April 2019         Title    Past Issues

In this Issue:

  Tartan Day Event   Whisky, Wine and Chocolate
  Membership Badges   Scottish Lampost Update
  Calling Clan McEwen   Snippets from Scotland
  Scotland's Hidden Gems   Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
  Research Your Scottish Ancestry   A Word from our Advertisers  

Tartan Day Event - April 6

Tartan Day in Chandler
Click the image to view the full event flyer

Join the Society for a fun-filled day of all things Scottish at Chandler Downtown Library next weekend (6 April) to coincide with National Tartan Day in the US.

We will be helping the library, at 22 South Delaware Street, Chandler, stage a Scotfest event which will include Highland Dancing displays, pipe band music, and much more.

The Outlander theme will be much in evidence, and Lois Wallace will help bring the stories alive, describing the stunning filming locations, where they really are in Scotland, and their historical significance.

Later in the day, her husband Bob will host a talk on the old Scottish clan system. Don Finch will give a talk on Scotch whisky (not whiskey), discuss the differences between single malt and blended varieties, As well as a host of other interesting facts about Scotlandís national drink.

Throughout the day, the Societyís Chief Genealogist Robert Wilbanks, along with Iain Lundy, will be on hand to offer one-to-one genealogy consultations.

The Arizona Highland Dancing Association will display their skills in the afternoon, and Sue Wallace, of the Daughters of Scotia, will give a talk about the British love of tea. Coffee and refreshments will be available, and the CSA will have an information/membership table in the lobby. The event will start at 10am and last until 3pm.

Also on Tartan Day, April 6

Kilt Chaser Run Papago Park, North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, 7:00 AM to 10 AM

Modeled after the Skirt Chaser fun runs of yore, the Kilt Chaser is a race with a few twists: the ladies get a three-minute head start; and all runners—boys and girls—race while wearing kilts.*

Click the logo for the 4 Peaks site.

Later in the day, we’re taking fans on the KILT CRAWL, a good old-fashioned bar crawl from our 8th Street pub to Old Town Scottsdale. Check the 4 Peaks site for costs, transportation and all the details.

Request from the Membership VP about Name Badges
Don Finch

Name BadgesMany Society members, new and old, have signed up but failed to pick up the name badges that are printed specially for them.

There are currently 192 ‘unclaimed’ badges waiting to be picked up. They display the member’s name, clan affiliation, and a Society crest.

The badges cost the Society $5.50 each to be made, so there is more than $1,000 worth not claimed.

Please email Don Finch at: membership@arizonascots.com to make arrangements to collect your name badge!

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Calling Clan McEwen

McEwenCalling all members of the Clan McEwen who live in Arizona. After a wait of more than 500 years, it is hoped the clan will soon have a new, officially recognized chief.

Sir John McEwen, who lives near Duns in the Scottish Borders, was selected as clan commander in 2014, the first step to becoming recognized as clan chief. The Clan Ewen Society now pans to petition the Lyon Court in Edinburgh to have a coat or arms matriculated with Sir John as the new chief.

The last Clan McEwen chief died in 1492. Sir John, who is the fifth Baronet of Marchmont and Bardrochat, was contacted by the society. He said he had ‘no particular qualifications’ for the chieftainship other than his love for the clan.

In a recent interview, he said, “I am an ordinary actor and writer, husband of a teacher, small-holder, and the main carer for our four children. But I love my clan and my country and would love for the clans to play a full and active part in the life of modern Scotland.

Clan Ewen Society chairman Sean McCuin said, “Clan McEwen is an ancient though small clan. Having a chief of the name allows for a seat on the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, and recognizes our clan is independent and autonomous,”

A meeting to solidify’ the Clan’s wish to have Sir John as  the new chief will be held in June.

Scotland's Hidden Gems - Glasgow's Mural Trail
Iain Lundy

Most visitors to Scotland will, quite rightly, spend time in Edinburgh during their stay. It is a city with must-see attractions – but the larger city of Glasgow, just a 50-minute train journey west, should never be overlooked.

Traditionally a working-class city, Glasgow has reinvented itself in recent years and embraced a new culture of trendiness. The impressive art galleries and museums have always been there, but the ‘dirty old town’ that once greeted visitors has been brightened up almost beyond recognition.

Glasqow Mural

One stunning example is the proliferation of giant wall paintings and the development of the city’s Mural Trail. Everywhere you turn, amazing and detailed splashes of color greet you from the walls of city buildings. They have the dual effect of brightening up the city and offering encouragement to local artists.

They range from images of the Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow in 2014, and the city’s best-loved comedian Billy Connolly to more bizarre efforts such as a floating taxi being carried through the air by balloons, and close-ups of giant tigers and crocodiles.

Glasgow mural

The murals have sprung up over the past 10 years and have proved so popular that a special tourist trail has been laid out so visitors can see every one - and appreciate the painstaking work and imagination that went into their creation.

It’s a long walk around the city streets but, if you want to see depictions of a giant panda; a girl blowing a dandelion; Saint Mungo (shown as a bearded man wearing a woolen hat, and with a robin perched on his hand); Wonderwall, a striking mural showing life at Strathclyde University; and an underpass with depictions of shadow hand puppets, then the Mural Trail is not to be missed.

Glasgow Mural Rugby Mural

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

RObert WilbanksMilitary Records - United States Overview

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

In a previous article, I briefly introduced Military Records as a resource for genealogical research.

I only touched on the benefits of this type of resource, and generally showed how, when & where the United States and Great Britain may have kept such records. Here,

I will give a more detailed overview of Military Records specific to the United States.

During the Colonial Period, prior to the formation of the United States, in theory the English Government should have been responsible for the protection of the Colonies. However, early on, this was not a realistic possibility, and the colonists often found themselves responsible for their own defense. During this period, there were a number of wars and conflicts from the earliest settlement up to the American Revolution. These citizen soldiers formed local militias, sometimes called ‘Minute Men’, ready to jump to action at a moment’s notice. As the United States was not yet a country, military records were kept by these individual colonies, later states, most often at the County level, usually in the County Court records. These records can now be found at these States’ Archives. Many of these records may have been transcribed into books available at most genealogy libraries, or on various websites throughout the internet.

After the formation of this country and government, the military became primarily a federal matter and therefore the records are more uniform and reliable than the records at the state and county level.  Also, they are all in one place, the National Archives in Washington D.C. These military records are organized primarily by the various wars that America was involved in.

The military records of primary interest to genealogists are divided into two categories:  Service Records and Benefits Records.  A third category of records, lesser used by genealogists but no less important, is best described as Miscellaneous.

Service Records are the records created at the time of the active service of the soldier.  Soldiers’ names were written down in muster lists, roll call lists, payment vouchers, hospital records, Quartermaster records, and other such records created at the time of the soldier being in military service.

NY 79th Highlanders
79th New York Highland Regiment, Civil War

After the Civil War, the War Department made a concerted effort to organize these scattered records into consolidated service files by the name of each soldier in every unit for every war up to that date. This allowed the Government to verify actual Service as claimed by Veterans seeking Pensions and other Benefits for their past service. These service records are then organized by state or unit designation, the company, and then alphabetically by surname.

Benefits Records are records created after the soldier was no longer in the service. Acts of Congress created such benefits as pensions and/or bounty land records. Bounty land was the disbursement of land as reward for past service. A veteran’s widow and/or orphans could also receive such benefits and so can also be found in such records, adding a wealth of genealogical detail to the family tree. Benefit records, also organized by war, are filed alphabetically by name of the soldier.

The Miscellaneous category would include lesser known or used forms of records, such as draft registrations, records of Old Soldiers Homes, headstone and burial records, lists of soldiers who died overseas, were missing in action, or prisoners of war, as well as records relating to civilians, such as the Japanese Internments during World War II.

The indexes for the service and benefits records for all of America’s wars have been microfilmed and are available at the National Archives, the 12 regional branches, and various other facilities, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, thus through its local branch centers. There are name indexes by War and by State. Originally, these indexes were put on microfilm, but now they can be found throughout the internet and/or the many free or fee based genealogical websites.

Copies of service and benefits records for all wars can be obtained directly from the United States National Archives online by creating a user account, including a credit card number, then filling out and submitting the online form with the relevant information. Fees may vary and only charged when records are found, copied and shipped. Here is a direct link to the National Archives webpage for ordering reproductions of any records: eservices.archives.gov

Of course, there is far more information related to United States Military Records than what I can explain here. So be sure to visit this page for links to more detailed information by war, resources, websites, free and fee based online sources, and more: www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Military_Records

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.

Whisky, Wine and Chocolate
Whisky, Wine & Chocolate

Wine, Scotch whisky, chocolate … and a fair sprinkling of romance – it was all on the menu at the Society’s slightly belated Valentine’s celebration in March.

All members and guests who attended were treated to red wine, white wine, and two leading brands of Scotch malt whisky.

The evening’s co-host Ginni Caldwell talked people through the best combinations of alcohol and chocolate. She even confirmed what many of those present had long suspected or hoped was true – that a regular diet of whisky is good for you, at least in moderation.

Ginni Caldwell Iain Lundy

After the whisky and chocolate had settled, Iain Lundy gave a talk on how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Scotland. Among those who recited romantic verses of prose or poetry were Past President Don Finch, and new members John Seeliger and his wife Stephanie.

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Update on the Historic Scottish Lamppost

Caledonian Society stalwart Kitty MacRae has always been enormously proud of her Scottish heritage. Now whenever she steps outside, she can see a little piece of her ancestral homeland taking pride of place in her back yard.

Kitty and her husband Paul Baron could not resist the chance to buy a pre-WW2 cast iron lamppost that had once adorned the streets of Scotland. It is most likely the only one of its kind in the US and the story of how it got here is remarkable to say the least.


Gary Lees, who sold the lamppost to Paul and Kitty two years ago, explained that the lamp was believed to have stood in either Glasgow or Hamilton. It was one of two bought at an antique store in Glasgow in 1947 by a wealthy American on a golfing trip. They were shipped over to his home in Lemont, Illinois and took pride of place in his driveway.

He added, “It was just after the war, and they were pulling all these lamplighter gas lamps off the streets in Scotland and replacing them with electric lights. In 1979 I needed a driveway light and when I saw it, while I didn’t care for its color and deterioration, it was the most beautiful street lamp I’d ever seen. So I had to have it.”

When Gary moved to Arizona in 2003, he had the lamp shipped to Sun City Grand and he restored it in his office. But he needed office space, the Sun City authorities wouldn’t allow such a lamp to be put up, and he approached the Caledonian Society to try to find it a new home.

”I don’t know if the other lamp is still in Illinois, it was in pretty bad shape when I last saw it. I’m very happy to see this one here in Paul’s back yard.”

Photo: Gary Lees, Mitty MacRae, Paul Baron

The cast iron pole was made at a foundry in England in 1928. The copper lantern at the top, Gary said, could have been made in many parts of the UK, including Scotland.

When Paul and Kitty saw an email from then Caledonian Society president Don Finch, they contacted Gary, then made immediate plans to have the lamp installed at their home in Waddell.

Paul said, “From the picture I couldn’t tell how big it was. When I went to see Gary, I thought ‘oh my god where am I going to put this thing?’ But I’m quite a history buff, I grew up back east, so the history of it really struck a nerve with me. I said I can’t let anything happen to this, it’s got to go to a good home, and I’ve got a place in my backyard I think I can put it.

“We worked out a deal and had my crew come out, loaded it up on a trailer, brought it over here, and we put it up. Being a general contractor, doing something like this is no problem. It is a talking point when people are here because it is one of a kind. People ask, ‘where did you find that thing?’. The Scottishness was a big part of it. It was love at first sight for sure.”

Kitty, who can trace her MacRae ancestors to the area around the spectacular Eilean Donan Castle, and Inverness, said, “I love it, I love the soft glow at night, that’s what I like most about it. When I went to Scotland for the first time, I was already homesick. I felt like I’d been missing it all these years and I’d finally got to see it. It was so familiar. I have Scottish ancestry, so the lamppost really does me proud.”

Snippets from Scotland
BBC News
The Scotsman

Anger has erupted after permission was granted for the siting of seven hydro power plants in one of Scotland’s most scenic glens. Glen Etive, adjacent to Glen Coe, is famous for the filming of Braveheart and the James Bond film Skyfall, starring Judi Dench and Daniel Craig.
From: scotsman.com

A set of maps detailing the confiscation of a Scottish Jacobite’s land after the Battle of Culloden have been made available to the public. The maps relate to the Lovat Estates, near Beauly in the Scottish Highlands. The 11th Lord Lovat, Simon Fraser, is played in the Outlander series by actor Clive Russell.
From: bbc.com

A 14-year old Glasgow schoolboy has discovered medieval carvings dating from the 10th and 11th centuries in a city graveyard. Experts have described the find as one of the most significant in the past 20 years.
From: scotsman.com

COMING EVENTS and Highland Games in Arizona and Nearby

April 6 Tartan Day Event
Chandler Downtown Library, 22 Delaware St
April 6 4 Peaks Kilt Chaser / Crawl
Papago Park, then 4 Peaks Pub in Tempe
April 6-7 Kern County Scottish Games & Gathering
Bakersfield CA
April 13-14 Las Vegas Celtic Gatherimg
Las Vegas NV
May 4-5 Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival
Bernalillo (Albuquerque) NM
March 7-8, 2020 56th Annual Phoenix Scottish Games
Stelle Indian School Park, Phoenix

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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