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Weekly Mailing List Archives
27th October 2006

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at

Electric Scotland
Micro Button Adertisers - Celtic Journeys
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
A Group of Scottish Women
Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dunedin and South Otago (new book)
Scots Minstrelsie
Scots Humour and Heroism
Donna Flood
Family Tree DNA
UHI Millennium Institute
Inauguration of the Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill
History of the Camerons
Bits of Electric Scotland - Friends of Grampian Stones

I was back in Toronto this week for a dinner given by the UHI Millennium Institute of the Highlands & Islands in Scotland for the board of the Scottish Studies Foundation. I've added a wee bit about them which you can read below.

I've also just started a new book about some of the early settlers of New Zealand and again you can read more about this below.

Next week I'll be sending this newsletter from Kentucky as I'm due to head down there for a couple of weeks to work with Steve on various things for the site. I also plan to head over to South Carolina to see Beth Gay and would like to head back to Canada through North Carolina so see if I can find anything interesting about all those Scots that settled there. Should any of you have any suggestions on where I might go do feel free to send me an email.

I might add that if anyone would like to put me up for a couple of nights in North Carolina where you also have broadband Internet access and could take a day off to take me around Scottish sites I'd be very happy to hear from you :-)

I'm not sure how much content I'll get up while I'm away but will do my best to keep getting something up each day.

Got up some new pictures on the index page on the town of Newstonmore where the Highland Folk Museum is and also the Clan MacPherson museum.

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and others.

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This weeks edition is by Allison Hunter and she is talking about the nuclear situation in Scotland, the recent polls and how the SNP are setting up for new relationships with Britain, Europe and the world.

Peter reminds us that Halloween is almost here and while he talks about Turnip lanterns I note that in Canada and the USA they do seem to use Pumpkins. Not sure what they use in Australia and New Zealand or other parts of the world. Here is what he has to say...

The festival of Halloween was commemorated by our National Bard, Robert Burns, in a splendid poem by that name. From his poem it is obvious that 18th century Scotland celebrated Halloween in fine fettle -

'Wi' merry sangs and frien'ly cracks
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery
Till buttered so'ens, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a steerin';
Syne wi' a social glass o' strunt
They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that nicht.'

A must for any Halloween ploy is a turnip lantern, made from a large round turnip. From the top, cut off a thick slice - about a quarter of the whole - and scoop out the inside, taking care not to break the skin. The resulting "shell" should be as thin as possible, but a stump must be left at the bottom and hollowed out to serve as a socket for a candle. Carve on the "shell" a man-in the - moon face, or any devise that you wish eg skull and crossbones, and make two holes at the top to enable you to make a handle. The lantern when lit gives a soft luminous glow, and the carved face or design stands out clearly. A popular game at any Halloween Party is "Doukin fir Aipples" - a modern reminder of a by-gone ordeal by water - a large tub of water is filled with apples and the master of ceremonies uses a spurtle ( representing a Druidic wand ) to keep the apples in constant motion. Each of the company kneels by the tub, in turn, and tries to seize an apple in their teeth without the aid of their hands. An alternative method of "catching" your apple is to have a chair placed with its back against the tub and to kneel on the chair and attempt to spear your apple. Any apple taken by mouth or fork is yours to eat! If you fail to catch your apple, never fear, for traditionally there is always an apple delight. eg pie or tart, for the company to enjoy. This week’s recipe – Apple Cake – will not only be a Halloween treat but a favourite all year round.

Apple Cake

Ingredients: 4 oz (115 g) caster sugar; 4 oz (115 g) butter; 6 oz (175 g) self raising flour; pinch of salt; ½ tsp mixed spice; 2 eggs; 3 tbsp stewed apple

Method: Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and flour etc and lastly the apple. If raw apple is used a little water may be needed to make a dropping consistency. Put mixture into a lightly greased tin and bake in a moderate oven at Gas Mark 4, 180deg C, 350 deg F for 40 minutes. The mixture may also be put into bun tins or paper case and baked for about 15 minutes.

You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots language at

Still haven't heard from MSP Linda Fabiani since she fell ill after her trip to Malawi.

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

We are now on the C's with Crichton, Cromarty, Crombie, Crossby, Cruden, Cruikshank, Culen and Cullen added this week.

Mostly shorter entries this week but a good account of Crichton and thought you might enjoy the bio of the "Admirable Crichton"

CRICHTON, JAMES, styled “The Admirable,” from his extraordinary endowments both mental and physical, was the son of Robert Crichton of Eliock, lord advocate of Scotland in the reigns of Queen Mary and James the Sixth, and was born in 1557, or, according to some accounts, in 1560. His mother was Elizabeth Stuart, only daughter of Sir James Stuart of Beith, a family collaterally descended from Murdoch, duke of Albany, third son of Robert the Third, by Elizabeth Mure, and uncle of James the First. Eliock-house, on Eliock-burn, in the vale of the Nith, Dumfries-shire, is said to have been the birthplace of the Admirable Crichton, and the apartment in which he was born is carefully preserved in its original state. Soon after his birth, his father sold Eliock to the Dalzells, afterwards earls of Carnwath, and removed to an estate which he had acquired in the parish of Clunie in Perthshire, a circumstance which h as occasioned the castle of Clunie to be mistaken as the place of his nativity. He received the rudiments of his education at Perth school, and completed his studies at the university of St. Andrews, where he took his degree of M.A. at the age of fourteen. Before he was twenty, he had mastered the whole circle of the sciences,, and could speak and write ten different languages besides his own. He also excelled in riding, dancing, fencing, painting, singing, and playing on all sorts of instruments.

On leaving college he went abroad to improve himself by travel. On his arrival at Paris, in compliance with a custom of the age, he affixed placards on the gates of the university, challenging the professors and learned men of the city to dispute with him in all the branches of literature, art, and science, and offering to give answers in any of the following languages, viz. Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, English, Dutch, Flemish, and Slavonic, and either in prose or verse, at the option of his antagonist. On the day appointed three thousand auditors assembled. Fifty masters proposed to him the most intricate questions, and with singular accuracy he replied to them all in the language they required. Four celebrated doctors of the church then ventured to dispute with him; but he refuted every argument they advanced. A sentiment of terror mingled itself with the admiration of the assembly. In the superstitious feeling of those days they conceived him to be Antichrist! This famous exhibition lasted from nine o’clock in the morning till six at night. At the conclusion, the president expressed, in the most flattering terms, their high sense of his talents and erudition, and amid the acclamations of all present, bestowed on him a diamond ring with a purse of gold. It was on this occasion that he was first saluted with the proud title of “The Admirable Crichton!” During the interval between giving the challenge, and the day appointed for accepting it, we are told, that so far from preparing himself by study, he had devoted his time almost entirely to amusements. The day after the disputation, he attended a public tilting match in the Louvre, and in presence of the princess of France and a great many ladies, bore away the ring fifteen times, and “broke as many landes on the Saracen.”

Crichton afterwards appeared at Rome, and disputed in presence of the Pope, when he again astonished and delighted the audience by the universality of his attainments. He next went to Venice, where, becoming acquainted with Aldus Manutius, the younger, he inscribed to hi one of the four little Latin poems, which are all that remain to prove the poetical powers of this “prodigy of nature,” as he was styled by Imperialis. Having been presented to the doge and senate, he made an oration before them of surpassing eloquence. Here also he disputed on the most difficult subjects before the most eminent literari of that city.

He arrived in Padua in the month of March 1581. The professors of that university assembled to do him honour, and on being introduced to them, he made an extemporary poem in praise of the city, the university, and the persons present, after which he sustained a disputation with them for six hours, and at the conclusion delivered an unpremeditated speech in praise of Ignorance, to the astonishment of all who heard him. He subsequently offered to point out before the same university the innumerable errors in the philosophy of Aristotle, and to expose the ignorance of his commentators, as well as to refute the opinions of certain celebrated mathematicians, and that in the common logical method, or by numbers or mathematical figures, and by a hundred different kinds of verses; and we are assured that he performed that stupendous task to the admiration of every one. After defeating in disputation a famous philosopher named Archangelus Mercenarius, he proceeded to Mantua, where he challenged in fight a gladiator, or prize-fighter, who had foiled the most expert fencers in Europe, and had already slain three persons who had entered the lists with him in that city. On this occasion the duke and the whole court were spectators of the combat. Crichton encountered his antagonist with so much dexterity and vigour that he ran him through the body in three different places, of which wounds he immediately expired. The victor generously bestowed the prize, fifteen hundred pistoles, on the widows of the men who had been killed by the gladiator.

The duke of Mantua, struck with his talents and acquirements, appointed him tutor to his son, Vincentio di Gonzaga, a prince of turbulent disposition and licentious manners. For the entertainment of his patron he composed a comedy, described as a sort of ingenious satire on the follies and weaknesses of mankind, in which he himself personated fifteen characters. But his career was drawing to a close. One night during the festivity of the Carnival in July 1582, or 1583, while he rambled about the streets playing upon the guitar, he was attacked by six persons in masks. With consummate skill he dispersed his assailants, and disarmed their leader, who, pulling off his mask, begged his life, exclaiming, “I am the prince, your pupil!” Crichton immediately fell upon his knees and presenting his sword to the prince, expressed his sorrow for having lifted it against him, saying that he had been prompted by self-defence. The dastardly Gonzaga, inflamed with passion at his discomfiture, or mad with wine, immediately plunged the weapon into his heart. Thus prematurely was cut off “the Admirable Crichton.” Some accounts declare that he was killed in the thirty-second year of his age; but Imperialis asserts that he was only in his twenty-second year at the time of his death, and this fact is confirmed by Lord Buchan. His tragical end excited a great and general lamentation. According to Sir Thomas Urquhart, the whole court of Mantua went for nine months into mourning for him; innumerable were the epitaphs and elegies that were stuck upon his hearse; and portraits of him, in which he was represented on horseback with a sword in one hand, and a book in the other, were multiplied in every quarter. Such are the romantic details which are given of the life of this literary phenomenon. Dr. Kippis, in the Biographia Britannica, was the first to call in question the truth of the marvellous stories related of him. But Mr. Patrick Fraser Tytler, in his Life of Crichton, published in 1823, has adduced the most satisfactory evidence to establish the authenticity of the testimonies and authorities on which the statements regarding Crichton rest.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

Added the August 1903 issue which contains...

Duncan MacDonald, Merthyr-Tydfil, Dreams, The Martial Music of the Clans, In the Shadow of Ben Duirnish, The Cry Over the Waters, Clan Donnachaidh Society, The Fairy Man, Highland Scenery and Climate in Relation to National Music and Poetry, In a Rosh-Shire Garden, A Gaelic Oath, The Early Celtic Church, A MacGregor Lament, Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch, Concerning Aunt Betsy and Some Others, The Clan Donnachaidh.

You can read this issue at

You can see the issues to date at

Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce, Esq
A Military Officer, in the services of Prussia, Russia and Great Britain (1783)

Added Book 8 this week which contains...

Army embark at Astrachan, 18th of July. - Variety of wild fowl on the little islands. - Terki, the capital city of Circassia. - Herring in the Caspian. - Voyage to Bustrow. - General Waterang's account from the province of Andreof. - Circassia, and its inhabitants, their manners, religion, &c. - Continuation of the voyage, and view of mount Caucasus, &c. - The army land at Agrechan. - March into Asia. - Kindness of the Dagastan Tartars. - The army pass the river Sulack. - General Wateraang joins the army. - Embarrassed on their march, a severe punishment of the officers of the guards. - Arrive at Tarku, with a description of the Dagestan Tartars. - Interview with the ladies. - The Dagastan ladies wait on the empress. - Erect a monument at Tarku, and march for Derbent through a fine country. - Sultan Udenack's cruelty, and its consequences. - Twenty desperate Tartars. - A beautiful Tartar youth slain. - Undaunted resolution of the priest. - Arrive at Derbent. - Description of the city. - Remarkable Tombs. - Alexander and Malkehatura. - Jackalls and sand hares. - Suchary bread. - Two express and one ambassador arrive at the army. - A Turkish ambassador obliges the emperor to return. - Occasion of the troubles in Persia. - The army return. - Cold nights. - Dangerous and harrassing march. - The new town of Swetago-Kerst. - Fort at the river Nitzi destroyed, and revenged. - The army re-imbark at Agrecham. - The provisions for the captain's galley lost; a starving voyage. - Arrive at Astrachan the 15th of October.

You can read this book 8 at

You can read this publication at

History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Got up two more chapters from this book. The previous chapters can be read at

Now up to Chapter 48 and here is how this chapter starts...

AT Michaelmas, 1783, a gentleman was elevated to the provostship, who, for more than a generation afterwards, took a leading part in public affairs - Mr. David Staig. If, during much of that time, any one deserved to be termed the king of the town, it was he. It is related of a member of Council, who, being rather deaf, could not well hear the discussions, that he habitually asked, before a vote came to be taken, "What does Provost Staig say? I say the same as Provost Staig." And to many councillors besides this openly subservient one, Mr. Staig's word was law. He had a fair share of natural abilities; was shrewd, inventive, enterprising, politic, fond of power, not insensible to flattery; was, withal, warm-hearted and virtuous - using his influence, so far as his judgment went, for the advancement of the public weal. For upwards of forty years he represented the Bank of Scotland in the Burgh - and was thus a monetary potentate, with a host of most obedient subjects; and but for the electoral law, that prohibited one man from being chief magistrate longer than one year, or two at most together, under a penalty of a thousand pounds Scots, he might have reigned as provost for life.

The first important undertaking with which his name is closely associated, was a measure to provide for the paving, cleansing, lighting, and watching of the Burgh, for which there had long been a felt necessity. It received from Mr. Staig a hearty advocacy; and when the Council agreed to apply to Parliament in the matter, he and Mr. Aitken, town clerk, were sent to London for that purpose; and also to obtain, if possible, another renewal of the duty on ale and tonnage, which was about to expire, and which had become more than ever a necessary item of the revenue. Thanks to the energy of the deputation, and the valuable assistance rendered by William, Duke of Queensberry, Sir James Johnston of Westerhall, member for the Burghs, and Lord Kinnaird, an Act of Parliament for the joint objects aimed at was obtained-the police portions of it taking effect from 1788. [The Act was a very costly affair. Exclusive of personal charges, the expense was £421 12s.; contrasting seriously with the outlay for the Ale Act, in 1737, which was only £157, and for its renewal, £270, in 1762. Besides, Mr. Aitken was paid £26 5s. for drawing the bill, and for loss of time in going to London; which, with the expenses incurred when staying there seven weeks, and for travelling, increased the entire charge against the town to £550 - one third of which was charged on the police rate to be henceforth levied, one third on the ale duty, and the remaining third on the tonnage.]

In the rank and file of the merchant councillors; there was a man of a far higher stamp than the civic chief. His name first appears associated with town matters in the following minute:- "29th September, 1789. - The said day, Patrick Miller, Esq., of Dalswinton, one of the four new merchant ,councillors, before being sworn in, was admitted a burgess in the usual manner, and accepted and gave his oath of burgessship in the ordinary way, and promised to keep a sufficient gun and sword for the defence of the town when called for; and the Council, for good services done and to be done by the said Patrick Miller, remit the burgess composition payable by him." Well might the members of Council pay this compliment to their illustrious colleague, "for good services done." He had already, by improving his estate of Dalswinton, a few miles from Dumfries, set a noble example to the agriculturists of the district; and had, just a few months before, launched on a lake formed by him out of a noxious swamp, the first paddlepropelled vessel ever made-the product of his mechanical genius, and the pioneer of those magnificent steamers that have revolutionized the commerce of the world. [Attempts have been made in our own day to rob Mr. Miller of his claim to be considered the originator of steam navigation; but that he not only invented the paddle-wheel, but was the first to propose the application of steam to it as a motive, power, has, we think, been proved satisfactorily. As early as February, 1787, Mr. Miller published a pamphlet, in which, after describing his proposed mode of propelling ships, he said: "I have reason to believe that the power of the steam-engine may be applied to work wheels so as to give them a quicker motion, and consequently to increase that of the ship. In the course of this summer I intend to make the experiment; and the result, if favourable, shall be communicated to the public." During that year Mr. James Taylor, for whom the credit has been claimed of suggesting the application of steam to the wheels instead of manual power, was engaged as tutor at Dalswinton; and when Mr. Miller's invention was put to a practical test, in October, 1788, Mr. Taylor furnished the subjoined notice of the great event to the Dumfries Journal:-" The following is the result of an experiment no less curious than new. On the 14th instant, a boat was put in motion by a steamengine upon Mr. Miller's (of Dalswinton) piece of water at that place. For some time past, his attention has been turned to the application of the steamengine to the purposes of navigation. He has now accomplished and evidently shown to the world the practicability of this, by executing it on a small scale: a vessel twenty-five feet long and seven broad, was on the above (late driven with two wheels by a small engine. It answered Mr. Miller's expectations fully, and afforded great pleasure to the spectators present. The engine used is Mr. Symington's new patent engine." In this and other instances, Mr. Taylor gave Mr. Miller the undivided honour of the invention; and it seems sufficiently clear that Mr. Symington's connection with it was simply that of a practical mechanic.]

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The whole book can be read at

A Group of Scottish Women
by Harry Graham (1908).

We now have more chapters up and here is a bit from Miss "Nicky" Murray (d. 1777)...

Scotland has always been justly famed for the hospitality of its inhabitants. During the eighteenth century in particular Edinburgh was the scene of a succession of social functions of the most convivial and at the same time unostentatious kind. Hosts were not ashamed of providing the simplest fare; guests were amply satisfied with it. Barley broth, salt beef, with a boiled fowl and “greens,” were standing dishes at dinner in every gentleman’s house, and nobody would have dreamt of demanding anything more delicate. The beverage offered to ordinary visitors consisted of home-brewed ale and a glass of brandy, or, on any very special occasion, claret and brandy-punch. Food was cheap and plentiful. Beef only cost two pence per pound, and it was possible to purchase a whole lamb’s carcase for a shilling or eighteenpence. [My Own Life and Times, 1741-1814, by Thomas Somerville, pp.334-5.] Simple manners prevailed, and even in private houses there was occasionally a dearth of crockery when an unusual number of guests had to be entertained. Dr. Somerville in his Memoirs describes how it was often necessary for a large company to make use of a single glass, and repeats the lament of one Armstrong of Sorbie (Sorbet would have been more appropriate), a noted toper, who, deploring in his latter days the degeneracy of the times, declared that “it was a better world when there were more bottles and fewer glasses.” [My Own Life and Times, p.356.]

Scotland certainly clung to primitive customs up to comparatively recent times. The disgusting habit of throwing the household filth out of window at 10 P.M. every night when the city drum was beaten – a practice which sometimes made it necessary for residents to fumigate their bedrooms by burning brown paper – prevailed in provincial towns not more than a hundred years ago. But a country in which until 1750 there were only two turnpike roads, and where the mail took five days to reach Edinburgh from London, might well be considered backward in many things beside urban sanitation.

In some ways, however, this primitive condition of affairs was not without its compensating advantages. The extreme and almost ascetic simplicity which marked the fashionable entertainments of the Scottish capital brought them well within the range of all. The most impoverished younger sons could afford to give select parties in those “Oyster Cellars,” which were long the popular resort of Edinburgh society during the winter months. The principal oyster-parties took place in a tavern in the Cowgate belonging to an old woman of the name of Luckie Middlemass. Here the young bloods of the day, accompanied by a bevy of fair friends, would spend the evening pleasantly enough, surrounded by plates of oysters and flagons of rum or brandy punch. Towards nightfall the tables were moved to one side, and the guests, exhilarated by their repast, would bring the evening’s entertainment to a close with an impromptu dance. The bill for a party of this kind usually amounted to about two shillings a head, a modest sum, the very thought of which must fill with envy the bosom of a modern host.

An English visitor to Edinburgh in the year 1774 pays a generous tribute to the Scottish talent for hospitality as well as to the national gift of obtaining the maximum of amusement with the minimum outlay of cash. This he attributes to the fact that the Scottish character closely resembles that of the French. “That air of mirth and vivacity,” he says, “that quick and penetrating look, that spirit of gaiety which distinguishes the French, is equally visible in the Scotch. It is the character of the nation, and it is a very happy one, as it makes them disregard even poverty.” [Letters from Edinburgh written in the years 1774-5, by Captain Topham, p.64] Nowhere is this facility for enjoyment seen to better advantage then in the accounts of the somewhat ingenuous amusements of Edinburgh society.

And you can read the rest of this entry at

The other chapters can be read at

Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dunedin and South Otago
Compiler and Editor John Wilson (1912)

Now making a start at this book and hope our friends in New Zealand will be saying "At Last!" something to do with New Zealand :-)

Here is what the book Introduction has to say...

WHAT event in the history of a nation is more worthy of notice, nay, of veneration and pride, than the story of that nation's birth and of the early struggles of the lion-hearted pilgrim fathers - men and women alike - who did so much towards placing its affairs on a successful footing?

Their remarkable foresight, their self-denial, their unwearing labours, and their many heart-breaking difficulties, successfully overcome, demand some hearty recognition at the hands of those who have reaped, and are still reaping, the benefits. It is to their forefathers and their deeds that all canons and peoples point with pride, and what more fitting than that the young Outagans should do the same? Can there in history be found a nobler story of the beginning, and ultimate success of a people, than the story of Otago and its founders? In the opinion of the compiler of this account there cannot, and future generations may point with pride to the early pioneers of Otago, who. to their everlasting honour be it said, were men and women of the right stamp, worthy representatives of those who have always led the van of Britain's march of empire round the world.

It is with the object of placing on record a short account - history it cannot be called - of the settlement of the Province, dealing more especially with the Clutha District and its pioneer settlers, that this sketch is published.

In dealing with the subject, it is absolutely necessary to exclude a great deal of interesting matter, which would be included if a history of the Province were being treated upon. Lest much disappointment should arise by this omission, short chapters, explanatory of the initial steps taken by the original founders of the Province and of their development, will be added, as well as an outline of the settlement of Dunedin, and of the country between Dunedin and the Clutha.

The compiler desires to record his hearty thanks for assistance and information received from early settlers and their descendants. from the newspaper Press, and from authors of accounts already published. Many publications have been put under contribution, and their information has been largely used.

You can read this book at

Right now I have the first chapter up and please note that each chapter is a .pdf file as the book proved impossible to ocr.

Scots Minstrelsie
Have now made a start at getting up some songs from the 5th volume of this publication where all songs have the sheet music to go with them. This week I got up...

We're A Noddin'
On Ettrick Banks
O Waly Waly
Meet Me On the Gowan Lea
We'll Meet Beside The Dusky Glen
Kate Dalrymple
A Rose-Bud By My Early Walk
The Garb Of Old Gaul
Good Night, And Joy Be Wi' Ye A'
The Scottish Emigrant's Fareweel

You can see these at

You can see the whole publication at

Scots Humour and Heroism
by Cuey-Na-Gael (1902).

Now up to Chapter 14 of this book and here is a bit from Chapter 10...

The Highlander's personal dignity is invulnerable. It is maintained in all circumstances - even when his temper is ruffled, and no matter what funny mistakes he may make in his translated English.

Long association with the Saxon does not always bring with it accuracy of idiom. All depends on early training.

The police force in Glasgow is largely recruited from the Highlands and many stories are told about their marvellous attempts at every day speech.

We read for instance of a proclamation having been made to the following effect - "By command of Her Majesty King Edward and Her Grace the Duke of Argyle."

A stalwart guardian of the peace going his rounds one day was met by an acquaintance from the same village. Well, Murdoch," he inquired, "How long have you been in the police force?"

"Och," he replied, "she will be chust two years a police man, and a half." He translated the Gaelic literally; and the order is queer.

"How do you get to that village from here?" was asked of a peasant in Invernesshire. The answer was puzzling. "You chust will be walking to ta right; and you will be walking to ta left; and you chust will be walking on whateffer. Then a riffer will rise and meet you."

Gaelic is very poetic, and pictorial; and sometimes has figures of speech that don't run well into any other Western tongue.

One idiom which Highlanders of the uneducated class have picked up is the use of the word "intill" instead of "into". This may prove, at times, disconcerting to strangers. Prince Albert, the late Prince Consort, was very much interested in all that concerned the Highland steamers. The soup was one day particularly good, and he was anxious to know what the ingredients were. He called the cook; and, after praising the food on board, began to make inquiry about the soup. "What is it made of?" he said.

"There is mutton intill it," replied the, cook "and beef intill it, and potatoes intill it."

"Yes," said the Prince, "thank you. Yes I understand. But I don 't exactly know what is intill't."

The mountaineer's irritability got the better of him. "Didn't she tell her there was mutton and beef and potatoes intill it? And can't she hear her?"

"She" was his manner of saying, "Your Royal Highness."

But whatever odd expression the peasant hillman uses, you had better not even smile at it. For Highland blood is quick; and the very drovers of cattle move with the air of princes. They step out with self-possessed mien, and are as dignified as dukes. Indeed, you may meet with a drover that boasts a long descent reaching back four hundred or five hundred years.

Chivalrous to a fault and the very soul of honour, they are quick to resent even the semblance of an affront. "Do you always go barefoot?" said a tourist to a woman he met trudging home near the Trossachs.

"Whiles we do," murmured the old crone, offended at the liberty. And whiles we mind oor ain business."

Yet it was a Trossachs-girl that impressed Wordsworth with her old world courtesy and soft musical speech. The poet had accosted her graciously and got a modest gracious reply.

To this sense of personal dignity a great measure of sensitiveness must be added; and not a little pride. A Highland boatman was much incensed by a sharp-voiced lady from the South, who kept giving orders about her boxes. She was one of that numerous category of restless travellers who never can be at ease about their luggage.

She had had her belongings shifted some eight or nine times. At last the Highlander flared up, and told her "to go to Jericho". Shocked and insulted the lady went at once to the captain, and complained bitterly, The captain duly remonstrated with the erring boatman. "Duncan," he said, "you were very uncivil to this lady. You must really beg her pardon - before we get to Glasgow."

Duncan waited a while; then, towards the end of the journey, he casually approached the offended dame: "Wass you ta old woman I wass telling to go Jericho?"

"Yes," said the lady sharply.

"Well," continued Duncan sullenly. "The captain says you need not go now."

That was his apology. Despite its ungraciousness, the answer has something that is characteristic in it, for no Highlander likes to be forced to make excuses in any circumstances.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Donna Flood
Donna sent in a special article about the death of her brother and some pictures from the military funeral. You can see this at

Family Tree DNA
I emailed some questions to Leah Wark and I've posted up some of her answers at

As DNA is getting to be an interesting subject for many here are her responses to read here...

Given that lots of people these days are getting interested in Genealogy do you think it would be a good idea for parents to get their DNA analysed so it can be recorded for future generations and if so/not why?

This can be a great gift to future generations. So often there is a dead-end in the paper trail and DNA tests can only help overcome brick walls if there are available test takers from a line. I asked my father to test because he has no brothers and no sons and I want to preserve the genealogical information in his Y-chromosome. Plus, he and I have had a great time comparing against others and discussing our family history!

There seems to be various DNA standards such as 12, 25, 37 and 67 markers. What is the difference and which one would you advise people to take and why?

The number of markers you test depends on what you are trying to learn. If you are interested in the deep ancestral origin of your line (Native American, Middle Eastern, European, African, etc.), for example, you might only want to test 12 markers. But if you also want to compare against others in the database and learn whether you have any close matches, you will probably want to test 25 or 37 markers.

Most people don't need 67 markers at this time. This test is one that larger groups might find useful when trying to differentiate between different related lines. In other words, it is generally most useful when trying to find differences to distinguish between people with very close results.

Were you to take a 12 or 25 marker test can that also be used at a later date to upgrade to a 37 or 67 marker test or would you need to send in another kit?

Yes, the sample can be used at a later date! We store the sample for 25 years so that you can upgrade or add on additional tests without needing to submit a new sample. We will simply run the additional testing on the sample we already have. This can be especially useful if an older relative is no longer available to test.

As Electric Scotland is the No.1 web site when it comes to the history of Scotland and the Scots & Scots-Irish we get many emails asking if we can help identify their name with a Scottish clan. Can DNA help in this process?

Many clan members and individuals with clan names have tested with Family Tree DNA. In fact, we have the largest database of its kind in the world with over 3,600 "one-name projects". Several of our projects focus on one or more clan names. We can compare your Y-DNA signature against the database and let you know what surnames you are matching.

Given that the spelling of a name is often different from the origional can DNA help to find out the origin of the person?

This is one excellent reason to join a surname project. As I mentioned, these projects most often include related variants of a name. Although your DNA by itself won't tell you about the spelling of your name or how it was changed, you might find something out by sharing information with your matches. Surname projects provide a way for males sharing similar names to compare against one another and share genealogical information by working together.

A recent article from Iceland claimed that through DNA studies 60% of the women in Iceland came from Scotland. Can your DNA results confirm if you have a Scottish or Celtic background and if so how do you identify that?

From our own testing experience, we know that the exact same results are often found in multiple countries due to migrations over time, which makes determining a country of origin solely from DNA testing very difficult at best. However, if your DNA results match another person with a similar surname or match at a large number of markers, and that other person knows his country of origin, this would essentially identify your country of origin. Additionally, haplogroups (automatically predicted in all Y-DNA tests) help identify mutations that are characteristic of population groups and their migration patterns. This can give hints whether a person living in Scotland today, for example, could be descended from Vikings that invaded the area several centuries ago.

We are told that many Native American Indians have Scottish blood due to the inter-marriage of especially Scottish Highlanders into the Indian Tribe. We know for example that John Ross, chief of the Cherokees for some 36 years, was 90% Scottish and 10% Cherokee. Are there any parts of the DNA that can show if you also have Native American links?

Yes, we can show if your line is Native American in origin. It is important to remember though that our tests are looking at your direct line only. This is what allows us to make comparisons between participants. The tests will only show the single origin of the direct line tested. To confirm Native American ancestry you should determine who the original Native American ancestor is in your family tree and then trace down his or her direct line to someone today who can test.

I'm told you have a special study for Niall of the Nine Hostages in Ireland. Can you tell me something about this study?

Actually, Trinity College performed this study. They found that a significant percentage of men in Ireland (and quite a few in Scotland) share the same Y-DNA signature. The results suggest that Niall may be the ancestor of 1 in 12 Irishmen.

This signature is found in 1.03% of the Family Tree DNA database. You will be automatically compared against this signature when you take a Y-DNA test.

To learn more about this study visit

Many Scottish names start with Mac or Mc or M' and I wondered if you had means of searching for any name starting with all three versions or would you need to search for each name?

Our projects typically include several variants of a name or names. For example, you can search by Donald, McDonald, MacDonald, MacDonell, etc. and find the Donald Clan project. After you test your DNA, the system will search for matches regardless of surname or the spelling of the surname.

Are you doing any special studies on Scottish Clan Names and/or Scottish/Scots-Irish surames?

We have over 3,600 surname projects. We have many projects focusing on specific surnames, clans, and even regions in this area. You can browse and search a complete list of surname and geographic projects available here:

How big is Family Tree DNA in relationship to other similar companies and are you truly International?

We are the pioneer and leading company in the field of genetic genealogy. The size of the database does matter and ours is more than five times the size of our competitors' with over 115,000 DNA records and growing at a rate of 4-5,000 a month. Yes, we are truly an international company. Our scientists are the foremost in their fields, our database includes samples from all over the world, we provide the testing for the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project's public participation which has sold over 160,000 test kits worldwide, and we are also planning to begin offering our test kits and our website in multiple languages. It is important to note that our partnership with National Geographic also allows for people that have tested with the Genographic Project to transfer their records into our database - which not only adds to the size of our database, but also the diversity.

Is there anything else that you feel we should know when it comes to Scots and Scots-Irish names in relationship to DNA studies through Family Tree DNA?

I think that the most important point when it comes to Scots and Scots-Irish names in relationship to DNA studies through Family Tree DNA is to remember that having the largest number of clan projects and members gives you the best chance of finding matches - that's the strength of Family Tree DNA in addition, of course, to our science.

I believe we've covered the major points, but please don't hesitate to contact us at with any questions. Remember, DNA is the "gene" in genealogy!

You can order up any of there tests at

And yes I do earn a wee bit of commission from any orders you place :-)

UHI Millennium Institute
This institute hope to be granted full University status during 2007 and here is a bit about them...

University-level study and research in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

UHI Millennium Institute (UHI) is a distinctive and innovative higher education institution offering vocational courses (such as higher national certificates and diplomas), undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and research opportunities throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. This is achieved through a partnership of colleges and research institutions along with an associated network of outreach learning centres.

For students living in the region, UHI provides local access to learning and research relevant to their needs and to those of local employers. For students from beyond the region, UHI offers:

- Choice of campus locations in urban, rural and island communities.
- Distinctive courses and subject areas reflecting the characteristics of the region and with relevance worldwide.
- Extensive use of information technology, including on-line materials and video-conferencing.
- Small class sizes with a focus on the needs of the individual learner.
- Welcoming communities, rich in culture and located in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
- Growing range of programmes available by on-line distance learning.

The Isle of Skye - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig - Scotland's Gaelic College - has gained a world-wide reputation for the range of short courses it provides over the summer months.

The College specialises in courses that focus on Gaelic language and culture including traditional music.

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is located on the Sleat peninsula in the south west of the beautiful and dramatic Hebridean island of Skye. The college possesses purpose-built accommodation and wonderful views across the Sound of Sleat to the mountains of Knoydart and Loch Hourn.

For more information on the college and all its courses, please check out its website or download our leaflet here, or e-mail the Short Course administrator, on, or call on: +44 (0) 1471 888 240.

You can visit their web site at

Inauguration of the Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill
I got in an account of this inauguration which I thought you'd be interested in as these kind of events are quite rare. The article also received some rare praise from Bruce MacIntyre if Six Millenium of the Gael fame and her is what he said...

I read your most excellent article and summary of events from the Inauguration of Mac Mhic Raonuill at Ft. William, 13 September 2006, on your ElectricScotland website and would like to congratulate you on your fine literary style, which sadly, is generally lacking today and has almost come to be a lost art in much of the Media as they prefer to push "perspective" and "spin" over truthful reporting.

My personal observation is that your article fairly and soundly encompassed the facts regarding the Chiefship of Clanranald of Lochaber and MacDonald of Keppoch, along with the History making events of 13 September, 2006, while downplaying the more theatrical aspects of the Rory Bear Broadcast and the sorry articles that passed for truth in print, i.e., "news" in such normally highly regarded Newspapers as the Scotsman.

I might clarify of course that the article was not written by myself but the Chief himself and here is how the account starts...

On the 13 September 2006 in the heart of the Highlands of Scotland, an ancient historic ceremony was re-enacted, when Ranald Alasdair MacDonald of Keppoch was publicly recognised as the Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill.

What was important about this event, was the fact that there was no officially recognised chief of the clan since the demise of the last chief in 1848, although Raonuill's great great-grandfather Raonuill Mor MacDonell was accepted as Chief by his clan in the duthchas, of Lochaber, that is, the clan territory, at that time. However, Raonuill Mor simply accepted his hereditary title, and did not consider it necessary to rematriculate his Arms, or indeed his Letters Patent in Lyon Court.

Raonuill set out to complete the protocol. However, to enable him to do that he had to prove beyond any doubt that he was heir to his great great-grandfather Raonuill Mor MacDonell 22nd Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill. That involved deep research into primary sources, held by his family and in the State Records in Register House in Edinburgh. He was also given assistance through the archivist in Fort Augustus Abbey, where an earlier Abbot had undertaken personal scholastic research into both the Glengarry line and the Keppoch line of Chiefs. Aeneas MacDonald, the Abbot concerned, was a Glengarry clansman but was also connected through the bloodline of the Keppoch MacDonald clan. He had therefore a dual-interest. His complete personal file was put at the disposal of Raonuill, to enable him to substantiate his claim to the Chiefship of Keppoch, not just by the ancient oral tradition, but by written testimony from the family archives. That is what was demanded of him by the Lord Lyon.

You can read the rest of this article at

In addition I received a copy of the "MacDonald of Keppoch Clan Song" composed by the chief himself...

Welcome Clann Ranald
Adapted by Mac Mhic Raonuill from his original
composition 1977, for the inaugural ceremony in Fort
William, Lochaber, September 2006.

Welcome Clan Ranald welcome t-Lochaber
Land of high Mountains that sweep to the sea
Here lies the bones of your ancestors mighty
Kings of the Celts of the highest degree


Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Clann Ranald
Welcome t-Lochaber the land we hold dear
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Clann Ranald
Welcome t-Lochaber we're glad that you're here

In kinship and friendship we'll gather together
To celebrate fully this very special year
For hearts' that are yearning and pride in returning
Ceud mile' fa'ilte mo bhrathair mo chridhe

Note: Got in an email message from the Chief with this song...

These are the words of the Clan Song that I wrote back in 1977 for the Welcoming of the Clan Donald to Scotland during the International Gathering of that year and sang it on stage in Princes Street Gardens where I organised the welcoming concert. The song was transposed into pipe music for the Royal Engineers (Scottish VR) Pipe Band the only Pipe Band in the Royal Engineers and the only Pipe Band wearing the MacDonald of Keppoch tartan plaid.

The Chief's web site is at

History of the Camerons
"History of the Camerons with Genealogies of the Principal Families" by Alexander Mackenzie. Reprint of 1894 rare classic.
Now available: Price: $50.00. Leather-like hard cover. Only 50 printed.
Buy from:
Stewart Publishing and Printing
17 Sir Constantine Drive
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3P 2X3 

Robert Stewart kindly sent in three .pdf files of bits of this publication...

History of the Camerons - Chapter 1 (which includes the contents and subscriber pages) at
The Camerons of Inverailort
The Camerons of Dawnie

At the start of the first chapter on Origins it states...

IN AN OLD Manuscript history of this family, printed in The Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel the author says – “The Camerons have a tradition among them that they were originally descended of a younger son of the Royal Family of Denmark, who assisted at the restoration of King Fergus II., anno 404. He was called Cameron from his crooked nose, as that word imports. But it is more probable that they were of the aborigines of the ancient Scots or Caledonians that first planted the country.”

Skene quotes this family Manuscript in his Highlanders of Scotland, and agrees with its author that the clan came originally from the ancient inhabitants of the district of Lochaber. He says: – “With this last conclusion I am fully disposed to agree, but John Major has placed the matter beyond a doubt, for in mentioning on one occasion the Clan Chattan and the Clan Cameron, he says, ‘Hae tribus sunt consanguineae’. They, therefore, formed a part of the extensive tribe of Moray, and followed the chief of that race until the tribe became broken up, in consequence of the Success of the Mackintoshes in the conflict on the North Inch of Perth, in 1396,” after which the Camerons separated themselves from the main stem, and assumed a position of independence. Major further says that “these two tribes are of the same stock, and followed one head of their race as chief”. Gregory, who agrees with these authorities, says that the Camerons, as far back as he could trace, had their seat in Lochaber, and appeared to have been first connected with the Macdonalds of Islay, in the reign of Robert Bruce, from whom Angus Og of Isla had a grant of Lochaber “There is reason to believe,” he continues, “that the Clan Cameron and Clan Chattan had a common origin, and for some time followed one chief.” They have, however, been separated, according to this author, ever since the middle of the fourteenth century, if not from an earlier date.

You can read these at

Bits of Electric Scotland
It was suggested that I might highlight bits of the site that I thought might be of general interest.

This week I thought I'd highlight the "Friends of Grampian Stones" section at

As the page says... "Welcome to our pages of antiquities and culture of Northeast Scotland"

Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Kincardinshire & Moray - four counties in Northeast Scotland with boundaries created in Norman times based on earlier Pictish land divisions - have the world's greatest configuration of prehistoric and early-historic stones, carved art and clusters of ancient settlements, in an area roughly half the size of Switzerland, within walking distance for most people. We list sites with disabled access with a *star. Please bear in mind, when visiting the stones, firstly that they originally had sacred meaning to the culture which erected them; secondly that most still stand on private ground and are protected not only by the Scottish Executive, but also personally by the landowner over whose field you walk.

This was our attempt at trying to help this group get more exposure for all the work they are doing. The index page shows...

Links to other sites
Map of NE Scotland's great legacy
Animal Symbols
Pictish carved stones and gemetric designs
Pictish Church
Ecclastical History
History of Inverurie and the central valley of The Garioch
Lunar Standstills
The Moon
Pictish Kings
Loanhead Revisited
Government Legislation
Maiden Stone Images
Breacbannoch of Columba
Ancient Stones of Scotland

There is a ton of reading in this section. For example just taking their "Newsletters" link it leads to...

Astronomy - ancient and modern
- Blue Moons
- Lunar Standstills
- Precession of Equinoxes [Beltane 1998]
- Rolldowns: solar phenomena for all to enjoy [Lammas 1996]
- Whitecross, Chapel of Garioch

Stones - the endless and timeless subject of conservation and conversation
- Birse's new Millennium stone at Corsedardar
- Dyce and Dupplin [November 1998]
- Dupplin: in situ or in seclusion?
- Durris cairn or offroad vehicles?

Power and Christianity - the early Church
- The origin of Michaelmas
- King Nechtan & the Pictish church
- Picts, Kings, Saints & Chronicles

Pre-Christian belief, sacred knowledge and traditions
- Bride or Brigantia: Mother Earth in her spring cloak
- Serpent Rhyme likened to the American groundhog
- The Cailleach & the Clyack Sheaf - Aikey & Lourin' Fairs

You can go directly to this page at

The whole section index page is at

And finally I was sent in this interesting article...

Remarkable Obituary
(Author not known)

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Mr Common Sense.

Mr Sense had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valued lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable Parenting strategies (adults, not kids, are in charge).

His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only to worsened his condition.

Mr Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her lap, and was awarded a huge financial settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion; his daughter Responsibility and his son, Reason.

He is survived by two stepbrothers; My Rights and Ima Whiner. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)


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