Sunday, 26 December 2010

A Christmas Carol- Scrooge or Scroggie

Most people are familiar with Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol and the central character Scrooge, but not many will know that Ebenezer Scrooge was based on an Edinburgh worthy.
Dickens visited Edinburgh in 1841 and while passing time visited the graveyard of the Canongate Church.Here he came across the gravestone of Ebenezer Scroggie,Mealman died 1836. Dickens misread this as 'meanman' and 'Scrooge' for Scroggie. Two years later A Christmas Carol was published to great acclaim. Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie was born in Kirkcaldy a cousin of the famous economist Adam Smith. He found great wealth in Edinburgh as a merchant vintner and town councillor. Noted for his licentious behaviour,generosity and parties,he could not have been more unlike his character in the book.Dickens had entered in his diary following the visit:
'to be remembered through eternity only for being mean seemed the greatest testament to a life wasted.'
 Unfortunately the gravestone of Ebenezer Scroggie was removed in the 1930s and even the use of his forename fell out of favour with parents not wishing to bestow it on their sons.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

First Female Herald in Scotland Appointed

The Court of the Lord Lyon has appointed Elizabeth Roads nee Bruce to become the first female herald in Scotland and the UK. The former Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records to the Lord Lyon, she has worked in the court since 1975 and was appointed clerk in 1986. In 1992 she was made Carrick Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary and was a founding member of the Heraldry Society of Scotland later becoming a Fellow of the Heraldry Society of Scotland and the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Scottish Clan and Family DNA Projects - D


Davidson -

Dawson -

Day,Dea,Dey -

Dennis -

Dennison -

Denny -

Denson -

Denton -

Dewar -

Dick -

Dixon -

Dodd,Dodds -

Doig -

Dollar -

Donald -

Donachie -

Douglas -

Dow -

Downie -

Drew -

Drummond -

Dryden -

Dunbar -

Duncan -

Dundas -

Dunlop,Dunlap -

Dunn -

Durham -

Durie -

Dyer -

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Scottish Korean War Memorial

Last weekend I went for a walk in the Bathgate Hills and discovered this little known war memorial,which due to recent events in South Korea I thought appropriate to share with a wider audience.Erected in memory to those who were killed in the Korean War 1950-53 it is situated in the Bathgate Hills near to Beecraigs Park.Built in traditional Korean style,the small wooden pagoda is surrounded by 110 Korean pine trees (one for every ten Britons who died in the conflict), 1090 Birch trees (one for each of the fallen) and picnic tables along a pathway named United Nations Avenue. This avenue is surrounded by 21 trees, representing the twenty-one nations involved in the UN force in Korea. Inside the pagoda contains lists of those who died in the conflict.  More than 200 Scots were killed.The pagoda,erected in 2000 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the war is soon to be demolished and replaced with a new one.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Martinmas 11 November

Today is not only Armistice,Remembrance and Veterans Day but also the feast of St Martin. Originally cattle were slaughtered and salted for the winter and Border Reiving was at its peak between Michaelmas 29Sept and Martinmas 11 Nov.This was one of the old Scottish quarter days of the year on which certain payments,rent and interest were due and leases began and ended. Contracts of employment also started and terminated on this day and were regular events in the countryside and towns. The Term Days Whitsun and Martinmas together with Candlemas and Lammas constituted the Quarter days. In 1886 term dates for removals and the hiring of servants in towns changed to 28 November. The Old Scottish term days were finally regulated to the 28 Feb,May.Aug and November by the Term and Quarter Days (Scotland) Act 1990. Martinmas is still remembered as the first or autumn term in the universities of St Andrews and Glasgow.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A Scottish Witch For Hallowe'en

Scotland has many sites associated with witchcraft the best known at Edinburgh Castle,scene of many executions and Dornoch,where Janet Horne was the last to be executed by burning in1722 or 1727

This atmospheric photo by Ian Philip of a memorial to Maggie Wall or Walls who allegedly was burnt here in 1657 in the parish of Dunning,Perthshire. However no record has survived about her and the trial, but the memorial is well cared for and the inscription

 Maggie Wall
 burnt here
 1657     as a Witch

is regularly maintained by anonymous visitors. It has been suggested the stone foundations are similar to the wooden fagots used for burning and the Christian cross and shaft an eerie representation of the unfortunate individual.

This short film on Youtube sets the scene to music
mr philip's photostream

Monday, 25 October 2010

Dunino Parish and Halloween

Last weekend I again visited Fife and explored  Dunino Parish which is only 5 by 3 miles in area and home to the remains of an old WW II airfield stationed by Polish airmen.Known as HMS Jackdaw II it was a branch of the larger HMS Jackdaw at Crail.

Both airfields were used for anti submarine patrols and planes from here took part in the attack on the Tirpitz.

Passing Dunino Law, the only hill of any consequence in the parish leads to the parish church and manse. This site has long been associated with worship.The current church stands on a site which originally was surrounded by a stone circle and within the graveyard there is a monolith. This standing stone has indistinct carvings,possibly Pictish and a much later sundial inscribed on the top.However the site of  modern coins left scattered on the stone is totally unexpected and a precursor of other incongruous objects deposited close to a Christian site of worship.

 Continuing through the graveyard a short walk through a blue gate leads to Dunino glen. Here a large rock promontory has a carved baptismal font and  a hollowed out footprint in the rock.These footprints were often the sites of ancient inauguration as found at Dunadd in Argyll.

From the rock a set of stone steps lead down into the glen and Kinaldy burn. Here there are mysterious Celtic carvings of uncertain date possibly depicting the Green Man and a 'Clooty well' were strips of clothing and other votive offerings are tied to the trees. It is an atmospheric place of mixed messages and yet clearly demonstrates the continual link between pagan and christian places of worship in Scotland. Not a place to visit on All Hallows Eve !

Dunino Parish District No:  425 
County. Fife
Old Parish Records.

Births:  1643-1690 

Marriages: 1643- 1689

Deaths:      1750-1854 (burials)

Kirk Session Records:

Minutes 1647–1805; 1848–1948

Collections and Disbursements 1805–1874

Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH2/405

Commissary Court  St Andrews 1596  and Edinburgh 1580

Sheriff Court  Cupar

Scottish DNA Project

The Scottish DNA Project now has an active blog at

The project is administered by the genealogy studies group at Strathclyde University.

An essential aid to all those with Scottish roots researching their genealogy and family history. The more that join the greater the benefit to us all

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ceres Parish and Fife Folk Museum

What a wonderful day spent exploring the Fife parish of Ceres. This small former Burgh of Barony has a recorded history back to 1314 when men from the village were archers for Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn and after the victory over the English they were granted two days holiday to celebrate. This tradition continues to the present day when the Ceres Highland Games are still held Many of the traditional pantiled cottages in the village were weavers homes.Linen and flax growing were an important industry with a corresponding growth in population recorded in the census returns. For anyone with ancestors from Fife a visit to the Fife Folk Museum is a must This wee gem of a museum run by volunteers has a wonderful collection of exhibits covering agricultural and domestic life in the 18th and 19th century. There is a fine display of Scottish weights and measures, agricultural equipment and traditional trades and crafts of masonry,joinery and thatching. For those who fell foul of the law a pair of 'jougs' are still found attached to the entrance to the old tron or weigh house.
The Parish of Ceres,7 miles by 4 miles is rich agricultural farm land and previously was a source of lime and coal. A network of footpaths once used by pilgrims bound for St Andrews cross the parish and a fine view of the surrounding area is gained from Hill of Tarvit. 

Ceres Parish   District No: 415
County.  Fife
Old Parish Records

Baptismal Register 1738–1806, 1808, 1836–37, 1858–1891

Session Minutes 1738–1748

Accounts 1738–1771, 1781–1863
Commissary Court .St Andrews  Earliest testament 1550
                              Edinburgh                               1580

Sheriff Court.    Cupar.

The 1841 census was lost in transit to Edinburgh.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Scottish Clan and Family DNA Projects- B


Following on from an earlier post for surnames starting with A, here is the B  list of Scottish surnames . I have checked the sites for activity and member numbers and they should all be functioning. There is a new Scottish Clan and Family DNA Project run by Strathclyde University.








































Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Melrose Abbey and Parish

Autumn is my favourite season in Scotland and shown as a backdrop to the golden field are the ruins of Melrose Abbey. Founded by King David I in 1136 it was to suffer on numerous occasions at the hands of invading English armies. It is also the reputed burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart. The Chronicle of Melrose Abbey is an important source for late 12th and 13th century Scottish history.

The Parish of Melrose is 7 miles long by 5-7miles broad and besides the town has several small villages. The Scottish Genealogy Society and the Border Family History Society have monumental inscriptions for the abbey and local graveyards. Interestingly the 1831 census for Melrose has survived in the kirk session records CH2/386/19.

Melrose Parish. District No: 799
County. Roxburghshire
OPR records:
Births: 1642-1723

Marriages: 1642-1723 

Deaths: 1669-1702 
            1734-1741, 1781-1854 
            1760, 1763-1781

Commissary Court.    Peebles CC18
Sheriff Court.             Jedburgh SC62

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Norman's Law, Dunbog Parish

The view from Norman's Law,Fife towards the 'Silvery Tay', the Tay Rail Bridge and Dundee. Situated near to Newburgh,it has always been a sparsely populated parish taking it's name from Dunbog Hill the original name for Norman's Law. The Gaelic placename for fort or hill of the bog appropriately describes the remains of an Iron Age fort on the summit surrounded by bog before the 19th century drainage and agricultural improvements. A pleasant walk from Luthrie follows an old road used by the monks of Balmerino Abbey passes many interesting old farm steadings and old do'cots with views towards the Lomond Hills and Largo Law .The parish is only 4 miles long by 1.5 miles at it's widest.

Dunbog District No:423
County Fife

OPR records:

Births: 1695-1698, 1705-1855 

Marriages: 1705-1854

Deaths: 1823-1853 (burials)

Commissariot.  St Andrews and Edinburgh
Earliest Testaments.  1549 and 1596
Sherrif Court. Cupar SC 20

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Genealogy Vacation

Well finally received confirmation I have passed the Post Graduate Diploma in Genealogy from Strathclyde University. It has been an eventful year completing this,the Post Graduate Certificate from Dundee University and the MA(Hons) from Aberdeen University. Only a short period to take it all in,have a celebratory drink,have a few free evenings with my family and then start the MSc at Strathclyde at the end of the month. I think I can see a chink of light at the end of the tunnel !

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Genealogy Research in Wigtownshire

Here is a great site for those researching family history in Wigtownshire, this often neglected county in the south west of Scotland.
There are descriptions of the parishes in the county and databases for BMD  from the Wigtownshire newspapers. Also lists from 1684 taxes,Military records of Chelsea pensioners,monumental inscriptions,Wigtownshire strays and testament index from the Commissariot of Wigtownshire 1700-1800 plus much more. Worth a look.

      Thanks to the Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society Newsletter July 2010.

Scottish DNA Project Launched

Strathclyde University has launched the Scottish DNA Project :

Gathering results in conjunction with Familytree DNA and other companies to compile a database of individuals who have a  Scottish lineage in their own direct paternal or maternal line of descent. The data base will be administered by Ali MacDonald a graduate of the Diploma in Genealogy run by the University of Strathclyde.Regular updates will also be made at their blog :

Monday, 14 June 2010

Shetland Islands Hamefarin 2010

The Shetland Islands are holding an event which only occurs every 25 years. The Hamefarin or Homecoming was first held in 1960 and then 1985 with one planned for 2010.The exception was a special in 2000 for the Millenium. It is expected that about 500 visitors with Shetland roots will travel 'home' during the festival 14-26 June. Genealogy plays a prominent part in the activities. For more information please visit the official site at:

and the Shetland Family History Society

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Scottish Missionaries Exhibition

The National Library of Scotland currently has an exhibition until June 30 about overseas missionaries of the Scottish Presbyterian Churches. Journals,letters and photographs relating to the selection of missionaries from the 19th and 20th centuries. Mary Slessor,Robert Law and Alexander Duff are perhaps the better known amongst many more.These records are taken from the NLS collection of the Church of Scotland World Missions Council Archive. The National Archives of Scotland also house missionary records for other denominations: Free Church of Scotland,Episcopalian and Wesleyen Methodist amongst references CH3,CH9 and GD. There are also comments about Popish missionaries active in Braemar before the 1715 Jacobite rebellion and later rival Roman Catholic missionaries in Africa.

Friday, 11 June 2010

National Library of Scotland Launches iPod/iPhone Application

The National Library of Scotland has launched an application for the iPod touch and iPhone. It allows users to view some of the library's most prized letters,manuscripts and documents,featuring Charles Darwin,Jane Austen,Sir Walter Scott,Lord Byron and David Livingstone.The free of charge app provides access to the library's John Murray Archive,which is home to 150,000 papers of the famous John Murray publishing firm.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Edinburgh Historic Graveyards to be Saved

Five of Edinburgh's historic graveyards which were added to a list of the 100 most endangered monuments in the world are now getting help. Heritage watchdogs and city council officials have formed an Historic Graveyard Trust to improve security,provide visitor trails and interpretation boards. The burial grounds within the city's World Heritage Site are said to be at risk of crumbling into disrepair. The Greyfriars,Canongate,Old and New Calton and St Cuthbert's graveyards are the final resting places of a number of world famous figures including economist Adam Smith,philospher David Hume, and poet Robert Fergusson. Fortunately many have already been transcribed by Scottish genealogists and family historians but their architectural and artistic value are equally worth preservation. 

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Improving Your Genealogy Search Parameters

I came across these two web sites which I think are useful if researching databases and surnames. The first 'Google for Genealogy' by Mark Howells is an overview of using the Google toolbar.

The second is a short tutorial  explaining Boolean operators in your search AND,OR,NOT.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Scottish Clan and Family DNA Projects

There are plans in the near future to co-ordinate the numerous DNA projects which have a relevance to Scottish surnames. By sharing results and identifying common origins a better picture will emerge of our historical and prehistorical origins. I have compiled an index of current Scottish clan and surname DNA projects and hope they may be of some help to researchers. Grateful for information on any new additions.



Saturday, 5 June 2010

Poppies from the Heart of Strathspey

A new publication by Peter Anderson,the book explores the effect that World War 1 had on Strathspey,Morayshire and the memories they left behind. Working from the local war memorials,Peter has recorded the military details,date,place of death,photographs of their homes and graves,newspaper clippings etc to complete a very useful publication for those with family history links to Grantown-on-Spey and the surrounding Strathspey villages.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Family Search - IGI

The IGI is going to be totally re-launched in a new format either later in 2010 or in 2011, with the extracted entries separated from the member submitted entries. This is going to be a major genealogy news event, so watch out for that.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Scottish Highlander Photo Archive

A new resource recently launched is the Scottish Highlander Photo Archive.The SHPA offers a unique and free image database for genealogists looking to trace their Highland origins and searching for a possible vintage photograph of their ancestors.
Once complete the SHPA's archive will consist of almost 20,000 portrait images of people from the towns and villages of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Family researchers will be able to buy images or prints.The SHPA will be uploading 400 new images every month.