I’m doing a little Friday Night Happy Dance to celebrate receiving the Ancestor Approved Award from Jennie at They Came To Montana – thank you, Jennie! Leslie Ann of Ancestors Live Here started the Award to show appreciation for the genealogy bloggers whose posts we enjoy, and I’m absolutely tickled that my wee blog has this badge in my sidebar – so come in, grab a glass of bubbly and find somewhere to sit down, if you can. Just chuck the cat off the sofa – sorry about the hair. I’ll keep my speech short and try to be entertaining, but having received the award, I now need to specify ten things that I’ve learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened me, and then I should pass the award along to ten other genealogy bloggers that I feel are also deserving of it!
Ten things that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me about my ancestors:
- Enlightened to find that my grandparents were not married by my grandad’s father, who was a Minister – it turns out that they ran away to Gretna Green to get married, probably due to the fact that my granny was pregnant. Oops-a-daisy!
- Humbled to discover that that my Dad’s much-loved and loving grandfather was orphaned at a very young age (no one had ever told me) and was looked after by his one of his unmarried aunts who must have given up her chance of marriage to look after him and his brother. In turn, he looked after her once he married and they lived together until her death. You can read the story of Auntie Margaret here on my other more sensible blog, but have a tissue handy!
- Surprised to discover that my GGG grandfather, John Stevens’ cause of death was noted as “suicide” – why would someone who lived to the ripe old age of 72 commit suicide by jumping off the Friarton Bridge (of which he was the toll-keeper) in 1858? I spent ages going through Court Records (were they short of money?) and Newspapers (was there a scandal?) and eventually found an article which said that “he hadn’t been himself lately”. I’m guessing he was losing his marbles and a bit confused at the time, but can’t prove anything from the papers available, but I sat snivelling in the A K Bell Library in Perth for someone I had never known. As you do.
- Enlightened to discover that all the Grahams in my family were farmers as far back as John Graham, who was born in 1794 in Scone, Perthshire and farmed at Cairnbeddie, St Martins, Perth. His son, Patrick was my GG grandfather, who died young and left his sons orphaned (see No 2) and also farmed at Cairnbeddie. John Graham’s father was Patrick or Peter (the names were interchangeable in Scotland at the time) Graham, who was a mason in Scone. My sister still farms today, albeit in a different area of Scotland.
- Humbled to find that the brother of Auntie Margaret (mentioned in No 2) David
Alexander (1859 – 1886) was buried at Wellshill Cemetery in Perth with Military Honours. He was a Member of the Perth Troop of Fife Light Horse who attended. The hearse & 1 coach cost 17s/6p. I also nearly got locked in the cemetery the last time I visited, but that’s another blog topic. Suffice to say I did not need to climb the very high railings which looked like being my only option at one point.
- Surprised to find that I have a “serial liar” in the family – Elizabeth Burnett (my GGG grandmother) who was born about 1831 in Stranraer, Wigtown – allegedly. She gave birth to my illegitimate GG grandmother, also Elizabeth Burnett, in 1855 in Cumbernauld, Dumbarton and must have told her daughter that her father was James Burnett, as his name appears on the daughter’s marriage certificate, but I can find no proof. I suspect she came over from Ireland to Scotland, as Stranraer would have been a popular place to land from Ireland. She is still a big Brick Wall!
- Surprised to find that the book that my Granddad, Douglas’s cousin, Captain A F Dickson wrote of his memoirs “Seafaring A Chosen Profession” which is out of print, was up for grabs on Ebay. It turns out that Forrest greatly admired his Big Cousins, not least Douglas for his motorbikes. It’s full of stories about the cousins spending holidays together in Fife, as well as Forrest’s adventures at sea. Real Pirate stories with guns and everything :-)
- Surprised that my Great Granny’s parents shared the same ancestors – Thomas Pringle and Isabel Knox from Haddington. They were Andrew Dickson’s (1820 – 1906) grandparents and Grace Cunningham’s (1839 – 1929) great grandparents. As far as I can see this has resulted in no problems with numbers of ears etc.
- Surprised to find that, despite the best efforts of my granny, Elsie (of the sewing box blog) my siblings and I are probably NOT the GGGGG grandchildren of Robert Moffat, the missionary and Bible translator, whose daughter married Doctor Livingstone (I Presume). Someone must have told her at an impressionable age that her grandmother was a Moffat (which she was) who was related to the Magnificent Robert Moffat, and it stuck. We were regularly dragged along to his monument in Ormiston, where he was born, to pay homage, however that was fine with us as it was close to the swing park, and being farm kids, we didn’t get much opportunity for such modern entertainments. And finally…
- Surprised to find that there IS a family resemblance over so many generations – my GG grandmother, Margaret Borthwick (1819 – 1865) can be seen in a photo of a painting on one of my earlier blogs - and the poor woman looks just like my Dad in a dress.
I know I’ve been a bit irreverent, but it’s not because I don’t respect my ancestors, it’s because I feel I have come to “know” some of them so well, I can share a family joke with them. As families do… And it seems I have been more “surprised” than anything else so far by my investigations! And equally surprised by receiving the Award :-D
Now, to recommend a further 10 blogs for the Ancestor Approved Award – how can I only have 10? Here we go, in no particular order of preference, but blogs I enjoy and I think you will too, if you’re not already following:
- Amanda Epperson at The Historian’s Family
- Jennifer at On A Flesh & Bone Foundation
- Wayne’s blog Scots Great and Small, People and Places
- David at The Scottish Military Research Group
- Barbara at Life From the Roots
- Kerry at Cluewagon
- The Hummer at Branching Out Through the Years
- Cheryl at Have You Seen My Roots?
- Sue at Family History Fun
- Cheri at Journeys Past