September 2018         Title    Past Issues

In this Issue:

  September Gathering at Four Peaks   World Championship Competition
  President's Letter   Irish Arts Summer Camp
  Services Held for Jean Latimer   Society Officers
  2019 Highland Games Planning   Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
  Scotland's Hidden Gems   A Word from our Advertisers
  Research Your Scottish Ancestry  

September Gathering - Friday 9/21
Have you  seen Nessie?

"Halfway to the Highlands"

Friday September 21 - 4 PM to 8 PM
Four Peaks Brewing, 2401 S. Wilson, Tempe

Celebrating the halfway point to the 2019 Phoenix Scottish Games
A variety of Four Peaks brews - and food, available for sale inside and outside
See demonstrations by Highland athletes and dancers. Free and open to the Public

In October there are two events to look forward to. The annual Scots-tober-fest at Haus Murphy in Glendale will take place on Thursday 11 October.

And the Society will again play a major role at the ‘Highlanders and Outlanders" event at the Red Mountain Library in Mesa on 20 October (10:30 to 4:30). As well as pipe bands and Highland dancing, there will be a display of classic British cars, a genealogy lecture by Robert Wilbanks, a travelogue by Lois Wallace, a whisky lecture by Don Finch, and a clan lecture by Bob Wallace.

Letter from the President
David McBee

Hooray, the cool autumn days are arriving and the leaves are turning… Who am I kidding, it’s hot!!

Looking to cooler weather, we are NOT meeting at the ICC on 13 September but INSTEAD at the Four Peaks Brewery, on Friday September 21, from 4 pm to 8 pm, 2401 S Wilson St, Tempe.

This event is the Four Peaks employee party and we are invited as they are our major Games sponsor. I do hope you can attend to show our sponsor who we are and what we are really about beyond the hectic days of the Games. We are planning to have representatives of various areas from our Games in attendance as well as some local schools. It is a chance to recruit new young people into the events and grow our base. We will also be selling Games tickets. Please come and represent us and help build a bigger and better relationship with our local community and sponsor.

In October, our meeting will be at Haus Murphy in Glendale which is a great event with good food and a friendly environment. I think the kilts warm up the place right before they begin their Octoberfest celebrations.

David McBee We are reaching out to new people all of the time. Please consider joining the social events committee to bring your energy and personality to the fore. Just contact any CSA committee member to put your name forward. Let’s have fun together and hope to see you at the Prescott Games on 15 and 16 September for some higher altitude fellowship.

Slainte. DAVID

Services Held for Jean Latimer

Jean's Church Caledonian Society members bade a sad farewell to former President Jean Latimer last month at a well-attended service of remembrance in Phoenix. Jean, who died in July aged 86, had been a member of the Society for 22 years and was held in huge regard and affection. More than 30 members, past and present, joined the congregation at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where they heard Jean described as someone who was always at the forefront of organizing.

The Society’s Vice President Membership Thom von Hapsburg spoke of Jean’s willingness to volunteer, and her enthusiasm for all Society projects, notably the annual Scottish Games. Society member and Pipe Major Len Wood played a number of Scottish tunes, including Amazing Grace.

Latimer Memorial Several friends and Society committee members have paid personal tributes and spoken of their memories of Jean.

Her long-time friend Jean Whyman, who now lives in San Antonio, Texas, said, “Jean and I have been close friends for more than 20 years and I’m going to miss her very much. Even though I moved to Texas, we still kept in contact and I always got to see her when I returned to Phoenix to visit my family. “I’m just so sorry that I was unable to attend her services. I’m pleased to know that she is in a better place and that she is with her beloved ‘Mel’ again.”

Scottish Games chairman Paul Bell, referring to Jean by her nickname ‘Mama Jean’, said, “I will miss my dear friend. I first met Jean when I went to a CSA meeting some time around 2009. She was the President at the time and was very welcoming, and shortly afterwards I volunteered to help at the Games. She was always there and suggested I take over the running of the Games.

“She was a guiding source when it came to our Phoenix Scottish Games. She was always there with a smile and a hug. She told it like it was and was strong in her conviction on how certain things should be done. Jean took on the information booth duties and made several suggestions on that and was also the one to be sure that our most important visitor, Chief McBain, was taken care of. She was a sweetheart, and will be missed by all, especially at Games weekend.”

Vice President Membership, Thom von Hapsburg, said, “Jean was an awesome mentor to a lot of people in our group, and held most of the positions on the Board of Directors. If you had a question, she was willing to give you her input in a nice way on the best way to approach the problem. If you needed help with a project, she would always be the first to volunteer to help.

Jean was a member of the Clan MacKay, and Thom said the main reason for her involvement with the Society was “to promote the Scottish culture in the way of music, dance, food, and the Highland Games.”

Former Board member Ian Warrander recalled his first meeting with Jean at a Society meeting in Scottsdale 10 years ago. “Over the years I saw Jean at every Society meeting I attended. I truly admired her dedication when I became active with the CSA board. Jean filled the ‘Past President’ position when previous Presidents were not available, and she took this role seriously. She was able to contribute with historical information of the Society and often as devil’s advocate questioning the proceedings etc.

Jean Latimer Jean will be truly missed as a regular greeter of those attending the annual Games. I will always remember Jean as the stately grandmother figure who was dressed and groomed ready to receive royalty or anyone who crossed her path.”

Ian’s tribute ended with a verse from Robert Burns:

“When death’s dark stream I ferry o’er, A time that surely shall come. In Heaven itself I’ll ask no more, Than Just a Highland welcome.”

2019 Highland Games Planning

More than 20 members attended a Phoenix Scottish Games planning meeting at Chase’s Diner in Alma School Road last month. Chairman Paul Bell outlined the significance of this being the 55th year of the Games being staged, and some of the special arrangements that are being put in place, including a Games specific website

Additionally, the event's information tent is to be renamed the Jean Latimer Tent in memory of the Society’s late past president.

Paul said there would be changes to the layout and positioning of the Scotch tasting tent and the genealogy tent, as well as other alterations which it is hoped will make the weekend experience better for all.

2019 Raffle quilt
Society member Shirley Blahak completed a quilt that will be auctioned off to raise funds. The border has 62 squares of different clan crests, including that of the Society, and the quilt contains Scottish Games images including pipers, dancers, and heavy athletes.

The next planning meeting will be on Thursday 13 September at:

Old Chicago Restaurant, 5695 West Bell Road, Glendale, at 6.30 pm.

Catalogs will be available for medals and trophies.

Scotland's Hidden Gems - The American Monument on Islay
Iain Lundy

Tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world flock to the Scottish island of Islay – and for very good reason. It is a whisky lover’s paradise. World renowned brands including Bowmore, Laphroaig, Bruichladdich, Lagavulin, and Ardmore are produced here, and impressive whitewashed distilleries dot the windswept isle.

Islay MemorialBut if you travel to Islay’s most southerly tip, a peninsula known as The Oa, you will find a striking and poignant memorial to a double wartime tragedy that links Scotland and the United States.

The American Monument stands close to the edge of 300ft high cliffs, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where the tragedies happened.

The monument marks the sinking of two US troop ships near the end of World War 1. The first, the SS Tuscania, was sailing from the east coast of America to Britain in February 1918, when she was torpedoed by a German U-boat seven miles off the Islay coast. More then 200 US service personnel and 60 British crew members were killed.

Britain and its allies were by this time well used to the war’s industrial-style killing, but the US was not. The incident caused shockwaves among the American people. It was the biggest military loss of life in a single day since the Civil War 50 years earlier – and worse was to follow eight months later, just weeks from the war’s end.

On 6 October 1918, another troop ship HMS Otranto, was carrying military personnel from New York when she sunk in a collision with another vessel in Machir Bay, off Islay’s north west coast. This time 351 US servicemen died along with 80 British crew members.

In 1920 the American Red Cross erected the 32ft high monument to commemorate the sinkings. It contains a plaque with an epitaph taken from a work by American poet Theodore O’Hara, “On Fame’s Eternal camping ground, Their silent tents are spread. While Glory keeps with solemn round, the bivouac of the dead.”

Woodrow Wilson markerwAt the foot of the monument is a plinth with a tribute by President Woodrow Wilson that reads, “to the memory of his fellow citizens who gave their lives for their country in nearby waters, 1918.”

The victims of the Otranto tragedy were buried in a military cemetery at KIlchoman, overlooking Machir Bay. The US servicemen were repatriated to America in 1920.

Islay is reached from the Scottish mainland by ferry from the west coast port of Kennacraig. The monument is a 25-mile drive from the landing point of Port Askaig.

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

Robert WilbanksThe Scottish Courts : Maze of Records

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

While the predominant U.S. records for genealogical research were created at, and can generally be found in, one location, the County Courthouse, Scottish genealogical resources do not necessarily have the benefit of a ‘one-stop shop.’ The equivalent of a County Courthouse does not exist in Scotland, or England, which instead have many various levels of local courts, formerly or currently in existence, where various records may be found. Additionally, the Scottish Court system operates differently and independently from the court system of England and other parts of the United Kingdom.

In Scotland, for the most part, the buildings that house courts of law are simply called “courts” or “court buildings”. But that isn’t necessarily always the case, depending upon the type of court, its specialty function, and/or if in fact it has a formal designation.

Like in the U.S., there is also a distinction between Criminal Courts, courts related to criminal activity, and Civil Courts, courts related to daily legal requirements of property, person, various activities etc., ie. lawsuits, business, land, probate (called confirmation in Scottish courts) and more.

As always, it is incumbent upon the researcher to know the county of residence of an ancestor, learn about the ever-fluctuating jurisdictional lines and sub-levels of jurisdictions within that county, the different types of courts, the types of records generated, whether those records still exist, and where they might be accessible today.

While in modern times, the Scottish court system has mostly been somewhat simplified at the local level, the changing dynamics of Scottish history, and its separate yet intertwined relationship with England, can make identifying and locating genealogical resources of Scotland extremely complex. There are many different courts, and courts within courts. Therefore, a specific court must be identified according to the period of historical time, the various levels of jurisdictions for that time, the relevancy of the type of record required or desired, and much more.

Just to be clear, most historic records might be centralized for access, such as at a National Archives, in the case of Scotland called ‘National Records of Scotland’; resulting from the 2011 merger of the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and the National Archives of Scotland (NAS). However, in any aspect of genealogy, in order to understand how the records are organized and then locate them at the resource facility, it is still necessary to know the locality, the courts system for that locality, the various sub-levels of jurisdiction, and what records are associated with the specified courts and/or jurisdiction.

Because of this varied and unique circumstance of the Scottish Courts, and the types of records generated accordingly, it will be more beneficial, in future articles, to discuss in detail the specific types of Scottish resources that most benefit genealogists, and there identify the proper associated court or courts, and where those records may be located today.

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.

Arizonan to Compete at World Championships in Germany

Andrew and Denise McCreeryArizona strongman Andrew McCreery was given a surprise 50th birthday present – a kilt and entry to the heavy events at the Portland Highland Games in Oregon.

Two years on, and Andrew, who with his wife Denise runs the d’Vine Gourmet food and beverage store in Chandler, is about to take part in the World Championships in Germany.

His meteoric rise from rookie heavy eventer to World contender has come thanks to a grueling training schedule. Andrew is a member of the Rio Salado Heavy Scottish Athletics team and believes his fellow athletes and coaches helped him achieve his success.

He said of the first Games in Portland, “Somehow at the last minute my wife called up and convinced the organizers to allow me to come in and compete, never having tried it before. I found out at 10pm the previous night and I had to be on the field at 8 in the morning ready to throw - sober.

“The first event was unique to the Portland Games, it’s a 96lb river rock that you throw as far as you can. I set the record for my age group at the event in my first Games. This was just pure power, the power side of things I have, but not the technique. I remember getting to the weight over bar, which is a 42lb weight that you throw over a bar and I honestly thought they were kidding. I thought it was a Candid Camera moment.

“It was such a fun wonderful event, what has kept me coming back has been the camaraderie on the field, the sportsmanship, the sense of even though we are competing, we are not against each other, we are all on the same team in a way.

“At this point, in preparing for the World Championships, it’s all I think about. I train every day, all I think about is throwing. The Worlds will just be my 10th competition, and I’m only two years into the sport. I qualified at the Phoenix Highland Games, and you need to qualify in three events, the stones, the weight for distance, and then the hammer. I qualified in both the light and heavy hammer events by just two inches.

McCreery Shop His wife Denise said the shop had mixed Scotch whisky with chocolate for the whisky tasting tent at this year’s Games and planned to do more for the coming year. She said, “I was thrilled because I had never done that before. We practiced and made some proprietary chocolates to go with the flavors the Scotch guy had recommended. Who knew that Scotch and chocolate were such a great combination?

“I find that the smokier the Scotch, the creamier the chocolate. Dark chocolate can be a little harsh and acidic to go with the smokier Scotches. So if it’s a harsh smoky, heavy Scotch, go with creamy milk chocolate. If it’s a sweet, caramely whisky, go with a dark chocolate, they complement each other nicely.”

Irish Arts Summer Camp
Kelsey Kelleher

The Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library in Phoenix last month held its first Irish Arts Summer Camp. Ten campers learned about Irish music, dance, theater, art, and language, and produced an original show, ‘The Punny Tail of Finn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge.’ Current Arizona Colleen and Rose, Kelsey Kelleher, helped lead the week-long camp. She describes the success and stimulation of the camp.

Alongside the amazing Diane Ahern, fantastic volunteers, and ten specialty teachers, I had the pleasure of leading the camp, and providing a fun, educational experience for the children. With over 60 pages of carefully constructed curriculum, we kept our campers busy. Topics covered included the Book of Kells; the basics of stage design; instruments such as the harp, bodhran, and tin whistle; acting techniques; Irish phrases; Irish Dance steps; and a daily vocabulary challenge.

It was exhausting, but making everything run smoothly was a huge challenge, and it was one of the most fulfilling weeks of my life. I never imagined the connections I would make with these sweet, talented, imaginative kids. My heart swelled when I saw their eyes light up and when one showed excitement for our Irish culture. It is my passion to involve the younger generations in our Irish community. To hear kids express interest in continuing what they learned in camp, taking classes through the Academy of Irish and Celtic Studies, and coming to more events brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I was particularly touched when one camper told me, "This is the best camp I've ever been to, Miss Kelsey. And I've been to a LOT of summer camps."

The audience was delighted by the final performance and many parents stated how pleased and impressed they were with our program. The kids created their props, set pieces, costume pieces, and t-shirts, and created music, dance, and theatrical numbers to the script I wrote.

I am so incredibly proud of all the campers and everyone who has put their time, effort, and energy into planning this summer camp over the past two years. We couldn't have done it without the kind funding from the Irish Government through the Irish Consulate in San Francisco. Thank you to everyone who supported our program and made this possible.

Caledonian Society Officers
President: David McBee
Immediate Past President: Don Finch
Vice President Administration: Mark Pelletier
Vice President Games: Paul Bell
Vice President Membership : Thom von Hapsburg
Secretary Linda Currie McGuire
Treasurer: Vicki Phegley
Trustee 1: Ginni Caldwell
Trustee 2: Robert Wilbanks
Trustee 3: Kevin Conquest
Newsletter Editor:

Iain Lundy
Statutory Agent: Mark Pelletier
Chief Genealogist & Historian: Robert Wilbanks

COMING EVENTS and Highland Games in Arizona and Nearby

September 1-2 Pleasanton Highland Games
Pleasanton CA
September 6-9 Longs Peak Highland Festival
Estes Park CO
September 13 Games Planning Meeting
Old Chicago Restaurant, Glendale
September 15-16 Prescott Highland Games
Prescott AZ
September 21, Friday CSA Monthly Gathering
Four Peaks Brewing
October 6-7 Aztec Highland Games
Aztec NM
October 13-14 Ventura Seaside Highland Games
Ventura CA
October 11 Scots-tober Fest Gathering
Haus Murphy, Glendale
October 20 "Highlanders and Outlanders" Event
Red Mountain Library, Mesa

Membership Reminder

Membership dues for 2018 are:
- - $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.

A Word from our Advertisers

Kilt Rental USA

Len Wood
Bagpiper USB

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