February 2019         Title    Past Issues

In this Issue:

  February Gathering   Burns Supper 2019
  President's Letter   Meet our Members
  2019 Phoenix Scottish Games   Snippets from Scotland
  Scotland's Hidden Gems   Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
  Research Your Scottish Ancestry   A Word from our Advertisers  
February Gathering -
Valentine's Day

Come along to our special Valentine’s night meeting on February 14 for a ‘sweet’ evening of fun and romance.

As our regular meeting coincides with Valentine’s Day, we’ve decided to go all out and celebrate what the date means to Scots around the world.

Whiskey Wine Chocaolate

There will be a presentation about how Scots celebrate the day, and the opportunity to taste pairings of Whisky, Wine, and Chocolate. At our 6.30pm mix and mingle session, there will be bubbly and special Valentine goodies available.

If you have a favorite Scottish-themed romantic verse or piece of prose, please bring it along and  read it out – it will help get us all in the mood.
As well as the normal 50/50 raffle prizes, there will be Valentine baskets, a signed book by Diana Gabaldon, and many more.

The event will be held at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N Central Avenue, Phoenix. Admission is free to members, $10 for non-members..

Letter from the President
David McBee

David McBeeIt is the month of romance and scrambling to bring the Games together for another great year.  The vendors are excited, athletes are pumping up, and the event chairs are going wide open.  Be proud of your Society having one of the best Highland Games in the West.

The Burns Dinner was well run and the entertainment was excellent. The food disappeared and the whisky must have evaporated. There were lots of smiles and a really great crowd. Congratulations and a huge thank you to the committee that pulled this off.

It is also that time of year to renew your membership. We look forward to seeing you at the events and hope you can get involved and enjoy the society.

Our next meeting will be on Feb 14th at the ICC castle and there will be chocolate and special libations involved for a special Valentine’s evening out. Red everywhere!

We are only 1 month away from our 55th Scottish Games on March 2nd and 3rd.  Please volunteer where you can and be a part of this momentous occasion. This will be the Society event for March as we will be recovering from all the work to put on the Games. 

April is a Tartan Day event.  More to come on that and it is thanks to Society efforts that the day has now been declared one of special observance in the state of Arizona.

Have a truly great winter in Arizona this year and take care not to hurt yourselves shoveling all that sunshine

Slainte. DAVID

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Our 2019 Phoenix Scottish Games - March 2-3

The highlight of the year is almost upon us. The 55th annual Phoenix Scottish Games takes place on March 2nd and 3rd; and the Society is hoping for an unforgettable weekend to mark the occasion. Every year the event attracts tens of thousands of visitors, some of Scottish descent and others curious to watch the pipers, dancers, heavy athletes, and everything else that goes into making the Games a huge success. 

55th Games badgeThe high points this year at Steele Indian School Park include music to suit all tastes, historical re-enactments, a clan section featuring more than 50 different Scottish clans, a genealogy tent to help you trace your Scottish ancestry, a vintage British car exhibition, and many more. 

For those who fancy a wee dram, whisky company Glenlivet will be sponsoring a Scotch tent, featuring a special Scottish ambassador. 

More than 120 athletes are set to compete in what has become an increasingly important and record-setting Games. Phoenix attracts both women’s and men’s A Class competitors with the winners going on to the national championships in the US, and the opportunity to qualify for the Worlds which this year will be held either in Norway or France. 

Pipe bands and piping soloists have signed up to compete again, a Rod Stewart lookalike and a barker will be among the entertainers, dancers are coming from as far afield as Canada, and there will be a variety of stalls and stands offering Scottish-themed goods and delicious food items. 

There is genuinely something for everything so don’t miss the event on 2 and 3 March. 

Games Chieftain Paul Bell said, “On behalf of the Caledonian Society we  invite you to join us in celebrating Scotland in the Desert and the celebration of our 55th Phoenix Scottish Games.” 

Scotland's Hidden Gems - Stone Circles
Iain Lundy

Scotland can boast much ancient history, dating back may thousands of years. In parts of the country there is evidence of Stone Age dwellings, Neolithic tombstones, Iron Age artefacts, all of which draws scientists, researchers, and visitors in great numbers.

One of the most fascinating features of the ancient Scottish landscape is the collection of strange and sometimes eerie standing stones dotted in remote parts of the countryside. Who built these massive structures? And why?

To stand at a stone circle in Scotland as the sun is rising or setting is an unforgettable experience. You will be filled with genuine awe and wonderment at the scene. If your next trip takes you close to a circle, it is worth – even if off the beaten path – making the effort to see it.

Here is a rundown of the top stone circles in the country

The Standing Stones of Callanish.

Known as Scotland’s Stonehenge, the stones at Callanish (or Callinais in Gaelic) were built in a remote part of the Isle of Lewis nearly 2,000 years ago in the Neolithic era. Why they were built is something of a mystery, but they are known to have been used for religious rituals. The rocks are the oldest in Britain and among the oldest in the world. The circle overlooks Loch Roag and the largest stone weighs 98lbs and is and is 15.7ft high. It is run by Historic Scotland.

Ring of Brodgar/Stones of Stenness.
Brodgar Stenness

These two giant circles stand less than a mile apart on the largest of the Orkney Islands. Both were built in the Neolithic era and form part of a World Heritage Site. If you find yourself on Orkney it is worth getting up early and standing in the center of these circles on a quiet peaceful morning. Many other examples of Neolithic and Megalithic sites have been found nearby. And if you possess the Van Morrison album, The philosopher’s stone, the Stones of Stenness are on the cover.

Kilmartin Glen 
Kilmartin Glen

The village of Kilmartin is 30 miles south of Oban on the A816. The glen is filled with ancient artefacts including three sets of standing stones, Nether Largie, Ballymeanoch, and Temple Wood. In total there are around 800 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of the village, making it an area of international importance. The stone circles date from prehistoric times and the site is accessible from a car park on the main road.

Cullerlie Stone Circle. A small stone circle outside the village of Echt in Aberdeenshire, the Cullerlie circle dates to the second millennium BC (around 3,500 years ago). It is an example of a recumbent stone circle, one that includes a large monolith, known as a recumbent, lying on its side. Aberdeenshire is a treasure trove of stone circles and Cullerlie is undoubtedly the best preserved.

Machrie Moor Stone Circles. Situated on the island of Arran in the Firth of Clyde, the six stone circles at Machrie Moor stand on moorland close to a disused farmhouse. The stones are a combination of granite boulders and red sandstone pillars and the moor includes other prehistoric remains, including burial cairns and cists. Local belief is that the stones were built below a notch on the skyline which is intersected at sunrise during the summer solstice. .

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

RObert WilbanksMilitary Records - Introduction

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

War. An unfortunate part of the human condition since the earliest civilizations to the present time. Ever since the beginning of humankind, the need for survival, and differences of opinion, have often led to armed conflict. As nations developed, the purpose of conflicts grew from the basic need for more land and resources, to politics or religion, and to the powerful seeking more power. Over time conflicts escalated in scope and size, and occurred at regular intervals or sometimes continuously. With the discovery of the vast new world, the Americas, the settlers, hoping to escape the constant wars and conflicts in Europe, found themselves threatened by new peoples, as well as their old enemies.

With the formation of armies, wars developed into a bureaucratic process, with the development of extensive records. This article will begin a series of writings about military records as a significantly helpful genealogical resource.

While wars cost the lives of people and the destruction of civilian and government property and records, they also created a new type of record with a potential wealth of genealogical information.  Military records can provide details of the soldier, including date and place of birth, occupation, residence, name of parents and/or other family members, physical description, etc., plus information about a soldier’s life before service, during service, or life after military service.

Many young Scottish men were often very quick to join the military. They found service in the military to be an exciting adventure.  It also provided them with much of the necessities of life which were difficult to obtain as civilians in Scotland or the New World, and offered the potential to improve their status in life.

Royal ScotsA great number of Scottish served in the British Army from its formation in 1661 up to the present. These Scottish soldiers primarily served in the far reaches of the British Empire.

In the United States as well, the military provided an excellent opportunity for the Scottish. 

Many newly arrived immigrants would join when they couldn’t support themselves in a new land, or for the offer of bounty land, or for a quicker way to become naturalized as an American citizen.

Image credit:
weaponsandwarfare.com/2018/07/14/ scottish-soldiers-in-the-eighteenth- century-british-army

Scotland continued to have its own army even after the Personal Union of Scotland with England in 1603 when King James VI of Scotland became the King of England. However, few records were kept, and fewer records exist today. In 1707, the two Kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. This was a pivotal year for the armies of both Kingdoms, as at that time the Regiments of both Kingdoms were combined to form an entirely new British Army. A better record keeping system went into effect beginning at this time.

There is a great wealth of records for the British Army, housed at the Public Record Office in Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.  Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive, or even partial, index with which to search for a specific individual who served. You have to already know the regiment or ship your family member served in/on. Explaining in detail how to research these records would require more space than I have here. There are numerous guides which can help you learn more about military records as a genealogical resource, including in the form of books, blogs on the Internet, the FamilySearch Wikipedia, YouTube videos, etc.

Meanwhile, as more and more records are becoming digitized, the ability to search records is slowly becoming more prevalent. Websites like FamilySearch, FindMyPast, Ancestry, Fold3 and more, are incorporating military records, lists, etc., for both the United States and for Great Britain, and they are searchable.

I will explain in more detail about British and United States Military Records in future articles.

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.

2019 Burns Supper

Scotlandís national bard Rabbie Burns was toasted in fine style by members of the Society and the Daughters of Scotia, Lady Clare Lodge. The annual Burns Supper was attended by more than 150 guests and held at the American Legion Mathew B Juan Post 35, on Chandler Boulevard.

Burns Supper 2019

Presentation of the Haggis
Piper Mike McKee, Speaker Gordon Stevenson, Chef Allison Glenn, Jane Baldwin as Poosey Nancy

Those attending enjoyed a hearty traditional plate of haggis, neeps and tatties, with Scottish meat pies and other trimmings also on the menu. The Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band provided an excellent set of pipe music, and dancers from the Arizona Highland Dancing Association delighted the gathering with a variety of Highland dancing including sword dances.

Lady Claire Lodges, Aughters of Scotia

Lady Claire Lodge, Daughters of Scotia

The Selkirk Grace was read by Diane Rodrigues, and Gordon Stevenson gave a spirited rendition of the Address to the haggis. Traditional Burns Supper speeches were given by Eddy Sumpter, who delivered the Immortal Memory to Robert Burns; Patrick Schuler, who toasted the lasses present, and his wife Nikki Shuler who gave a no-nonsense reply on behalf of the lasses.

Masters of Ceremonies were Susan Wallace and Ian Warrander, and a welcome was given by David McBee, President of the Caledonia Society.

CSA Board

Caledonian Society of Arizona Board of Directors

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Meet Our Members - Sandy Bunch

Sandy BunchA prominent member of the Scottish Community in Alberta, Canada, has become a member of the Caledonian Society of Arizona.

Sandy Bunch, originally from Abernethy, Perthshire, plans to visit Arizona in March and decided to sign up.

He moved to Canmore, Alberta, in 1987, and is a founding member of the Three Sisters Scottish Festival Society, which sponsors and organizes the annual Canmore Highland Games.

A former military man, Sandy served for 22 years with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

In Canmore he set up a business installing and maintaining draft beer and liquor systems. Welcome to Arizona, Sandy

Snippets from Scotland
BBC News

Three of Scotlandís most famous historical figures, Robert Burns, JM Barrie, and Robert the Bruce are being used to boost tourist numbers in Dumfries and Galloway, in the south-west of the country.

The funicular railway on the slopes of the Cairngorm Mountains, a major Highlands tourist draw, is to remain closed for most of the year due to safety concerns.

Gulp. Scotland is having to swallow some pride with the news that the craft gin boom has resulted in more distilleries in England than Scotland for the first time.

COMING EVENTS and Highland Games in Arizona and Nearby

February 14 Whisky, Wine and Chocolate Gathering
at the ICC
February 16 Queen Mary Scottish Festival
Long Beach CA
March 2-3 Phoenix Scottish Games

Membership Reminder

Membership dues for 2019 are:
- - $30.00 single and $50.00 Family (at the same address)

It's easy - just jump to the Membership Page for information.

Society Gatherings
Membership gatherings are often held on 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

Lois Wallace


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