for February 3, 2018 when the Caledonian Society and the Daughters of Scotia will hold a joint Burns Supper.l

More information to come - but save the date!

The Beautiful Queen (A Halloween Tale)
by Jo Ramsdell

On Halloween/Samhain we remember those who have gone on before and try not to be afraid of the darkness, for on this the veil between the worlds is thin.  The dead walk; shadows paint sinister shades of fear on our souls.

There has been much said lately about returning Mary Queen of Scots to Scotland to rest with her “ain” folk.

Mary, Queen of ScotsShe was beautiful and learned to play the game of intrigue in the French Court where she matched wits with her formidable mother-in-lay Catherine de Medici. 

Fate rolled the dice and a young widowed Queen returned to Scotland.  She married Lord Darnley.  His mysterious murder set Mary on the pathway to her own death. 

An appeal to Elizabeth of England was a fatal misstep.  After years of captivity, on February 8, 1587, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded.

Statue in the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh (Mark Pelletier photo)

Elizabeth, The Virgin Queen of England, kept suitors in a cauldron of boiling hormones and aroma of power.  Yet on Elizabeth’s deathbed, it was Mary’s son James who gained the crown.  He ordered Fotheringay Castle raised to the ground.  The landlord of the Talbot Inn in nearby Oundie, Northampton saw an opportunity to refurbish his ancient inn in grand style at a reasonable cost.  He purchased the stone from the walls, the great windows and the very staircase the tragic Queen had descended to her death; solid oak, such a bargain!  AND, at no extra cost he got Mary’s ghost!

Shortly after the renovations were complete, the stories began.  Patrons walking up or down the fine staircase felt cold as if wrapped in a shroud; felt a sense of impending doom overwhelm them. 

By an ironic twist of fate, the Royal Executioner had stayed at the Talbot on the night before he murdered the Queen in the name of the Crown.  His ghost can be seen enjoying a fine meal ‘n’ a pint.  Dare to stay the night and you may hear a woman sobbing.  Mary, crying for all that could have been?

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

October 7 Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival
October 7 Reno Celtic Celebration
October 12 ScotsToberfest - October Gathering
October 14 Ventura Seaside Highland Games Ventura CA
October 28 Scotland Day at the Mesa Library
November 3, 4, 5 Tucson Celtic Festival Tucson AZ
November 3 Moab Celtic Festival Moab UT
November 4 Arizona Fall Festival at Hance Park
November 9 Monthly Gathering at the ICC
November 12 RAF Memorial at City of Mesa Cemetery
December 14 Our Annual Christmas Party at the ICC
February 3, 2018 Burns Supper (Joint CSA and DOS)







Thursday 12th


ScotsToberfest and AGM


Thursday 9th


Sctoland Travel PResentationl


Thursday 14th


Annual Family Christmas Party

Membership Renewal Reminder

Membership Special for New Members joining for the rest of 2017:
- - $12.50 single and $20.00 Family (at the same address)

It's easy - just jump to the Membership Page for the form.
And you can pay by Credit Card at our On-Line Store descibed at the left.

Society Gatherings
Regular membership gatherings are usually held the second Thursday of each month, many at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix - others around the Valley - usually 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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