December 2017

In this Issue:

 CSA Christmas Gathering  Burns Supper 2018
 Letter From the Editor  Assoc of Scottish Games Meeting
 The Highland Dirk  Society Officers
 The Land of Fire and Ice  Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
 Odds and Sods  Research Your Scottish Ancestry
 Fall Promotion Tour  A Word from our Advertisers

Caledonian Society Annual Christmas Gathering

Scottish Christmas GreeeetingsJoin us on Thursday December 14 for the Annual Caledonian Society Christmas Gathering.

A light dinner of delicious soup and breads will be served. We ask that you bring a dessert item to share with the group.

There will be musical entertainment by Sarah Noble, and gifts for children attending.

Social Half-Hour starts at 6:30 PM with dinner at 7 PM. The gathering will be held at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central, Phoenix.

Please email Mark Pelletier with the number of adults and of children who plan to attend.

Letter from the Editor, Don Finch

Dear fellow Caledonians:

We’re back! Publisher Mark Pelletier was traveling out-of-the country and I had out-of-the-country house guests so the Desert Highlander Newsletter was on furlough for November.

It was an exciting month as our promotional activities for next year’s Phoenix Scottish Games are in full swing. I had the pleasure of participating in eight different events telling folks about next year’s Games, and to also promote next summer’s “Best of Scotland” trip.

We hope you enjoy the pictures of the events which follow in the newsletter.

St. Andrew's DayThis is being written on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30th which is a bank holiday in Scotland and one of the most important feast days.

Although we celebrated the holiday last year at the Phoenix Country Club, we’ll incorporate it into our Family Christmas Party on this coming Thursday December 14th at the Irish Cultural Center. Santa’s helpers will have a wee gift for the children; hot delicious soup will be served, and we ask you to bring some of your Christmas baking to share. There will be live Christmas music, a 50-50 Raffle plus several door prizes.

Three KingsMark your calendars for the Burns Supper on Saturday February 3rd. We’re joining up with The Lady Claire Lodge of the D.O.S. at the American Legion in Chandler to present an authentic Burns Supper at an affordable price. Please let us know after the event if we achieved our goal!

Finally, there’s still time to reserve your seat on our ‘Best of Scotland’ tour July 29 through August 4, 2018. CSA member Lois Wallace has put together a great trip and part of the proceeds will benefit the Society.

My family and I are going and Lois worked with us on some additional items such as the Edinburgh Tattoo and visiting Burns Country in Ayrshire.

On behalf of the Board, please accept our best wishes for a wonderful Christmas holiday season and, don’t forget to celebrate Hogmanay on the final day of the year. Haste ye back!


The Highland Dirk
By James G. Grant

The Highland DirkIt lay unnoticed, unwanted on a shelf in an antique shop in Inverness. It's not very impressive, not as some of the dirks you see in the finer museum's in Scotland. In fact it is so plain that it was being used as a letter opener by the shop owner.

The knife appears to have been exposed to to weather for untold years. the blade is badly rusted and the bog oak carved handle has a large crack on the backside.

Why did I buy it, well, I have a problem with old antiques that need a home and a bit of care! There were a couple of more reasons too.

The blade is from a broken sword blade that has been hafted with a carved celtic interweave motif.  The pommel is topped with a brass disc. The haunches on the handle are reminiscent of the old ballock knife, a true ancestor of the Scottish dirk. It is a true weapon from the Jacobite period!

We never found out where it came from, but, I took the chance and brought it home many years ago. It is now a treasure and I truly feel it is one of the older dirks in the U.S. Circa 1700 + or- a few years. Pretty good deal for $15.00! 

The Land of Fire and Ice Scottish Games
By Katy Horgan

Iceland was the host of the 2017 Scottish Masters Highland Games Word Championships. The competition ran for two days, June 24th and 25th, in Hafnarfjörður, which is a port town just south of Reykjavik. Iceland is a country of only about 334,000 with lush summer countrysides and summer temperatures rarely ever reaching 80 degrees. I won’t mention the winter temps.

The Scottish Games aka “Highland Games,” or “The Games,” as referred to by most athletes, is a competition of throwing heavy things for distance and height, tossing a heavy bag over a bar with a sheaf fork, and the ever-popular caber tossing (that’s the tree trunk that most refer to as a telephone pole). It is a fierce competition that is also about community, which is a dichotomy of sorts. It is not unusual to find a seasoned athlete teaching, and coaching, a new competitor during the games. It lessons the intimidation factor for the “newbies,” and keeps athletes coming back.

Masters status hits when an athlete reaches his/her 40th birthday. That’s when the real fun begins. The world championships are held all over the world in a different location every year. The world championships master’s classes are divided into groups with a 5-year age range: 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and so on. The weights get a bit lighter, but the athletes are still just as competitive. Participants not only compete against others, but try to best their own scores as well, making it a sport that is continuously challenging.

There are many former world champions as well as those that continue to break records. As long as one can continue to compete, the possibility of reaching champion status is still viable. I made the venture across the Atlantic in representing Arizona, along with Brent Abbott, Stan Dickey, Nisie Ryan. Max Sadtler, a part-time AZ resident also made the trek. Athletes in the masters are a different breed, with a different take on the games.

Brent Abbott, stated, “The fellowship is the best part of competing as a masters.” He also added that the 42 pound weight is much better than the 56 pounder the men compete with before hitting the ripe age of forty. Stan Dickey agreed with Abbott that the lighter weight is a definite perk. Dickey also said, “The conversations we have are more serious and there is a real comradeship amongst the athletes.” Adding to the camaraderie and the lighter weights bonus, Max Sadler chimed in with stating that achieving personal records into his late forties is pretty great. “Great throwers and great attitudes is great fun,” Stadtler commented. Nisie Ryan adds to Sadtler’s philosophy by stating that she is just happy to still be competing after 15+ years.

KaAty Horgan competing in Iceland

This being only my second year in competition, I have to agree with my fellow comrades and add that being able to still be a competitive athlete in my forties is extraordinary. Throw (pun intended) in the support and companionship and it is a sport that continues to fuel athletes for as long as their bodies allow them to throw. The competition was extra special to me as I am half Icelandic and it was unforgettable to be able to compete in one of my motherlands. Iceland is unique as it is heated thermally, from the ground up, due to the volcanoes. In the summer, a period of a few hours of twilight, at best, is reached, which is an adjustment for anyone who travels to this isle of Viking folklore. All athletes agree that the terrain is next to none, but the food is über expensive, and I mean all of it. I tried the puffin, which I don’t recommend…but when is one ever going to see puffin on a menu?

In short, being a Highland Games master’s athlete affords competitors the opportunity to travel and compete in some pretty amazing countries and to be able to experience myriad cultures. As Stan Dickey concluded, “Competing is a welcome distraction to work and life, and an easy way to focus the mind on something other than things beyond one’s control.”

So, for those of you on the fence, take the leap. The world is your oyster. Skál!

Odds and Sods
The Scotsman

Glenwyvis Green Whisky Distillery Opens

Is This Scotland's Most Unusual Airbnb?

Fall Promotion Tour 2017
by Don Finch

The Society uses most opportunities that present themselves to us to promote the Phoenix Scottish Games, special events such as our upcoming ‘Best of Scotland’ trip, and increase membership. Here’s a few pictures of events we’ve participated in since the end of October.

Fall Promotion Toour Fall Promotion Tour Fall Promotion Tour

Burns Supper - 2018

2018 Burns Supper

Association of Scottish Games Meeting
by Paul Bell

The 2017 Association of Scottish Games and Festivals Annual Conference was held recently in Myrtle Beach, S.C. It was an outstanding conference!

Friday there was a meet and greet prior to an outing for dinner and a scotch and beer tasting. On Saturday we got down to business with a panel discussion featuring local media people from TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising. We all came away with some ideas on reaching out to media.

From there the rest of the day was filled with break out sessions covering a variety of subjects. Partnering with local organizations to market ticket sales, having drones at your event and planning for succession within the organization for future events. There were discussions aimed at smaller games with low budgets to using apps for ticket sales. It was a very busy day!

To relax most of us got together to do some more networking and socializing at a seafood restaurant. Lots of networking was done during breaks and at the after-hour functions. Ideas were exchanged, contact info was offered and invitations were extended by all those there to the other to visit their respective games.

ASsoc of Scottsh Games meetingOn a side note, I have been appointed to act as the Treasurer for the Association of Scottish Games and Festivals for a term of two years.


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

December 14 Our Annual Christmas Party at the ICC
January 11, 2018 Monthly Gathering at the ICC
February 3, 2018 Burns Supper (Joint CSA and DOS)

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

RObert WilbanksEmigration, Immigration and Naturalization

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

One of the more difficult problems faced by genealogists is finding the place of origin of an ancestor. There are a variety of records which help to determine where an ancestor came from and when. Here, however, I will discuss types of records which are most directly and specifically a result of the process of leaving the "Old World", coming to America, and becoming an American.

Scottish history is filled with the ongoing emigration of the people of Scotland. For several centuries, large numbers of Scots forcibly or voluntarily left Scotland for the far reaches of the globe. America and Canada are just a couple of the many places that the Scots had gone to in great numbers.

I use the term "forcibly" in a variety of contexts. The most familiar example being the many Scots who opposed British rule who were, as a result, shipped as political-prisoners or convicts, or escaped on their own, to the many British colonies around the world. Economics was another factor which forced many to leave Scotland. The size of Scotland with its rural based economy, combined with its harsh mountainous land and weather, limited the population that Scotland could support. Meanwhile, at times Scotland was forced to export its resources to Great Britain, leaving little left for the Scottish. Early British rule made it difficult, if not impossible, to own land, or businesses, or otherwise support themselves and their families; even after Unification. Many had to leave Scotland in the hopes of finding a better way of life.

The population of Scotland nearly tripled from 1800 to 1870. As a result, things would come to a climax and have a dramatic effect on the land and people of Scotland. The infamous Famine of Ireland (1845-1856) was also a little known event in Scotland. The Highland Potato Famine of 1846 to 1856 was a horrific result of a combination of Scotland’s population explosion, British rule, and nature. The Potato, introduced into Ireland and Scotland in the late 1500s, had become an inexpensive staple of the masses. It was the only resource left by the British in sufficient quantity to support Scotland’s population. When the potato blight hit Ireland in the fall of 1845, and the Highlands of Scotland in 1846, it was the beginning of years of starvation and disease. Relief was impossible, and over a million deaths occurred during this period. Over a million more emigrated, many coming to America.

The term "voluntarily" is used in respect to Scottish adventurers. Many Scots left to travel the world, see new sights, and to fight as soldiers of fortune in the different European Armies. With the discovery of new untamed continents and their colonization, more Scottish adventurers left Scotland to build new lives, own land or seek fortune in a variety of other ways. They often became merchants, promoting trade, setting up military outposts and way stations for merchant ships, etc.

In beginning Scottish Genealogy, several basic questions can help direct your research. The most significant question is "Where did my family come from in Scotland?" Knowing the town or civil or ecclesiastical parish is significantly beneficial, but knowing the county may still be useful. It is necessary to know at least the county in Scotland where the family came from before beginning your research there. If unknown, then you must begin in American records, searching for documents that will identify the origin of your Scottish ancestor.

As discussed in a previous article, census records can lead to a time and place for birth, death and marriage records, occupational records, city directories, etc., which together can provide significant information including possibly where your ancestor came from and when. The 1900 U.S. census is the earliest which began to specifically inquire as to citizenship status of each individual, including year of immigration to America and whether naturalized, thus leading you to the American records most directly associated with emigration, immigration and naturalization.

The U.S. immigration and naturalization process creates an extensive series of records which can help identify when your ancestor came to America and, most importantly, a county or township of origin in Scotland. The stages that these records were created begin in Scotland or England with such records as Letters of Manumission, Letters of Recommendation, Permits to Emigrate, Indentures, Travel Documents, Customs Records and Passenger Lists from the point of departure, though it can be rare for these records to be extant. Upon arrival in America the next stage of records include Passenger Lists, Customs Records, Oaths of Allegiance, Declaration of Intent, and Health, Hospital and Newspaper records at the port of entry. The settling stage, in America, can include records of Immigrant Aid Societies, Churches and Newspapers. The final stage, Naturalization, includes Alien Registration, Oath of Allegiance, Declaration of Intention, Petition for Naturalization, and finally the Certificate of Naturalization.

Clearly, you can’t necessarily start searching these records in Scotland, where the process of emigration, immigration and naturalization begins. The strategy is to start with the variety of naturalization records, the final stage, here in America, and backtrack your ancestor through the stages of records as identified above.

After 1906, U.S. naturalization records are found at the Federal level. Prior to that date they appear in Federal, State or County Courts, dependent upon residency of the immigrant. America’s Passenger Lists weren’t begun until 1820 and are fairly complete through 1945 at the National Archives. Today, they are fairly readily accessible on websites previously discussed, such as FamilySearch, MyHeritage or FindMyPast. With New York as a major port of entry from Europe, is a website of the most notable historic entry point for 11 million immigrants from 1820 to 1892 with a significant index. As a new facility, picks up from 1892 to 1957 with 51 million immigrants.

With regard to Scotland’s Emigration records, a wide variety of databases are noted and links are provided on the FamilySearch Scotland Emigration and Immigration wiki-page:  including ships to America or Canada, and British Records of Emigration; links provided are Free sites or Pay sites.

Emigration, immigration and naturalization records are a significant resource and historic aspect of any family history. Knowing types of records created, if extant, and if available and accessible for use, can be key to taking your family back to the ancestral homeland.

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.

Membership Renewal Reminder

Membership Special for New Members joining for 2018:
- - $25.00 single and $40.00 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

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