AmeriCeltic is a user supported, non-profit service organization that restores awareness, celebrates and preserves the culture and history of Americans of Celtic descent.
AmeriCeltic serves Celtic Americans at all levels.
"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 the 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.The weekly AmeriCeltic newsletter arrives in over 3000, mostly Northern Californians, email inboxes every Friday and is reposted in many other Internet outlets.
"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.
"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 in 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.
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.
Who are the people behind AmeriCeltic?
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 (McNerney), Welsh (Beebe) and Scots-Irish (McCormack). Celia's include Hungarian (Fabos and Garai), Scots-Irish (Wallace) and Anglo-Scots/Irish families (e.g. Collins).
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 is also a board member of the San Jose-Dublin Sister Cities program, producing its Concert programs which have raised over $10,000 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. Soon this program plans send a U.S. graduate student from San Jose to a similar program in Dublin.