May 2020     Title   Past Issues

In this Issue:

  Gatherings, Membership   March Piping Awards
  President's Letter   March Piping Photos
  The Two Man Band   Snippets from Scotland
  Scotland's Hidden Gems   Events Canceled Everywhere
  Research Your Scottish Ancestry   A Word from our Advertisers  

Gatherings and Membership Renewal
Don Finch, VP Membership

In common with organizations throughout the country, we have had to suspend all our activities due to the coronavirus. Once things improve to the point of having regular gatherings, then we hope to resume a full program of meetings and events. We hope all members and their families are well and staying safe, and we look forward to getting together again, sooner rather than later.

Thank YouThanks for Renewing Membership

By popular request we extended the 2019 membership year by 3 months to get past the year-end bills and the highland games. The new period runs from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

There are 170 names on the 2019 list, a mix of families and singles. We’ve received renewal payments from 34 Families and 34 Singles. The COVID19 crisis has affected all of us and we understand if you’re waiting to renew 'til we’re back to ‘normal'.

President's Letter
David McBee, President

David McBee I hope you are all well. Miss the laughter and smiling faces.

For a brief Games review: This is our one and only real fundraiser of the year. We were hit with major cost increases from the City Park and from additional sanitization preparation costs at the last minute. We had our supplier of Port-a-Potties fail to show up on the Friday of the Games! Luckily, ProEm – our supplier for tents, fencing and much more - was able to come through for us in the wee hours of the morning, or we would have canceled. All the additional expenses were extensive, but provided that the main sponsor check does come through sometime in the future, we will have broken even this year.

To give perspective on the impact of those costs: We set a record for athlete participation this year and filled all spots; attendance was solid and should prove to be above last year’s numbers; we sold a record amount of beer and even ran out on Sunday afternoon; vendor sales were excellent without a single complaint, a first!

The net effect as a fundraiser is that no net funds were actually raised; but we were the second-last Games of the year held so far, and are among the lucky ones. Other Games have cancelled with losses in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. We will have to tighten our belts this year and depend on member donations to make it through to next year. The next Games will require major price increases across the board. We are a cash-based non-profit with no salaried staff. We will find it difficult to absorb the kind of cost increases coming our way.

The upside of this is that if membership rises to the occasion and we can put this together again next year, we can become a foundational Games event in the nation. Maybe people will realize the value of these events and the true costs, to be successful.

Keep your chin up, remember to sanitize with tasty Scotch, be smart and safe. Until we meet again,Slainte.


The Two Man Band

Two teenage members of the Phoenix Pipe band have been bringing a blast of Scottish cheer to neighborhoods near their home during the coronavirus lockdown. Thomas Rowley, a piper, and his bother Jaymes Rowley (correct), who plays the snare drum, were so disappointed when the St Patrick’s Day Parade was canceled in March that they decided to take their musical talents round their immediate neighbors.

Thomas Rowley Jaymes Rowley The reaction was incredibly positive, and the boys were even featured on the front page of the Arizona Republic. After that article calls came in from around the Valley – from as far afield as Apache Junction and Avondale – asking if they would come and perform.

The boys’ mother Cloi (correct) felt that keeping the two-man parades to neighborhoods near their home in Tempe was enough and chauffeured the lads to their various 'concert venues'. They performed twice a day, five days a week, for almost six weeks, until the temperature became too hot and they had to stop. Cloi said up to 30 people would come along when the boys went out. Many of them remarked they had never heard bagpipes and were awestruck to hear tunes such as Amazing Grace being played.

Scotland's Hidden Gems - Home of the Gypsy Kings
Iain Lundy

On the face of it there is nothing to see in the village of Kirk Yetholm. It lies in gentle rolling countryside less than a mile from the English border and is as sleepy and picture-postcard a Scottish village as you can imagine.

Kirk Yetholm today

Turn the clock back several generations, however, and there was a lot more happening in this remote little speck on the map nestling in the Scottish Borders. For centuries it was the crowning place of the Kings and Queens of the Scottish Gypsies.

The gypsies - or Romani peoples - have occupied a position in Scottish life, especially in the Borders, for many centuries. Romanis came originally from the Indian sub-continent and because of their dusky appearance, were classed as a separate ethnic minority until the early 1900s.

The community that settled in and around Kirk Yetholm were Romanichal Travelers – or Border Gypsies. In common with most gypsy communities they traveled in caravans or by foot and sold their wares at selected markets and fairs. In the case of the Border Gypsies, much of their business was conducted in the north of England. In 1540 King James V effectively permitted the Scottish gypsies self-rule.

Kirk Yetholm became gypsy land in the late 1600s when they were donated land by a grateful landlord whose life they had saved in a battle. Over time it became a proper settlement with the building of cottages and even a ‘royal palace’ used for the crowning of gypsy monarchs. The dominant family became the Faa family and the first king crowned in the village was Johnnie Faa.

Gypsy Palace 1890     The Palace, 1890

BKing Charles Faa Blyth IIy the time the last king was crowned in 1898, the ruling family was the Blyths. However, he took the title King Charles Faa Blyth ll, retaining both royal names. The ceremony ended with a hare being hung around his neck, and a bottle of whisky smashed over his head.

His great claim to fame was that he was never prosecuted for any crimes. Charles left no heirs, and, on his death, the Yetholm gypsy dynasty died out. Nowadays there is little to suggest that Kirk Yetholm held such a prominent place in the lives of the Scottish traveling community.

Some descendants of the gypsies still live there, the palace is in reality a small whitewashed cottage, and a stone stands in the center of the village to commemorate its importance.

How to get there: Kirk Yetholm, and its slightly larger sister village Town Yetholm, lie just south of Kelso. Take the B6352 heading south for nine miles and you will find it.

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

Robert WilbanksNational Archives of Scotland

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

In the past, I have talked generally about where many records can be found. These repositories include courthouses, libraries, and archives. Libraries are most notable for primarily housing books, and courthouses for housing relatively current records. Archives are a long term repository for the organizing and storage of more historic records, generally over 100 years old.

Archives can be understood with relation to government jurisdictions and agencies. While a National Archives or a State Archives are most common, there are potentially unique locality Archives, such as the Philadelphia City Archives or the Westchester County (NY) Archives. As for Private Archives, examples would be the Coca-Cola Archives, the Railroad History Archives for New England, and the Archives of the American Baptist Historical Society in Atlanta. Another example includes colleges and universities that have their own institutional archives.

TGeneral Register Househe National Archives of Scotland, the NAS, as the name suggests, is the housing of the historical records of Scotland. They claim to have one of the most varied collection of archives in Europe. The NAS is based at three locations in Edinburgh which include HM General Register House, West Register House, both in the city centre, and the Thomas Thomson House in the Sighthill area of the city. The latter is the main repository.

The NAS changed its name from the Scottish Record Office on January 7, 1999. It is headed by the Keeper of the Records of Scotland and is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government. It is responsible for records management, which includes selecting, preserving, promoting, and making available, the national archives of Scotland.

On April 1, 2011, the NAS was merged with the General Register Office of Scotland (GROS) who is primarily responsible for civil registrations (ie. birth, death, marriages, divorces, etc.). Together they form the National Records of Scotland, whose responsibilities, in addition to civil registrations and historical records management, include the census, demography, family history, etc.

Circular FilesWhile there are historic records dating back to before 1200, the bulk of the records date back to the mid-1300s. Over time, the accumulation of records grew to such an extent that a special ‘register house’ was built within Edinburgh Castle to house them.

The troubled history of Scotland with England resulted in the loss of records during several periods as records were taken and returned to Scotland on several occasions.

With the restoration of Charles II in 1660, all records were returned and thenceforward retained in Scotland. By 1806 the office of Deputy Clerk Register was created, and Thomas Thomson given the first appointment, serving in that office for 35 years. He laid the foundation of the modern record office.

In the late 1990s NAS became a pioneer in the digitization of, and providing online access to, historical records on a large scale. This was done as a project called the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN). Partners in SCAN included the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Genealogical Society of Utah (now Family Search). One of their biggest achievements was to scan the wills and testaments in the Commissary Court and Sheriff Court registers between 1513 and 1901, creating an index and making them available online. The NAS maintains the products and websites of SCAN.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with the GROS, NAS supplies the content for the ScotlandsPeople website, allowing searches in pre-1855 old parish registers, civil registers since 1855, census returns, valuation rolls, and the aforementioned wills and testaments. ScotlandsPeople is the official Scottish Government website for searching historic government records. It is used by hundreds of thousands of people each year to research family history, biography, local history and social history.

The website for the National Archives of Scotland, now National Records of Scotland, is They have a page dedicated to family history research, with numerous research guides by area of research. The website for ScotlandsPeople is with a ‘Help and Guidance’ page, and more.

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.

Pipe Bands at the 2020 Phoenix Games
Don Finch, Trophy Sponsorship Committee

Under the direction of Michael Leone, himself an accomplished piper, seven bands competed for prize money and awards at the 2020 Phoenix Scottish Games. The massed bands performed in the Opening Ceremonies at noon Saturday March 7th and then competed throughout the afternoon. Piping and drumming solo competitions took place on Sunday March 8th.

Pipe Band Competition - March 7, 2020:

Grade V QMM
1st - Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band
2nd -Phoenix Pipe Band
3rd - Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band
Grade V MSM
1st - Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band
2nd -Phoenix Pipe Band
3rd - Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band

Grade IV MSR
1st - Tucson & District Pipe Band
2nd - Glendale Pipes and Drums
Grade IV Medley
1st - Glendale Pipes and Drums
2nd -Tucson & District Pipe Band

1st - Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band
2nd -Phoenix Pipe Band
Grade III Medley
1st - Phoenix Pipe Band

Overall Aggregate Score Winners- March 7, 2020:

Grade III Overall – The John L Ferrell Memorial Trophy
- Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band

Grade IV Overall – The Wheaton McClanathan Sr. Memorial Trophy
- Glendale Pipes & Drums

Grade V Overall – The Capt. N.L. Finch, SD&G Highlanders Memorial Trophy
- Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band

Dress & Deportment – The Buck Bradley Memorial Trophy
- Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band – Tie
- Phoenix Pipe Band - Tie

Piping and Drumming Solo Competition Results - March 8, 2020:

Side Drumming 2/4 March – Grade IV
1st – U. Reyes
2nd - A. Luce

2/4 March, Grade IV
1st – I. Kelly
2nd – J. Gillispie
3rd – T. Black

Slow March, Grade IV
1st – T. Black
2nd – T. Rowley
3rd – I. Kelly

Piobaireachd, Grade IV
1st – T. Black
2nd – I. Kelly
3rd – J. Gillispie

6/8 March, Grade III
1st – D. Copenhaver
2nd – F. Adams
3rd – M. Morrison

Strathspey/Reel, Grade III
1st – F. Adams
2nd – M. Morrison
3rd – D. Copenhaver

2/4 March, Grade III
1st – M. Morrison
2nd – D. Copenhaver
3rd – J. Gallagher

6/8 March, Grade II
1st – S. Fowles
2nd – N. Cox

Hornpipe/Jig, – Grade II
1st – S. Fowles
2nd – N. Cox

MSR, Grade II
1st – N. Cox
2nd – S. Fowles

Grade 1 - MSR, 6/8 March and Hornpipe/Jig
1st – E. Woodward (1st in all 3 contests)

Tenor Drumming - Novice
1st – J. Espy
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Piping Photos from the 2020 Phoenix Games

Teresa Black Ferrell Trophy
Teresa Black of Glendale Pipes & Drums – 2 Firsts and a Third in Grade IV Solo Competition Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band wins the John L Ferrell Memorial Trophy as Overall Grade III Winner. Presented by the Ferrell family’s friend Michael McClanathan
Captain N L Finch Trophy The Overall Grade V Winner Cameron Highlanders – San Diego - receiving the Capt. N.L. Finch Memorial Trophy (SD&G Highlanders) from Don Finch
It was a tie for The Buck Bradley Memorial Trophy for Dress & Deportment. Buck’s widow Elly Bradley (L) and daughter Kelly Wilkerson (R) presented to Jeff Anderson, Phoenix Pipe Band (far left) and to Kevin Conquest, MCPB,(far right) Buck Bradley Trophy

Wheaton McClanathan Sr Trophy Presented by Michael McClanathan

Glendale Pipes & Drums are the Overall Winner of Grade IV and received the Wheaton McClanathan Sr. Memorial Trophy from Michael McClanathan

Snippets from Scotland

Country Living

Fancy getting away from the heat of the Arizona summer to your own Scottish paradise - where the sun doesn’t beat down so relentlessly? For a cool £250,000, less than the price of an average modern home, you can buy the uninhabited Shetland of Linga.

BBC News

Last year, for no apparent reason, the water level in Loch Vaa, near Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, dropped dramatically. Now it has risen to record levels – and again no-one knows why. So, what is happening in the small Highland loch?

Daily Mail

A chunk of land in the south of Scotland is to be sold off for development as a mountain resort. The land near Wanlockhead, currently owned by the Duke of Buccleuch, will allow for gold-panning, mountaineering, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits.

Lockdowns Cancel Highland Games throughout North America
Mark Pelletier, VP Administration

We were so fortunate to have been able to hold the Phoenix Scottish Games in March, just one week before mandated event restrictions began. The large Chandler Ostrich Festival was canceled the following Thursday, a day before it was set to open.

Had it been necessary for us to cancel, not only would a great event have been missed; but, since almost all expenses had been arranged, the financial effect of canceling would have been devastating for our Society.

In my role for the Clan Campbell Society, I maintain a calendar of over 220 Scottish Events in North America. Only five planned events actually took place in March, the last in Durango CO just a week after ours. NO planned events occured in April. At this date, only two May and three June events have not been canceled, and July is over 50% canceled already

Announced cancellations extend into September, including some of the largest and oldest Games in the US and Canada. For instance, the Grandfather Mountain Games (North Carolina), originally scheduled over two months away in July, estimates a loss of $100,000 because of already incurred expenses.

As we well know, staging a Highland Games event is both a gigantic undertaking and a gigantic financial gamble. Over the years that I have maintained that calendar, I have seen numerous events fall by the wayside - due to finances, loss of volunteers or venues, or just burnout. Now I fear that many organizations will disappear for 2021. This could be a tremendoous, long-term loss to our heritage.

Let's hope that we in Arizona can prevail. Note that at this time Flagstaff (July), Prescott (September) and Tucson (November) remain scheduled on their planned dates.

Membership Notice

All Memberships now run from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

Membership dues for 2020-2021 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
Gathering have been suspended due to the COVID-19 situation. Watch for informatioin when government guidelines change.

A Word from our Advertisers

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