Wednesday, April 3, 2013
HIGHLAND GAMES: FUN AND RESEARCH - Cynthia Hickey
Early Spring in Arizona brings the Highland Games. Having grown up being told by my mother that I'm Scot-Irish, and being told by my father that our family name used to be Muldoon, then changed to Melton during the 1700s. I had lots of questions. Not only did I enjoy the view of men in kilts, I was also curious as to why my family name wasn't called during the Calling of the Clans. So, I did what any historical writer does and headed to the geneaology tent. I explained the facts I knew to a lovely elderly gentlemen. He got very excited and proceeded to tell me that the reason my name wasn't called, is that we never pledged to a clan! Also, not only does my family have a plaid, they have two. One under the name Muldoon, the other under Melton. The gold plaid is Muldoon and the red is Melton. I never could find out exactly why my ancestors changed their name, only that they have been fighters from the beginning and were from the Tweedside District of Scotland. That sure explains alot about my family. Most of the men served in our country's military at one point in their life. My next search involved the Melton coat-of-arms. Here is a photo my father snapped in the Scotland airport during his Army careerThe helpful gentlemen at the booth couldn't help me much with the meaning of my coat-of-arms so I headed to the internet. I couldn't find it anywhere! I was only able to find variations. Throughly into my research now, I decided to find out what the lion and the unicorn meant. The lion (a symbol of England) is a sign of loyalty. The unicorn is a sign for diversity. Loyalty under Diversity. Makes sense since finding out my family never pledged to a clan, yet were loyal to England. My next search was to decipher what exactly was Scot-Irish. Since I married a Hickey, who's ancestors are from County Clark, I figured you had to be eigher Scottish or Irish. Well, turns out Scot-Irish are Scottish criminals sent to repopulate Ireland after the famine. So, there you have it. I come from a long line of criminals! My mother got a chuckle out of that one. I also grew up with family saying Abraham Lincoln is my fifth cousin on my mother's side, but that's research for another day. Research should, and can be fun. Happy researching!