Ormiston Mercat Cross

Just when you think you don’t have a blog post brewing, a big one suddenly appears out of nowhere!

I hadn’t decided if I was going to do a post for today’s Sepia Saturday when I had to nip out for milk late this afternoon and I just went to the nearest shop, the Co-Op in Ormiston.  As I drove up the Main Street, the sun was shining on the familiar old market cross standing slap-bang in the middle of the street and I thought it looked better than usual in the low sunshine.  I snapped it with my phone and thought no more of it – I just enjoy taking random photos that I like and phones make that a breeze.

Ormiston Mercat Cross

Ormiston Mercat Cross 24 Sep 2011

I lived in Beech Cottage (the little white house you can just see on the left) for a couple of years in the late 90’s, and I’ve had a strong connection with the village of Ormiston throughout my life.  Our local parish Church was the one in Ormiston when I was a child (not that we went very often) – and the village had our nearest swing park which was 2 1/2 miles away from the farm, so the four of us kids had Special Outings with my Porter Grandparents to give Mum peace for an hour – a rare treat for all of us!  These grandparents are on Mum’s side – not the relatively carefree tree-climbing granny you already know from Dad’s side.

Back home (with milk) I thought about Sepia Saturday and went to one of my favourite websites for looking at miscellaneous old Scottish stuff – RCAHMS to see what they had on Ormiston Cross.  A lot of their data can only be accessed in person, however, they do have some interesting things online (have a look if you have any Scottish connections) and I found this photo

Ormiston Cross from West

Item SC 1164189

Caption General view from W.
Notes Scanned from a glass plate.
Object type Digital image
This is a copy of EL 1779
Copyright © Batsford Ltd London

Person B C Clayton
Role Photographer

The original cobblestones have been uncovered since this photo was taken (shame it’s not dated), and if you look very closely down the at the far end of the Main Street, you can see another monument.  This is dedicated to Robert Moffat (1795 – 1883), the Scottish missionary and explorer (his daughter, Mary, married “Dr Livingston, I Presume”).  My Granny Porter claimed that we were the “great great great great great grandchildren” of Robert Moffat, and we paid homage at the monument on some visits to the swing park.  The monument bears an image of the great man and his even greater beard.

My Granny’s paternal grandmother was a Moffat, and somehow a (dare I say “tenuous”) connection had been made between Robert and her granny, and by the time it reached us it was Law.  Needless to say, in all my years as a genealogist, I have been unable to prove any connection and suspect it is highly unlikely that there is one, beyond sharing the Moffat surname.

However, we did get to have a go on the see-saw and the swings :-)

There’s now a plaque on the East side of the railings giving more info on the Cross

I’m very pleased that I wasn’t subjected to public exposure of malefactors :-)

It’s Sepia Saturday – check out the other contributors’ interesting old photos, and why not have a go at posting one of your own – it doesn’t have to be sepia :-)

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Little girls – Sepia Saturday

The theme this week is (as usual) open to interpretation, so keeping with Great Granny’s album, I’ve chosen a rather tattered and creased (well-loved) old picture of my Granny and her sister as girls – it’s the earliest one I have of Granny, and I reckon Mary is about 10 (born 1909) and Chrissie about 7 or 8 (born 1912).  Written on the back is “Mary and Chrissie in years long gone bye” in Great Granny’s handwriting

Chrissie looks very shy, or is maybe laughing and has been caught looking downwards.  As with many of this type of photo, they are posed in front of a flower bed which must have taken a lot of work and been a source of great pride :-)  Both girls are wearing what looks like velvet jackets, so it must have been rather cool – a typical Scottish autumn?

Mary (Granny) holds a steady gaze at the camera – perhaps a sign of her developing personality, which previous Great Granny’s Album pics have shown to be fun-loving and down to earth.  She died when I was only 3, so I never knew her as an adult, but it’s lovely to have so many pictures of her and be able to build up an idea of her life, albeit from brief snapshots in time.   Great auntie Chrissie survived well into her eighties, and I remember her well – she was the spitting image of Granny.  They both had red hair, which is unfortunately lost in the black and white photos – I wonder if they had tempers to match?  :-D


SEPIA SATURDAY is a weekly meme which encourages bloggers to publish and share old images and photographs. All that is required is for contributors to post an old image (it doesn’t have to be in sepia) and provide a few words in explanation. If you could provide a link back to the Sepia Saturday Blog and visit as many of the other contributors as you can, it would also be appreciated.  Go on, share an old photo with us – it’s great fun and all the other contributors are very supportive :-)

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Tut. Get your hand off his knee, Granny!

Another photo from my Granny’s album and, as usual, the gang of cousins and friends are messing about and having fun.  But wait, Granny has her HAND ON THAT BLOKE’S KNEE!  I’m shocked at such forward behaviour in the late 1920’s.  I’m not surprised that her cousin is tickling her foot, or that she is resting her legs around her sister’s shoulders (although Chrissie looks none too happy), but what’s the Knee Thing all about?

Mary & Chrissie Stewart, late 1920's, Perthshire

After scanning this small photo and on close inspection, he looks like my Dad – Doh!  It’s my Granddad, who she married several years later in 1934.  I think this is the earliest photo I have of my Granddad, so this is a nice surprise for me.  Granny lived at New Farm, Errol as a companion to her aunt and so her Hardie cousins were like brothers to her.  Granddad farmed nearby and Auntie told me that this was how they met.

Jo :-)

SEPIA SATURDAY is a weekly meme which encourages bloggers to publish and share old images and photographs. All that is required is for contributors to post an old image (it doesn’t have to be in sepia) and provide a few words in explanation. 

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Family Recipe Friday – Tomato Soup

As a farmer’s wife with 4 kids to feed, my mum made soup all the time – lots of soup.  Lots of different soup.  And a lot of soup that was much the same as the last soup, but her tomato soup was Special.  I found this scribbled recipe on a page ripped from our telephone message pad that sat on top of the fridge (as did the phone with the swivelly dial) which she must have written out for me on request.

I have to confess, that even though I knew I had this recipe (saved along with my birth certificate and other important documents) I have never made it – something to  be rectified shortly and see if my tastebuds take me back 30 years in time.

My Dad was a Scottish farmer and for years he grew potatoes – he loved them and so do I.  Not so the rest of the family who always cook an extra half a pot of spuds if they know I am coming to eat :-)  Dad loved Mum’s very delicious home-made Leek & Potato Soup which she made (at his pleading) every Christmas.  One year I went into the kitchen and found Mum stuffing packets in the kitchen bin and looking a little flustered.  It turned out, that in all the years of my Dad’s potato farming, she had been secretly following a Leek & Potato soup recipe mainly using “Smash” (a dehydrated potato product) and had to hide the evidence from Dad who would have been appalled.  Needless to say, he never found out.  And I don’t have the secret Leek & Potato soup recipe…

If you get round to testing the tomato soup before I do, let me know how it is :-)


If you have your own genealogy or family history related blog, you can participate in Family Recipe Friday .  What is it?

Family Recipe Friday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

Family Recipe Friday is an opportunity to share your family recipes with fellow bloggers and foodies alike. Whether it’s an old-fashioned recipe passed down through generations, a recipe uncovered through your family history research, or a discovered recipe that embraces your ancestral heritage share them on Family Recipe Friday. This series was suggested by Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist.

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Happy Blogiversary to me :-)

It’s my blogiversary!  And I only realised because Carol at Reflections from the Fence wished me a Happy Blogiversary, thank you Carol, and I’m enjoying a virtual version of “The Trip” you’re doing.  (Lovely photos – go and have a look.)

When I started my blog I was just playing around with old family photos, my family history and stories and I never expected anyone would actually READ it.  Well, I thought my siblings might (they don’t) but I have lots of people from all over the world reading and commenting, and I’m really surprised.  So, thank you :-)

I post rather sporadically when inspiration strikes and time allows, so here’s to the next year.


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Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Signs You Have GOCD

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge.  He says…

Hey genea-addicts, it’s Saturday Night – time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and I hope that all of you do!), is to:

1)  Read Michael John Neill’s post 10 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD (come on, give Michael some link love).

2)  Make up any number of sentences that will add to his list of signs that you have Genealogy OCD.  From one to many, no limit!

3)  Share your ingenuity and humor with us in your own blog post, in Comments to this post, in comments to Michael’s post, or in a comment on Google Plus or Facebook.

My input:

When the height of your week is finding a new cemetery tucked away somewhere down a back road, and your family and friends know that a “Saturday picnic” is just an excuse to spend all afternoon exploring said burial ground.

When you have to resist the temptation to put a tiny (very tiny) note on a Client’s research report saying “warning, may contain traces of nuts” :-)

When you notice an obscure name (Auchmuty, for example) on a website somewhere and you are convinced you MUST be related somehow.  You fire off an email and then get hugely frustrated when there is no equally enthusiastic response, within the hour.

All your old photos have neat notations on the back in pencil identifying faces, dates and possible places, are stored in Archival boxes and have been faithfully scanned and backed up.  The more recent photos showing living relatives have nothing on the back and live in old polythene bags in a drawer.  You justify this by thinking that everyone in those pics can still remember who they are.

GOCD has been a recognised disease since approximately a year after I started on my genealogy, and recognised it in myself.  It’s apparently widespread throughout the world, judging by the blogs I read.

:-)  Jo

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The “Where I’m From” Poem (for SNGF) Compendium

I realise I’m a week late with this, but it’s too late, I’ve written my poem, so I’m handing it in anyway.  Better late than never :-)

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings  issued a challenge to write a poem based on the template at http://www.swva.net/fred1st/wif.htm.  I’ve taken some “artistic licence” from the template, but here it is

I am from the Scottish soil, land worked by generations
I am from the dark, damp mines, as with many of our nations
I am from the wheat and oats and barley which gave food
I am from the Grahams and Porters, Stewarts and Brysons too
The Stevens, Hardies, Dicksons all contribute to my genes
The Liddels and, the Burnetts (although via unsourced means)
I am from the seedsmen, farmers, farriers and more - 
Mitchell, Vallance, Bruce and Knox - and others of old lore
From spinster Auntie Margaret, buried not too far from Perth
Who looked after two wee nephews upon their parents deaths
To the blacksmith from Scoonie (in the Kingdom of Fife)
Who changed their name to Porter, to save his family's life
The Camerons, the Galloways, the Thomsons and the Weirs
It's only thanks to all of them that I am even here.

I will try to be on time in future ;-)



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