AmeriCeltic is a user supported, non-profit service organization. Our Mission is to restore awareness, celebrate and preserve the culture and history of Celtic Americans by promoting live Celtic music, festivals, history & ancestry as well as report and comment on related current events.
Support our work!
“Thanks, Tony and Celia for all the excellent work you do for all things ‘Irish’ and indeed, for the entire Celtic community. I love getting their AmeriCeltic newsletter with all our news and events, and they are very professional to work with. AmeriCeltic really does make good things happen.” – Tom McEnery, Author, Playwright, Businessman, Teacher and former Mayor of San Jose, CA.
“I’m very happy to donate, to help you continue promoting our favorite music. AmeriCeltic is a treasure.” – David A. Reynolds, ‘Celtic Songlines’ KDRT 95.7 LP-FM
“AmeriCeltic’s High Spirited and Broad Sweeping Reportage is Astounding” – J. Patrick Goggins, Chairman, The Irish Literary and Historical Society of the San Francisco Bay Area
“Thanks for the reminder on updating my membership, and thank you for the work that you do with AmeriCeltic. I very much appreciate your efforts and the organization that your weekly newsletter requires.” – Edward R. Hearn, Esq., Subscriber
“Thank you for your consistent updates and the great work you are doing.” – Patricia O’Rourke – Subscriber
“For years, AmeriCeltic has been a force for the promotion of Celtic Music in tremendous fashion supporting stellar artists and shows on the West Coast of the United States. When AmeriCeltic produces a show, it is a rousing success that you won’t want to miss”. – Amelia Hogan, Singer
“Thanks for always proactively bringing events, people and communities together through AmeriCeltic! You are very creative and resourceful in the posts you create.” – Catherine John, The San Francisco Irish Mexican Association
“I’m sewing AmeriCeltic Patches on all my Scottish Heavy Athletics sweatshirts that I wear when I am throwing in the Scottish games. I want to be identified as a Celtic American since I have English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. I am very proud of my Celtic Ancestry and wish to continue learning more and promote this to other Celtic Americans. It’s one reason why I started my Celtic Meetup Group”Celtic-music-and-culture-of-Elk-Grove-Meetup-Group – Christina Newport, Sacramento
“I appreciate that AmeriCeltic updates us on Brexit and Northern Ireland. I’m glad to remain a supporter of AmeriCeltic, and I’m proud to wear/display the AmeriCeltic PATCH!” – Michael Fallon, San Jose State University
“THANK YOU very much for your site. I look forward to your emails every week.” – Maureen, San Jose, Subscriber
“AmeriCeltic, Please accept my modest donation for your endeavors. Living in the Monterey/Carmel area was a lot of fun with great music happening everywhere. We now live in Wisconsin during the school year taking care of our little 10 year old Grandaughter, and Seattle during the summers, but still enjoy hearing about all the great musical happenings!” – John Townsell, Subscriber
“I’ve moved back to Ireland, but still am enjoying your AmeriCeltic newsletter — it’s great for keeping me in touch with what’s going on back in the Bay Area!” – Melanie O’Reilly, Singer
“Dear Tony and Celia, Thanks for all the work you do on AmeriCeltic. It’s a wonderful source of information and a wonderful resource. “ – Deanne Donnellan, Subscriber
“I don’t even recall how I found out about the AmeriCeltic email list a number of years ago, but it’s been a delight to have it appear in my inbox ever since. We wish we could make time to attend so many more shows than we do… but frequently enough there are some things that appear nearby or near enough to where we’re visiting…” – John Gale, Subscriber
“Thanks for the feature in the AmeriCeltic newsletter – My own words never sounded so good. :)” – Stuart Mason, Mason-Weed, Molly’s Revenge, Little Black Train.
“I like traditional Irish music, especially O’Carolan and ballads. I do look at the AmeriCeltic calendar, but mostly I use the Friday AmeriCeltic newsletter to identify local performances that look interesting, and then I look for a link to their website or a YouTube video so I can see and hear whether I like them.
Recently, I enjoyed the 1st Saturday session at the United Irish Cultural Center near Ocean Beach in SF”. – Bill Donovan, Subscriber
“Our feature looks FABULOUS! Da*n happy when things work this nicely and this fast! Full marks to AmeriCeltic – You are a peach!” – Danny Carnahan, Wake the Dead
I really appreciate getting all music information in one place and all the extra reminders about house concerts, etc, that would be so hard to track. I have heard lots of wonderful music this past year because AmeriCeltic helped point me in the right direction.
Thanks again! – Carol Lewis, Subscriber
AmeriCeltic has responded to more than 10,000 Americans inquiring about their Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors, dealing with the reality that more than 150 million Americans have both Irish and Scottish ancestry. Millions more have Welsh and other Celtic ancestry. People appreciate music, arts and history more if they are aware that is part of their families cultural heritage.
But apart from the time it takes to produce the entirety of AmeriCeltic’s offerings, there are some real out-of-pocket operating expenses. There are costs to maintain the website, calendar, etc. hosted on freely available servers, as anyone who regularly uses the internet to reach out and communicate widely knows. Our newsletter expenses, not counting our time, for the newsletter, alone, are between $30 and $40 a month, every month. (It would be more if Tony didn’t scout out diligently every freebie he can get.)
Not counting travel expenses, each microfilm reel of hard to read original records that Celia transcribes costs $8 to get loaned from librarys that don’t yet have them online, or commission to have them PUT online.
AmeriCeltic also provides hospitality tents at major Celtic events, paying for tent space, transport, literature, food and beverages so that the public who stop by can learn about their Celtic heritage. The AmeriCeltic organization promotes Celtic musicians, creates live music events and hosts them. We provide materials for family history research, which is of interest to millions of Americans and sometimes needed for medical reasons.
AmeriCeltic is a non-profit, but it does not yet have IRS 501c3 tax status. We would like to obtain 501c3 status, but the largest obstacle to doing so has been finding persons who value our Mission and view the need for our services strongly enough to serve on an AmeriCeltic Board of Directors. Please let us know if you are interested in joining us in serving our Mission.
Every Friday since 2005, the weekly AmeriCeltic newsletter has arrived in the email inboxes of subscribers. Over the years these have grown to over 3300 mostly Northern Californians. The weekly newsletter is reposted on dozens of other Internet outlets, including the AmeriCeltic Facebook Group where it is seen by another 2000 plus Group members.
In the Events section of each particular Friday edition of the AmeriCeltic Newsletter, we generally include events that are upcoming during the succeeding month, placed in chronological order. There are times when the limit on the total size of each edition may alter this practice. For example, in the weeks preceding Saint Patrick’s day, there have been years when not everything upcoming that month could be made to fit into that particular Friday edition, and some of the later events would not appear until the following edition.
The AmeriCeltic Calendar is separate from the newsletter, and we’ve never run into a limit on the number of entries. We update it as we find the time to do so, and so it may include entries more than one month out, and if there are many submissions, or if we are busy, it may be short of one month too. These operations are free for both performers and readers, and donations are entirely voluntary, we do the best we can.
Both the Calendar and the Newsletter are on multi-user platforms, accessible in ‘the Cloud’, and so we would welcome any additional help from volunteers who could learn to help properly maintain them.
In the early years of the AmeriCeltic Newsletter and Calendar, 2005 – 2010, we covered mainly music events, but our coverage has since expanded significantly. Research has shown that 90% of all living Americans have more than 10% Celtic DNA markers, and so we began publishing family history research articles. These articles, have always been and continue to be on our website, under ‘Ancestors‘: https://americeltic.net/ancestors, and since 2005, we have occasionally included them in our newsletters.
In 2010, we began covering other Cultural events, adding Dance events that year, and in following years, Theater, Film, Comedy events. In 2011, we began to cover all of Northern California, through a partnership with Chuck Jamison of the Sacramento Area.
Big Changes in 2016
In January of 2016, shortly after Tony retired and the two of us could do more research and editing together, we began to include Reviews of Celtic creations like books, plays, and new music albums. All these are available on our website on our ‘Reviews‘ page: https://americeltic.net/reviews. In Spring of 2016 we expanded our coverage to include the largest events in the states of Oregon and Washington through a partnership with Steve Behrens of Portland, OR and his 67 Music brand.
With this expansion of research into Celtic matters, we also accelerated our related insights into the lessons our forebears endured, some now forgotten, yet still needed to deal with contemporary issues. In June 2016, we began to include Celtic Editorials about Public Affairs. Our first Editorial was this piece: 2016-06-17 Women’s Civil Rights in Celtic Societies by Cecilia Fábos-Becker.
As it happens, that same year, in June of 2016, the Brexit Referendum was approved by UK voters, and since June of 2016, we have published many Brexit related Editorials. We, like many others are hoping this Brexit ordeal ends soon. We had not planned on having to write so many updates on a single topic, as it has dragged out over these past 3 and 1/2 years.
Our editorials reflect those insights and observations. We occasionally have contributors with important comments. We also have readers interested in re-reading our and our contributors comments or passing them on. Later that year, we decided to dedicate a ‘Topics’ webpagehttps://americeltic.net/topics for those who consider our commentary worth a repeat read or a link or share to someone else.
Since 90% of Americans have inherited a significant amount of Celtic genes, many are interested in reconnecting with the Ancestral Celtic Culture, they inherited from the homelands of Scotland, Ireland, Wales etc. Music genres like Bluegrass developed from that inheritance, but so did the yearning for Independence and our respect for Democratic principles and Accountability. These three in particular are part and parcel of Celtic Culture, and have been for the entire 2500 plus years that Celtic Culture has been part of human history.
We consciously attempt to make our commentary on Celtic Culture and related current events, but remember culture is more than music, poetry, literature and designs on jewelry and swords, or language. It is also lifestyle as chosen by people and includes treatment of women and children, and government. It can include religion, but when an originally foreign religion is adopted, religion is often more separate from the rest of a culture and there will be a blending of what came before with what was adopted later. In fact, the arts reflect the lifestyle, and the actual lives of the people within their lifestyle and government, and what people feel and think about it.
We are NOT unbiased – we are very much biased in favor of the metaphysical truth and are both convinced that scientific techniques are the best way to find the truth of almost every question. We despise all bullies and disdain all extremists of the left or the right, or any other dimension. We would no sooner support a DUP machine gunner than we would an IRA bomber, a prelate guilty of sexual abuse or a despotic leader. We also believe in freedom of the press and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That great document comes from disputes over in the colonial U.S. and that no individual has a right to block or demand a particular story or editorial, like the John Peter Zenger trial. Click here for further information about the John Peter Zenger trial of 1735 and the principles it established. (The Morris family, by the way, in this set of events is considered Welsh-English, like the Morris dancers one can see at many Guy Fawkes Day and other Celtic festivals.)
For those who are curious on the choice/abortion issue, Tony’s views are firmly pro-choice, while Celia has moderate pro-life views. In November of 2019, we published Celia’s Editorial on the recent change to Abortion law in Northern Ireland Consequences for Northern Ireland. Our Editorial emphasizes and discusses the very un-democratic way the access change came about. We chose to ignore the abortion issue, per se, as NOT a Celtic related cultural issue, but a religious-political issue of modern times. You may have noticed we also have said nothing about the impeachment issue, nor the upcoming or past U.S. elections. Instead, we have done a comparative review of the forms of government of the UK and the U.S. and voting, and covered how they evolved from historical events and civil strife.
Events sans Commentary
If you are only interested in cultural Events, and not our commentary, nor perhaps our occasional book reviews, or short stories, or family history research related articles, our online AmeriCeltic Calendar might be preferable to our Newsletter. Anyone can browse our AmeriCeltic Calendar anytime, day or night on the Internet here: AmeriCeltic Calendar. As an ordinary Google Calendar app, our Calendar only accommodates event listings, and our wordy commentary just won’t fit into the tightly constrained event format. Type ‘A’ or choose ‘Schedule’ to make the Calendar display as a list of events.
Unfortunately, more than three centuries of cultural genocide have erased our memory of where we came from. All the Celtic nations have had to struggle to maintain their cultural identity, ( mostly against the English). AmeriCeltic is working hard to restore the awareness of these Americans of their Celtic roots and heritage.
Early Americans had the same struggles as their kin in Ireland and Scotland. About half the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, nearly three-quarters of Washington’s army and more than one-half of his officers corps, were Scots, Irish, and Scots-Irish. Then, in the War of 1812, these same Americans were forced to repel repeated English invasions–AGAIN.
The succeeding seven generations of descendants are the largest ethnicity in America. The majority of Americans have at least one grandparent or great-grandparent who is of mostly Scottish, Irish, Scots-Irish or other Celtic ancestry. Who are the Celts? These are the people who formed the United States from 13 colonies, giving all Americans our special freedoms and rights.
Many of these emigrant ancestors arrived before Ellis Island was established, and, even if they were Scottish, passed through Ireland where most public records including parish registers were lost in the 1922 Public Record Office explosion and fire. When they first arrived in this country, they were all called Irish if they had passed through Ireland–regardless of their real character. Next, event then, as Irish, or Scots, because of the English were the majority of colonial officials and dominated society, as well as government, they, and their cultures were seen as inferior to that of the English. Their music and culture was initially subordinate to and diminished by the dominant English authority and culture and was best retained in frontier areas where the Celts settled.
Celtic culture was further diminished by the U.S. Civil War, (aka “The War of Northern Aggression”) as the mostly English northern culture which prevailed dominated the post war period. In the Civil war, most of the battles took place in the border and southern states, often precisely where the Scots and Irish had most retained their culture. Churches, courthouses and cemeteries were shelled and burned. Likewise homes and all their contents of their history and culture were destroyed. Some music was kept and evolved, religious beliefs, and some quaint customs and traditions, but not much else. The memory of where the music, the religious beliefs, and those quaint traditions originated, who first had them and passed them on, was all but lost.
Today, according to several political and academic studies, over 3/4 of those who are at least a quarter or more of Irish, Scottish or other Celtic descent, do not know or see themselves as Celtic, or Celtic-American. They call themselves simply “Americans”–whatever that is imagined to be. Their roots are seen as ending at the Atlantic Ocean and not existing before whomever is the earliest great-grandparent of any background who they actually know about. There are more people with far less Native American genetics who identify themselves, as Native American, than those who have Celtic ancestry identifying themselves as Celtic American.
Our emphasis is helping people of Irish and Scots-Irish ancestry become more aware of and interested in their ancestoral culture and experiences, and find themselves and their families within the remaining records, history, and music. We also hope that through this they also find their nation’s real history and culture before it is lost forever, because this nation was created, as strong, unique and good as it is, from their own families’ ancestors culture and experiences on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, starting in the ancient Celtic world.
AmeriCeltic cosponsors, promotes and supports Celtic cultural events and activities with other non-profit organizations. Examples include pan-Celtic cultural festivals, music sessions, and related teaching activities such as instructing session players and performers in traditional music and distributing literature promoting upcoming festivals and other events.
Music engages humans in a unique way and is a reflection of every culture. AmeriCeltic promotes traditional Celtic music performances.
AmeriCeltic also co-sponsors, promotes and coordinates organization, research and publication (especially on-line) of county civil, church and civil records from 1607 down to the year 1910 for family and general history and provide scholarships and grants for this work and for publication of biographies and histories related to the new exposure of records. It will work with historical societies, colleges and high schools to do this. Family history work for family, local and medical reasons will be encouraged. Free materials and how-to-information is available on our website, and distributed at festivals, where low-cost, professional genealogists and historical writers are welcome to use materials about themselves at the AmeriCeltic booth.
AmeriCeltic will assist other organizations dedicated to various aspects of Celtic-American/Celtic culture and history to themselves become viable and responsible non-profit organizations with growing, active memberships.
The AmeriCeltic Logo
The AmeriCeltic Patch
We’ve had many questions about our AmeriCeltic logo. The design is similar (but not the same as) a traditional coat of arms, and quartered, to give equal respect to four major parts of most Celtic American’s ancestry. Of the over 300 million Americans now alive in the U.S., about 60% have a quarter or more, Scottish, Irish, Welsh–or mixture of more than one of these–heritage. Can you identify the heraldry of each quarter? (Hint – The rampant red lion on a field of gold DOES NOT represent England.)
The last quarter commemorates the great sacrifice of the early emigrant ancestors of many Americans in creating this nation. It’s the circle of 13 white stars on a field of blue. (The European Union uses a circle of 12 gold stars). This design was created by Betsy Ross (a fine Scottish name) for George Washington’s (whose mother was Scots-Irish) order to her to design and sew the first United States flag. Forerunner of all the later US flag designs, Betsy Ross’s design celebrates the original thirteen American colonies who first fought for U.S. independence. People of mostly Scottish, Irish or Welsh heritage stood up to the then world’s greatest empire and they succeeded.
These same people wrote most of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, based on their own experiences and those of their Scottish, Irish and Welsh ancestors at the hands of the too often less than egalitarian-minded English Aristocracy of the 18th and 19th Centuries, to try to create a better nation and set a good example for other nations to eventually follow. Many nations did. The thirteen colonies that became the first U.S. states, were settled by mostly Scots, Irish, and Welsh. (Most English people had little reason to leave England!) Two-thirds of George Washington’s armies, more than half his officer corps, and the entirety of the infant rebel US Navy were all the same. Washington, Jefferson and other founders were all of at least half Scottish ancestry. In the war of 1812, often called ‘the Second War of Independence,’ it was pretty much the same, with the addition of French descended pirates. The French had been our strongest allies in our Revolution, so Lafitte’s efforts on our behalf carried on a tradition.
Tony and Celia Becker are the people who are behind AmeriCeltic. Their Celtic ancestors were both Continental and from the British Isles. Tony’s include Austrian, (Becker) Swiss (Sonderegger), Irish (McInerney and Coyne), Welsh (Beebe) and Scots-Irish (McCormack). Celia’s include Hungarian (Fábos and Garai), Scots-Irish (Wallace, Campbell, Hays, Ross, Walker, Dunlap) and Anglo-Scots/Irish families (Wood, Woods, Evans, Lendrum/Landrum, Thomas, Miller, Scott).
Neither Tony nor Celia, were born in the Celtic Homelands. Tony’s father’s maternal grandparents were born in Ireland in the early 19th century. Celia has traced a dozen of her immigrant ancestors’ origins to specific counties/shires in Ireland and Scotland, and a few more of Tony’s immigrant ancestors’ origins, back to Ireland and Scotland, between the late 17th and early 19th centuries.
Tony and Celia share many cultural interests including history and music, mild hiking, gardening, and caring for their cats. Said cats are all to one extent or another “rescued.”
Celia is a professional genealogist and researcher, with degrees in history and anthropology, a certificate in non-profit organization management, and additional post graduate work in mass communications and public relations. She has been employed in the past in government, industry, and as a political activist. She has served on a number of non-profit organization boards for political and arts organizations. One, a Chinese American ballet company had a $250,000 a year budget. Another, an East Central European American organization helped raise about $1 million toward refugee assistance for the nearly 1 million refugees who fled to Hungary from the Balkan warfare and Ceaucescu’s last attempts at genocide in Romania before his death, before the UN finally provided assistance, and the U.S. brokered peace in the Balkans. She is a novice harp player, having come late to it.
Tony has been an entrepreneur with marketing, engineering, IT, and photography in his background. He has been a director of a small corporation and headed departments in others. He has a 5-year multi-disciplinary engineering degree and is a classically trained guitarist, who plays Celtic, classical, U.S. “country,” and folk music, as an avocation. He was most recently IT Director of a conservation corps and charter school that helps give troubled young adults a second chance.
Tony served eight years as a board member of the San Jose-Dublin Sister City program. Tony produced their Concert programs which raised over $15,000 in scholarship funds for Irish graduate students to come to San Jose for a semester, intern at a local company then return to Ireland for their Masters Degree. This program also sent a U.S. graduate student from San Jose to a similar program in Dublin.
Both Tony and Celia are members of the Saint Andrew’s Society of San Francisco, (SASSF), which has several scholarship programs among its many philanthropic activities. Tony is a member of the SASSF Cultural Committee, which guides its cultural programs, including grants for cultural activities.