October 2018         Title    Past Issues

In this Issue:

  October Gathering & Event   Scottish Sport Books
  President's Letter   Skerryvore Concert
  John McCain's Scottish Heritage   Society Officers
  Four Peaks/Games Update   Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
  Scotland's Hidden Gems   A Word from our Advertisers
  Research Your Scottish Ancestry  

October Gathering and Events
Haus Murphy Haus Murphy


Thursday, October 11, 6:30 PM
Haus Murphy Restaurant, 5739 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale

Join us for our annual Scottish/German fusion event. There will be a brief presentation on the state of the Society and plans for the March Games. Order from the menu (on your own) for an evening of good food and good friends.

Please email Mark Pelletier with a count of the number attending so we can advise the Haus.

Highlanders and Outlanders

Saturday, October 20 - events 10 AM through 5 PM
Mesa Red Mountain Library - 6837, 635 N Power Rd

The Society will be participating in the Library's Highlanders and Outlanders event, with presentations throughout the day (10 AM to 5 PM).

  All Day Kids Scottie Dog crafting
  10:00 to 12:00 Genealogy Research on the Web
  10:30 to 12:00 Outlander Photo Shoot & photo editing
  10:30 to 11:30 Scottish Genealogy 101
  12:00 to 1:00 Outlander book discussion & trivia game
  1:00 to 2:00 Outlander Travelogue
  1:00 to 3:00 Personal Genealogy sessions
  2:00 to 3:00 Curious about Clans?
  2:00 to 3:00 It's Whisky, not Whiskey
  3:30 to 4:30 Highland Dancing
  All Day Classic Mini Cars display (outside)

Letter from the President
David McBee

David McBeeThe Board was represented at the Prescott games this month by Don Finch, Mark Pelletier, Kevin Conquest and myself. It was a very pleasant games with a lot of good fellowship. I hope you had a chance to go.

I also hope you attended our event this month at the Four Peaks Brewery. Our social media shows that several hundred were interested in attending.

Our October meeting will be on Thursday Oct. 11 at 6:30pm at Glendale's Haus Murphy back room. This is usually a very well attended event with good food and friends. This is also the occasion of the Treaurer's report to the membership.

On Saturday, Oct 20th, The Society will participate at "Highlanders and Outlanders" event at the Red Mountain Library in Mesa. This has been a very good event and reflects very well on all of us. I am still impressed by some of the presentations made there last year. Please come and enjoy yourself.

I hear that our permit has been approved to be in the APS Electric Light Parade on Saturday December 1st. Nessie will be lit in her holiday finest. Come walk with us if you can and help us spread the word about our Games.

Slainte. DAVID

John McCain's Scottish Heritage

Much has been written about the late Arizona senator John McCain since his recent death. But of course, with a name like McCain, it is no surprise that he boasted a fair amount of Scottish – and Irish – heritage.

John McCain III and John McCain Jr.The senator’s McCain descendants appear to have flitted between Argyll on the west coast of Scotland, and County Antrim in what is now Northern Ireland.

In 1877 his grandfather, also John, married Elizabeth Young in Mississippi, cementing his Celtic roots even more strongly.

(John McCain III & John McCain Jr.)

The Young family lived for several generations in County Antrim, but before that they were members of the Scottish aristocracy and lived in and around Dunoon, and the islands of Bute and Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde.

Both the McCains and the Youngs were Scots Presbyterians, although McCain identified as a Baptist. The Young family was associated with the Clan Lamont. The senator’s seventh great grandfather, Sir Andrew Lamont Young, was born in Castle Toward on the Cowal peninsula in 1646 and emigrated to Ireland around 20 years later.

His father, Sir John Lamont, the 14th Chief of the Clan Lamont of Knockdow, was hanged from the gallows tree in Dunoon in 1646 in an episode known as the Gallows Hill Massacre. The clan’s castles had been under siege by troops of the Clan Campbell and, when the gates were opened, more than 350 Lamonts were killed. Many, including Sir John, were hanged.

Sir John’s wife, Mary Young, escaped with her children to Ireland. She was the daughter of Sir James Young, who had been born at Stirling Castle, and grand-daughter of Sir Peter Young, a tutor to King James Vl.

The Young family emigrated to Albemarle County, Virginia, in the late 1700s. One family member, David Young, married Mary Ann Hart, whose father Rev Andrew Hart, had moved to America from Linlithgow in West Lothian. There were many more individuals and ancestral tales, but it’s safe to say Senator McCain had a Scottish heritage to be proud of.

Four Peaks Event / Games Planning

So, what’s happening with the Phoenix Scottish Games?

On Friday, Sept 21st we joined with Four Peaks Brewery and celebrated our “Halfway to the Highlands” at the Four Peaks Tasting Room in Tempe. There was a very nice turnout and we were treated to demonstrations by several of the Rio Salado Scottish Heavy Athletics group, The Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band, Len Wood and his piping students, and dancers from the Arizona Academy of Highland Dance. There was also an appearance by our own Nessie.

Four Peaks event

The event was so well received by our Four Peaks partners that we are already looking at dates on the calendar for 2019. There will be more opportunities to do cross-promoting with our Four Peaks partners in the next few months. We will have an information booth at their Octoberfest at Tempe Beach Park the weekend of the 13th and 14th of October as well as Four Peaks Anniversary party in November. Nessie will be making an appearance at this event as well.

Nessie Speaking of Nessie, we have had our application to be part of the APS Festival of Lights Parade on Saturday, December 1st. Nessie will be decked out in lights and we will be looking for volunteers in kilts to walk along with her and hand out save the date cards. We will also need volunteers on that afternoon to decorate her.

In other news we will soon be launching a Phoenix Scottish Games specific web site with information, schedules, thegrowing list of vendors and lots of other Games related items!

We will be posting information on all of our social media outlets as soon as the web site is launched. The address will be www.PhoenixScottishGames.com Many thanks go out to Wendy Trakes for putting the web site together.

The next Games planning meeting will be in November

Scotland's Hidden Gems - The Lewis Chessmen
Iain Lundy

On a sandy beach on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis in 1831, local farmer Malcolm ‘Sprot’ MacLeod made a remarkable discovery. A small stone kist in one of the dunes contained an ornate chess set dating to the 12th century and made from walrus ivory.

The Lewis Chessmen were made in Trondheim, Norway, and thought to have been lost overboard en route to Ireland. It is now recognized as one of the most important chess sets in the world. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley even used them to play chess in ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’.

While the original pieces are kept in the British Museum, London, and the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, visitors to the west coast of Lewis will catch sight of life size replicas dotted around the beaches. Some are the traditional kings, castles, and rooks – others are wild-eyed and biting their shields with fury and are known as ‘berserkers’.

The Lewis Chessmen The original set consisted of 78 pieces – eight kings, eight queens, 15 knights, 16 bishops, 12 warders, and 19 pawns. Except for the pawns, all are depicted as human and appear as glum figures with bulging eyes. The ‘berserkers’ are thought to have been depicted as terrified of the battles that lay ahead, hence the modern-day term ‘going berserk’.


If you visit Lewis and come face to face with one of the replicas, it will appear striking and comical, but there is a serious political debate going on about the future of the original chessmen. Should they stay in London, or be returned to a museum in Scotland where they were discovered?

After Malcolm MacLeod made the now-famous discovery, he exhibited the figures in his byre before selling them to a local landowner. But the farmer’s good fortune didn’t last long. When Sir James Matheson became the owner of the Isle of Lewis in 1844, MacLeod and his family became victims of the Highland Clearances and were evicted from their homes to make way for sheep.

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

Robert WilbanksFamily Fortunes: Wills and Probates

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

One of the most popular genealogical resources are Wills and Probate records. This is the legal process by which the real and personal estate of the deceased is accounted for and distributed to the known and proven heirs. Wills and Probates existed long before the requirement to record births, deaths and marriages. Thus, at a time or place where vital records weren’t recorded, the potential is high for a great wealth of genealogically personal and family data to be drawn out of these extensive Probate court proceedings and papers. Additionally, with proper analyzation techniques and understanding, other indirect information can be inferred and/or implied, leading to clues for further avenues of research.

In the United States, the legal process as to the distribution of a person’s estate, though similar in purpose, is significantly different from that process, and terminologies, in Scotland. Therefore, here will be discussed strictly the U.S. process. The process in Scotland will be discussed in a future article.

The U.S. System

There are two key terms related to the Probate process in the United States. The first is “Testate”, which refers to an existing written Will left by the deceased with specific instructions as to the dispensation of the estate. The second key term is “Intestate”, which refers to the absence of a Will by the deceased. In both cases, the Probate process is initiated in Court which then appoints an executor or administrator who oversees the process of identifying all property and seeing to its distribution. During this process, heirs must be identified and located.

The existence of a Will is often the most desired in the genealogical research process. With a Will, family connections can be proven as it is stated directly by the deceased themselves. However, this isn’t always the case. Thus, researching Probate court cases beyond just the Will can be most significant and highly revealing.

Wills and Probate documents are often found to be filled with names of spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, friends and more. Often the date the Will was written in conjunction with the date it goes to Probate can imply a time of death and determine a narrow research window for date of death. Also, the financial fortunes of the deceased can be determined by inventory and sale of the estate. Additionally, the inventory of tools of the trade can identify occupations, skill, business savvy and more.

Document Types

Documents usually associated with Wills and Probates include bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees and distributions. Occasionally, supplemental court processes, such as guardianship appointments for minors, can be found separately yet associated with the Court proceeding. And of course, disagreements can lead to lawsuits, questions as to mental state of the deceased at the time of writing the Will, and who really owned the property in question.

In the United States, the legal process of Wills and Probates is determined by State law, but the process occurs at the county level, at the County Courthouse. The particular office of jurisdiction can have varying names and may be called Probate Court, Equity Court, Register of Wills, etc. Wills and Probates date back to the earliest colonial period, and records that far back, and up to the present, are found and accessible through a variety of mediums, including microfilm and online. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the researcher to conduct a State-by-State, County-by-County assessment of the courts and records’ existence, availability and accessibility before proceeding with the research.


One of the unfortunate aspects of Courthouses, though, is often, particularly early on, they were constructed of wood, and stored all the relevant paper court documents. This made the Courthouse a tinderbox to fire, as well as subjected to floods, tornados and more. Thus, frequently records were lost, creating the genealogical term “burnt counties,” referring to counties suffering great loss of records. As an example, 50% of Alabama’s county courthouses suffered a minimum of 2 fires during the history of the county. Many of Virginia’s and Georgia’s courthouses suffered extensive loss of records due to the Civil War.

However, don’t be discouraged. With Wills and Probates, the potential for reward far outweighs the effort and possibility for limited findings.

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.

Scottish Sport Books

Coyne golf book cover If you’re interested in Scottish sport, a couple of excellent books have hit the market.

Many people who visit Scotland do so for a chance to play at least one of the world-class golf courses – think St Andrews, Troon, or Carnoustie.

Irish author Tom Coyne has now completed a journey taking in every links course in the country, and ‘A Course Called Scotland’ tells the lengthy, arduous, and at times hilarious adventure.

A must for golf fans, it has been published by Simon & Schuster and is available at www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/A-Course-Called-Scotland/Tom-Coyne/9781476754284

Billy McNeill book Meanwhile soccer fans of a certain age will recall the exploits of the Glasgow Celtic team that became the first British club to win the coveted European Cup in 1967.

Respected Scottish sportswriter Alex Gordon has now published a book about the Celtic captain of the era Billy McNeill, known as Caesar because of his so-called likeness to the actor Cesar Romero

‘In Praise of Caesar’ is published by Black & White Publishing and can be purchased at cqnbookstore.com/Book/billy-mcneill-in-praise-of-caesar/

Skerryvore Concert

Scottish music fans are guaranteed a treat at a concert by top traditional rock band Skerryvore in Phoenix this month. The band, which originated on the west coast island of Tiree, will be performing at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) on October 21.


Skerryvore was formed in 2005 and have twice been voted Scotland’s Traditional Music ‘Live Act of the Year’. The eight current members come from all over Scotland, and create a fusion of folk, traditional Jazz, rock, and pop.

The Phoenix concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost between $33.50 and $38.50.

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

October 6-7 Aztec Highland Games
Aztec NM
October 11 Scots-tober Fest Gathering
Haus Murphy, Glendale
October 13-14 Ventura Seaside Highland Games
Ventura CA
October 20 "Highlanders and Outlanders" Event
Red Mountain Library, Mesa
November 2-4 Tucson Highland Games
Rillito Park, Tucson AZ
November 2-4 Moab Celtic Festival
Moab, UT
November 8 Society Gathering
November 11 RAF Memorial
Mesa City Cemetery
December 1 Nessie in the Electric Light Parade
Central Avenue

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

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Len Wood
Bagpiper USB

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