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Weekly Mailing List Archives
26th January 2007

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 News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
Skye Pioneers and "The Island"
Scotland's Road of Romance
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Scots Minstrelsie
Clan Newsletters
Robert Burns Lives!
History of Scottish Medicine to 1860 (new book)
Maps of Clan Lands
Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Die Drummonds (German translation)
RUAIRIDH (Rory) ‘Breac’ MacNEIL

Well as I battle on with my bad back I must express my thanks for those of you that sympathized with me :-) Also many thanks for those of you that provided information on your clan lands.

Got a wee bit of a shock this week... got my accounts audit bill in which is usually around $600 but this time it's gone up to $3,000 <yikes!>. I think it's time to find a new accountant!

I was in Toronto on Sunday attending a wee Burns supper at singer Michael Danso's home along with 14 others. We had a great time and yes indeed we had haggis as well as some great roast beef and clootie dumpling along with a fine malt whisky. I took the opportunity to read a translation of a couple of Burns poems which seemed to go down very well. A few folk commented that it was great to be able to understand the poems. The book "Understanding Robert Burns" has been a great inspiration to me personally and I think I might have sold a few copies at the supper :-) Mind you can read this online at

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.

Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.

The political section is compiled this week by Allison Hunter. This week she brings us a concerning item...


The Scottish National Party commented on a leaked report in the Herald today, written for the First Minister by the Scottish Executive’s senior official in its European Office, which says that Whitehall departments ignore the views of the Scottish Executive, and that “can have a disastrous impact on Executive policy.”

In relation to Scottish Executive Ministers at Council of Ministers meetings, the report says: “Unfortunate examples are where there is no seat for the Minister in the Council room during the meeting so they have to follow discussions from the salle d’ecoute [listening room] alongside officials.”

SNP Deputy Leader Ms Nicola Sturgeon MSP said:

“Jack McConnell must make an urgent statement to Parliament to explain how this disgraceful situation has been allowed to happen, and what he is doing about it.

This report – from the heart of the administration – proves everything that the SNP has ever said about Scottish misrepresentation in Europe under the Labour/Lib Dem Executive.

Whitehall departments are routinely ignoring the Scottish Executive, and Scotland’s interests across the board suffer as a consequence.

You can read the rest of this report in the Political section of the Flag.

I also noted in the cultural section one of the quotes by James Halliday...

Strangers to Scotland, and many Scots themselves, often feel puzzled by the hero-worship which so many bestow upon Robert Burns. The truth is that if Burns had never lived, Scotland could hardly have avoided going the way of ancient English-speaking kingdoms whose identity is long lost. Merged within a greater whole. Scotland today would rank alongside Mercia or Northumbria or Wessex, of interest as an antiquity, a curiosity or an affectation. If Scotland is anything more in modern times, it is because Burns, speaking as and for the ordinary man, stemmed the tide of history, flowing strongly in the direction of absorption and integration. His work meant that a sense of identity was preserved at a time when the politically active classes in Scotland showed little interest in such sense. Aristocracy is by its nature international. It is ordinary people, involved with humbler local community life, who have greater national awareness. These ordinary people had no political power until more than a century had passed, but when in due course these people for whom Burns spoke did gain the right to political participation, Scotland was still there.

(British Scotland – Scotland A Concise History 1990)

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

This week I thought I'd bring you the current weeks diary from Linda Fabiani as she tells us a lot about "Scottish Council for Single Homeless initiative for pupils in fourth and fifth year at school – HomeSmart" which I found very interesting and thought you might like to read. It's also quite a long time since I've included one of her diaries in here so here it is :-)

Always a good start to the week when you get to go along to a Primary School; St. Mark’s in Hamilton this Monday morning where the primary 7 pupils had prepared a ‘Question Time’ event. Pupils on the Panel first, followed by myself and the local SSP and Tory MSP. The wee lad who was doing his ‘Dimbleby’ stint really had it off pat – no nonsense and very fair in his allocation of time. Well done St. Mark’s! We then had tea with the Pupil Council – a rep from each class who discuss what’s happening in the school and plans for the future. All very organised and impressive.

Very different company in the afternoon when I sped through to Edinburgh to meet with Sir Peter Ricketts, UK Permanent Under-Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service (“he was very nice”, I said to Calum; “of course he was”, says the bold boy, “he is heid diplomat, after all!”; yeh, right enough). It was an enjoyable meeting though, and we discussed the Foreign Office’s relationship with MSPs and members of the Europe and External Relations Committee, and how we might improve this in the future. Not that it’s a bad relationship particularly – I have always found the Diplomatic and Foreign Office staff helpful generally, it’s just difficult sometimes to know who to go to for information. It’s interesting, the way that different UK departments deal with us here in Scotland’s Parliament: Although they deal with ‘reserved matters’ I’ve always found the International Development Department and the Foreign Office very approachable whilst the Home Office, in relation to Immigration and Asylum issues, is extremely unhelpful. I suppose it depends a lot on who’s heading up the operation – John Reid MP at the Home Office; I guess that answers that point!

Talking of the Home Office I found myself shouting at my car radio last week when I heard John Reid’s predecessor, David Blunkett, criticising the police investigation into the ‘cash for honours’ scandal because they’d arrested a Labour aide (Ruth Turner) at her home at 6.30 in the morning on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. He reckoned this was ridiculous, she wasn’t a criminal after all; so, what about the practice of dawn raids on innocent asylum-seeking families then Mr. Blunkett? You fully supported that when you were Home Secretary, and still do as far as I know – their hypocrisy is staggering. They basically think that they and their pals are above the law of their land.

Europe committee on Tuesday afternoon – taking evidence still on the ‘Transposition of European Directives’, and some interesting perspectives on how the Scottish Executive looks after Scotland’s interests in Europe. For example – some direct quotes:

Andy Robertson (NFU Scotland):” … Engagement through the Executive is minimal. … … … My experience is that I can get more direct access to officials in Brussels by working through the NFUS than I could in my previous existence as a Scottish Executive official … …”

James Withers (NFU Scotland): “I add that, in my experience since devolution the Executive has struggled to find its feet in dealing with Europe. there is a lack of clarity about where the boundaries are. … … … We sometimes find ourselves in the difficult position of feeling that we are doing the Executive’s job for it. We run to the Commission to find out the parameters within which we are working and then feed the message back to the Executive.”

Readers can form their own conclusions as to whether the Labour/LibDem coalition is truly looking after Scotland’s interests in Europe. Of course, since our meeting there have been further developments on this question, but that’s next week’s diary!

Busy Chamber days on Wednesday and Thursday with introductory debates on proposed legislation – The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill, the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Bill, and the final debate on the ‘Criminal proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Bill. And then, on Thursday evening, a debate sponsored by yours truly on the Scottish Council for Single Homeless initiative for pupils in fourth and fifth year at school – HomeSmart. I was really pleased to be able to secure a slot for debate for this really important campaign. I won’t reproduce the whole debate here, but my own contribution at the start outlines the initiative and if anyone wants to read more about it, you can log on to the SCSH website at

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): It is a mark of how important the subject is that members have agreed to bring the debate forward by an hour. I declare an interest, as a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing. That membership exists from the days before I was elected, when I worked in housing associations. I have experience of dealing with homelessness applications from a service provider's point of view, as well as from a politician's. I think that I speak for most housing professionals when I say that there was always a particular poignancy when a young person presented as homeless—I felt helpless and that I could not be of real assistance to them.

My experience has given me a perspective on the issue that underpins my belief in the absolute necessity of tackling homelessness and seeking to eliminate it as far as is humanly possible. Part of that task is the provision of suitable and affordable housing, including owner-occupied and social rented housing. We all know that that is an issue in many areas. In East Kilbride, where I live, it is a particular problem. A major part of the task must also be helping people to avoid homelessness in the first place. That is the main thrust of the home smart campaign, which seeks to ensure that every fourth-year pupil in our schools knows that help and advice is available.

Great credit should be given to the Scottish Council for Single Homeless for creating the campaign. Its importance is underlined by the statistics on youth homelessness. In 2005-06, 19,400 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 turned to their local authority because they had nowhere safe and secure to stay. That is a rise of almost 4,000 since 1999. If we consider the figures for 16 and 17-year-olds, in 2005-06 more than 4,300 young people turned to their local authority. While few fourth-year pupils are likely to think that homelessness will affect them personally, the figures tell a different story.

There is a significant, worsening problem with youth homelessness that we owe it to Scotland's youngsters to address. With 3 per cent of young people in Scotland reporting as homeless each year, we cannot afford to turn away and hope that the problem resolves itself. We should be grateful to the Scottish Council for Single Homeless for the work that it has been doing and we should embrace the home smart campaign as an extremely worthwhile endeavour.

The council's idea for the campaign is simple, but appears to offer the right kind of help. Rather than waiting until the young person strikes out on their own, obtains a tenancy, then fails to maintain it and ends up homeless, it has taken the sensible step of taking the message into schools. The information in learning packs allows teachers and pupils to consider the issues that often arise with tenancies and young people, and to consider how they might avoid the pitfalls that have befallen so many in the past. As well as facilitating discussion, the packs offer sensible advice, including, for example, advice about how to ensure that the behaviour of one's friends does not affect one's tenancy. That seems fairly straightforward to those of us sitting here, but one of the major problems that young tenants have is in controlling their home environment and not letting it turn into a community centre for their friends.

I wish to make it clear, though, that the campaign is not an entirely new venture for the Scottish Council for Single Homeless. The ‘I'm offski!’ learning materials were first produced in 1988 and have won awards. However, home smart goes even further. The experience of the organisation over many years is illustrated by its developing and innovatory campaigns. It will soon produce an evaluation toolkit to measure the success of the campaign—I am sure that it will be very successful. Getting pupils to think about the issues while they are still in the fourth year of secondary school will ensure that the information is embedded and that they know that support and advice is available.

Targeting the campaign at fourth years is important—I believe that it is the optimum age group to target. It is the age group that is perhaps desperate to leave home for negative reasons. It is an age group that may have a rose-tinted view of how one can strike out on one's own and be a success. Many young people who are at a stage in their lives when they should be building for the future can struggle to find the resources just to survive. Surviving day by day instead of planning for their future leaves them vulnerable to all sorts of outside influences. Home smart is about trying to stop that happening.

It is hard to judge how many pupils have so far been exposed to the materials produced by the council, but around a third of our mainstream schools have indicated a strong interest. That points towards a possible 20,000 pupils. I make particular mention of John Ogilvie High School and Strathaven Academy, schools in central Scotland that I know well for their openness to new ideas and that have responded positively to the Scottish Council for Single Homeless.

Roseanna Cunningham (Perth) (SNP): Understandably, the member is mostly focused on central region, but is she aware that the interest of schools in home smart goes far beyond it? Indeed, a primary school in my constituency—Balnacraig school in Perth—has won a prize in the competition. Does she agree that that school should also be commended?

Linda Fabiani: Absolutely. I am happy to commend Balnacraig school in Perth. That underlines the fact that the campaign is national.

As I said, every mainstream school has received a pack, and any special needs and residential schools that have expressed an interest have received one too.

I congratulate and commend the Scottish Council for Single Homeless for the work of home smart. I also want to thank Lovell, the housing developer that has sponsored the campaign and provided the prize for the recent draw. If the campaign has ensured that pupils know that there are people and organisations to which they can turn for help, and if it has encouraged those pupils to think about the issues and appreciate the challenges and difficulties that leaving home presents, the campaign is worthy of congratulation and encouragement. As I said earlier, more than a third of all homeless applications are from people between the ages of 16 and 24.

Scotland's politicians should be working towards ending the scourge of homelessness. Each of us in the chamber should be humbled that the problem has still not been turned around eight years after devolution, despite the good intentions of us all. That perhaps indicates a need for more positive action on the part of Scotland's politicians, a more proactive agenda on youth homelessness and a greater encouragement of the work done by organisations such as the Scottish Council for Single Homeless.

And so to Friday. Looking back over the week above it looks as if I wasn’t doing much, and certainly I did have a couple of early nights for a change, but then there was Friday! Up to Dornoch to do the Toast to Scotland at the Tain SNP Burns Supper. A long way to go but a great time was had, even though I had to get the early train from Inverness the next morning. I don't get up to the Highlands enough these days - so many friends there and so many beautiful places still to see.

The week started with enjoyment, and finished with some more – the 50th Anniversary of the Trefoil Guild in East Kilbride, celebrated with a lunch, some speeches, and some chat. The Trefoil Guild comprises ladies (men are allowed but none have applied!) who care about the Guiding Movement and want to keep an involvement – most, but not all, have been Guides or Guiders themselves. Even though I admitted I was never a Brownie or a Guide, they assure me I can join the Trefoil Guild; and even when I admitted I’d been in the Girls Brigade for all of around three months (before I got in big trouble for howking up my skirt to a mini during the parade), they still let me be a Guiding Ambassador – gracious ladies all of them!

Back next week.

Linda Fabiani

You can view MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary at 
Email Linda at

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us. She is still in a plaster cast which needs to remain until end of January.

Now completed the E's and moved onto the F's and added this week are Errol, Erskine, Ewart, Ewen / Ewing, Eythen, Fairfax, Fairfoul and Fairley.

We had a large account of Erskine and here is how it starts...

ERSKINE, anciently spelled Areskin, and sometimes Irskyn, a surname of great antiquity, and one which has been much distinguished in all periods of Scottish history, was originally derived from the lands and barony of Erskine in Renfrewshire, situated on the south side of the Clyde, the most ancient possession of the noble family who afterwards became Lords Erskine and earls of Mar.

An absurd tradition asserts that at the battle of Murthill fought with the Danes, in the reign of Malcolm the Second, a Scotsman having killed Enrique, a Danish chief, cut off his head, and with the bloody dagger in his hand, showed it to the king, saying in Gaelic, Eris Skene, alluding to the head and dagger; on which Malcolm gave him the name of Erskine. In those remote times, however, surnames were usually assumed from lands, and all such traditions referring to the origin of the names of illustrious families are seldom to be depended upon. The appearance of the land justifies the derivation of the name from the British word ir-isgyn, signifying the green rising ground. The earliest notice of the name is in a confirmation of the church of “Irschen” granted by the bishop of Glasgow in favour of the monastery of Paisley, betwixt the years 1202 and 1207 [Chartulary of Paisley, p. 113.] In 1703, the estate of Erskine was purchased from the Hamiltons of Orbinston by Walter, master of Blantyre, afterwards Lord Blantyre, in which family the property remains.

Henry de Erskine was proprietor of the barony of Erskine so early as the reign of Alexander the Second. He was witness of a grant by Amelick, brother of Maldwin, earl of Lennox, of the patronage and tithes of the parish church of Roseneath to the abbey of Paisley in 1226.

His grandson, ‘Johan de Irskyn,’ submitted to Edward the First in 1296.

Johan’s son, Sir John de Erskine, had a son, Sir William, and three daughters, of whom the eldest, Mary, was married, first to Sir Thomas Bruce, brother of King Robert the First, who was taken prisoner and put to death by the English, and secondly to Sir Ingram Morville; and the second, Alice, became the wife of Walter, high steward of Scotland.

Sir William de Erskine, the son, was a faithful adherent of Robert the Bruce, and accompanied the earl of Moray and Sir James Douglas in their expedition into England in 1322. For his valour he was knighted under the royal banner in the field. He died in 1329.

Sir Robert de Erskine, knight, his eldest son, made an illustrious figure in his time, and for his patriotic services, was, by David the Second, appointed constable, keeper, and captain of Stirling castle. He was one of the ambassadors to England, to treat for the ransom of that monarch, after his capture in the battle of Durham in 1346. IN 1350 he was appointed by David, while still a prisoner, great chamberlain of Scotland, and in 1357 he was one of those who accomplished his sovereign’s deliverance, on which occasion his eldest son, Thomas, was one of the hostages for the payment of the king’s ransom. On his restoration, David, in addition to his former high office of chamberlain, appointed Sir Robert Justiciary north of the Forth, and constable and keeper of the castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton. In 1358 he was ambassador to France, and between 1360 and 1366 he was five times ambassador to England. In 1367 he was warden of the marches, and heritable sheriff of Stirlingshire. In 1371 he was one of the great barons who ratified the succession to the crown of Robert the Second, grandson, by his daughter Marjory, of Robert the Bruce, and the first of the Stuart family. To his other property he added that of Alloa, which the king bestowed on him, in exchange for the hunting district of Strathgartney, in the Highlands. He died in 1385.

His son, Sir Thomas Erskine, knight, succeeded his father, as governor of Stirling castle, and in 1392 was sent ambassador to England. By his marriage with Janet Keith, great-grand-daughter of Gratney, eleventh earl of Mar, he laid the foundation of the succession on the part of his descendants to the earldom of Mar and lordship of Garioch.

You can read more of this entry at

You can read the other entries at 

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

Added the April 1912 issue at 

This contains...

Mr A. W. M'Lean - Lumberton North Carolina USA, Sketches of Highland Life and Character, Gaelic Proverbs, Mr L. MacBean of Kirkcaldy, Notes on the Celtic Year, A New Zealand Pioneer, The Clan Piper, The MacEwans of Ottir and Other Small Clans - The MacLays, The MacQueens, "Culloden, April 16th 1746, Who have the Largest Heads and Feet?, Pipers Three, Fionn and the Fidga, The Cummings, The Book of Deer, The Clan Stewart, Celtic Notes and Queries, Our Musical Page, Reviews.

You can see the issues to date at 

The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.

The History of North Carolina - Chapter IV
North Carolina in the Confederacy, 1861 - 1865

The History of North Carolina - Chapter V
North Carolina from 1865 to the Present Time

The History of South Carolina - Chapter I
South Carolina, 1562 - 1789

Here is how Chapter I of South Carolina starts...

Early Visits by Foreigners to the Coast of South Carolina.

AS EARLY as 1520, thirteen years after the passing of Christopher Columbus, two Spanish ships entered a wide bay on or near the coast of the present state of South Carolina. A point of land near the bay was given the name St. Helena by the Spanish sailors. A river in the vicinity they called "Jordan." They found, moreover, that a portion of the country on one side of the bay was called by the natives, Chicora. A large number of these natives, yielding to the persuasions of the Spaniards, went on board the two ships. When the decks were crowded with them the sailors suddenly drew up the anchors, spread their sails and headed the ships out into the open sea. Not long afterwards, one of the vessels went down and all on board perished. The other vessel sailed to the island of Hispaniola (now known as Haiti) in the West Indies. There the captive Indians, as many of them as survived the hardships of the voyage, were sold as slaves. The responsibility for this cruel treatment of some of the redmen of America rests upon a Spaniard named Vasquez de Ayllon, who had fitted out the two ships and sent them to capture Indians. A few years later De Ayllon himself sailed with three vessels to the river which had received the name Jordan. He expected to conquer all the country near the river, and to rule over it in the name of the Spanish sovereign. This expectation was not realized. According to the stories handed down to us in the old Spanish records, the natives of the country, filled with hatred on account of the treachery shown by the previous company of explorers, slew so many of De Ayllon's men that his expedition ended in failure.

In the year 1524 Giovanni Verrazano, a native of Florence, Italy, was sent across the Atlantic by Francis I., of France. Verrazano reached the American coast at a point near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, North Carolina. He coasted thence southward "fifty leagues" in search of a harbor. This voyage, of course, brought him to the region now known as South Carolina. "The whole shore," runs Verrazano's description of the country, "is covered with fine sand about fifteen feet thick, rising in the form of little hills about fifteen paces broad. Ascending farther, we found several arms of the sea, which make in through inlets, washing the shores on both sides as the coast runs." He speaks, also, of "immense forests of trees, more or less dense, too various in color and too delightful and charming in appearance to be described. They are adorned with palms, laurels, cypresses and other varieties unknown to Europe, that send forth the sweetest fragrance to a great distance."

You can read the rest of this chapter at 

The book index page is at

Skye Pioneers and "The Island"
by Malcolm A. MacQueen (1929).

Now got up another chapter of this book - "Founding of Uigg" and here is how this starts...

In a little Minute Book in the custody of Samuel MacLeod, Uigg, in the handwriting of Malcolm MacLeod, K.C., a native of Uigg, is the following brief authoritative history of the founding of that district.

Uigg in Queens County, Prince Edward Island, was settled in the year 1829 and 1831 by immigrants from the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The immigrants of 1829 were chiefly from Uig, in Skye, and in memory of the place of their birth, they called their new home in the woods of Prince Edward Island, Uigg. The first map in this book shows the original farms and the names of their first permanent occupants. Beginning on the eastern side of the Murray Harbor Road (which was made through this settlement in 1828) and on the south side of the settlement, there are William MacPhee, Donald Kelly, James Campbell (who had bought out one Allan McDonald, called Allan MhacHamish), Norman MacLeod and Alexander Martin; who had entered into possession of their farms in 1827, James Campbell, however, only going into actual possession in 1829 as successor to Allan MhacHamish. Donald Ross and David Ross (whose father lived on the road crossing from Orwell to the Murray Harbor Road) had taken their farms but did not go into actual possession till a few years after 1829, probably 1833 or 1834. Roderick McLeod and John McLeod (with their father, Norman McLeod), Angus McDonald, James McLeod, Murdoch McLeod, Malcolm McKinnon and James McDonald, went into possession in 1829, the year in which they arrived from Skye. A few years afterwards the Rev. Samuel McLeod bought and entered on the north half of James McDonald's farm. Michael Chisholm, whose people were from Strathglass, near Inverness, was several years later in coming. To the westward of the Road were Donald Gordon, Donald McDonald and William McLeod (known as Ulliam Sceighdear), who arrived from Skye in 1831. Donald Shaw was born in Pinette on this Island, and he and John Matheson (from Skye also) went on their farms about 1833. The farm marked Fletcher was originally occupied and before 1829, by one Gay, from Lot 49, called by the Highland people "Gaieach Cam," who built a saw mill. His son, John Gay, afterwards occupied the farm and sold it to John Fletcher, who built a grist mill further up the stream (where John F. McLeod's mills were) sometime about the year 1840 or 1845. The farm marked Archibald McDonald was taken by Archibald (son of James) some ten (10) years after the original settlement. Of the farms to the rear or eastward, the one marked Roderick McLeod was taken by him about 7 or 10 years later than 1829. His brother, Ewen McLeod, went into possession of his farm 2 or 3 years still later. Of the original occupants above named there are only Roderick McLeod and his brother John and David Ross, still living on the land of which they took the original possession. James McDonald and his wife (a sister of Roderick, John and Samuel) are still living, but removed from Uigg several years, and are now living with their daughter at Green Marsh, on Murray Harbor Road. Of the original settlers, Norman McLeod, James McLeod, and Murdoch McLeod, were an older generation, and were brothers. John McLeod, Roderick McLeod and the Rev. Samuel McLeod were also brothers, and sons of Norman, known as Tormoid 'ic Neal 'ic Murchuidh, Gillie Brighe, 'ic Murchuidh. Angus, James and Donald McDonald were also brothers.

In these days the whole face of the country was covered with a dense forest, and the first settlers, perfect strangers to the use of the axe on their arrival, had little but their labour to depend on for making a living and rearing and educating numerous families.

The first school house for the settlement was built about 1840, to the northward of the stream of the Orwell River, and to the west of the Murray Harbor Road, near the top of the ascent from the brook, in a dense spruce bush, a portion of William McLeod's woods. It was a long building, perhaps 20 x 15 or 18 feet, roofed with boards and slabs, having the spaces between the round logs filled with moss. The fireplace was open, having its sides or "jambs" of wood like inverted sleigh runers. The first teacher was one Donald Kelly (a relation of the Donald Kelly whose name appears on the map), who arrived from Skye in 1839 or 1840. He and his wife and one or two children lived in the school house for a year or two. Parents paid him one pound per annum of the then currency ($3.24) per pupil, and gave him besides, for his support, one bushel of wheat each family.

You can read the rest of this chapter at 

You can read all the chapters at 

Scotland's Road of Romance
Travels in the footsteps of Prince Charlie by Augustus Muir (1937).

Now completed this book up to chapter 19 and here is a bit from it to read here...

THERE was a slight drizzle of rain on that Sunday morning as I set out on the road to Edinburgh. I did not know whether I would reach my destination before dark, but I was determined to make the effort; and the prospect of sleeping in the city which to my dying day I will think of as my home filled me with an elation that made me ignore the rather uninteresting countryside through which at the start I found myself passing. I had never tramped on this road before, although I had gone quickly over it in a motor-car, and I had caught glimpses of it from a railway compartment. I have always agreed with Robert Louis Stevenson that there is no more vivid way of seeing a landscape than from the window of a railway-train, to which must now be added that of the motor-coach ; and while one does not travel merely to gape at a picture-gallery of landscapes, and the delicate essences of travel are distilled from many impressions other than those which enter the soul through the eyes, travel of any kind would be a barren affair without its visual background. But where the walker scores over the railway-traveller is in this: his impressions may not be so quick or sharp, but they have time to sink deeper, and they are enriched by a man's contact with the ground over which his own feet carry him. The country I met after Linlithgow is not picturesque in the sense that Blair Atholl is, and only the blind can ignore the slag-heaps which the miners call "duff." Back at Falkirk I had looked upon a land which gave me a fairly good idea of what I had always imagined the Potteries to be like : the horizon had been thick in smoke, with chimneys and the machinery of pit-heads looming up through it in a ghostly way. East of Linlithgow the air was clearer, but again the slag-heaps assault the eye; and as I passed beside them on that Sunday morning I saw in them, almost against my will, a unique beauty. Yellow grass grew upon them, and there was a curious red sheen upon their dark sides, like the blood of an otter drifting a little below the surface of a slow-running stream. Those pit-heads and slag-heaps of West Lothian are a subject for an artist, but they need a man of the calibre of Wadsworth to capture their spirit.

Soon I had passed Kingscavil, and had come to a group of cottages called Three Miletown, where the Prince brought his men to a halt. On the previous night, he had managed to snatch but a few hours' sleep before making the sortie from Callendar House at Falkirk, and now Lord George Murray was eager to push further on, but Charles decided to remain until the next morning. O'Sullivan had selected this place on rising ground, and the Prince slept in a small farmhouse west of where the Highlanders lay in their plaids. After I had passed through the hamlet of Winchburgh, which is unremarkable except for the amount of dullness that is crammed into a few yards, I was brought to a stop by the glorious view of a countryside that rolled to the foot of the Pentlands. Caerketton and Allermuir, Swanston and Glencorse: these names came back to me, bringing the same little wisp of nostalgia that is always evoked by the name of the street in Edinburgh where I lived, and in high spirits I strode out to Kirkliston.

It was near Kirkliston that the Prince paused on the march next day. To the south-west was the house of Newliston, then belonging to the Earl of Stair whose grandfather the Highlanders blamed for the massacre of Glencoe. The descendant of the murdered Macdonald chief was in the Prince's army with many of his clansmen; and in sudden anxiety the Prince pictured the house of the Stairs going up in flames, with the Macdonalds dancing vengefully around it. He suggested therefore that the Glencoe men should be guided past the place at a safe distance, but so indignant was the Macdonald leader that he threatened to take his clan back to the Highlands if any watch was set upon them. He reminded the Prince that the Macdonalds were men of honour, and at once Charles responded by giving orders that a guard of Macdonalds from Glencoe were to be mounted at Stair's house during the halt. The Prince himself was entertained at the farmhouse of Todhall (afterwards rebuilt and re-christened Foxhall by some man who was not satisfied with the old Scots word for a fox); and in the afternoon the army moved forward in the direction of Edinburgh.

You can read the rest of this chapter at 

The book index page is at 

History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)

Inverness County is part of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I am now up to chapter 11 and you can read all the chapters at 

As this is a huge chapter I am dividing into various parts of the County and here is a bit about District of Judique which I might add has information on loads of Scottish names and I only know that by the sheer time it took to ocr this in :-)

The district of Judique is an important part of Inverness County. It was settled early. It is a large, rich and beautiful piece of country. It has a pleasant and accessible coast with some fine coves and beaches. The place is well adapted to fishing and farming pursuits. The virility and prowess of its pioneer settlers were proverbial. Judique was the cradle of religious organization for the lonely immigrants to this forest land. That fact has a right to be remembered. It is unquestionable that the triumph of our fathers in the forbidding wilderness of the new world was due to three principal causes. First, the physical strength and vigor of those hardy pioneers; second, their fine freedom, for the first time, from feudal laws and landlords; third, and greatest of all, their strong, simple and sincere faith. No matter what denomination of Christians our fore-fathers belonged to, they all harboured in their bosoms that clear, strong, light of faith which could only be extinguished in their graves. Out of these graves, today, there comes to us a voice that cannot be denied.

When Father Alexander MacDonnell came to America in 1811, there was no resident clergymen of any creed between Cheticamp and the Strait of Canso. Although he crossed the ocean in 1811 Father MacDonnell did not come to Judique until 1816, having remained five years at the Gulf shore of Antigonish with the veteran Scottish priest, Reverend Alexander MacDonald. On coming to Judique in 1816 he took up his abode at Indian Point where lived his cousin, Thomas MacDonnell (Bin). A part of the barn in which he used to say mass is still standing. His jurisdiction covered the whole county of Inverness except the French communities of the extreme North. His field was large, his work arduous. He lived in Judique for twenty-five years, died at his home at Indian Point on 25th September, 1841, and was buried by Rev. Father Vincent of the Monastery of Petit Clairvaux, Tracadie, Nova Scotia.

The district of Judique runs along the coastal waters Northwardly from the Northern boundary of Creignish near Long Point to the Southern boundary of Port Hood near Little Judique. It is subdivided into Judique North and Judique South, and elects two representatives to the County Council. Duncan MacDonnell of Judique Banks, Merchant, and the late Allan MacLellan, afterwards Sheriff of Inverness, represented the district for a long time, whilst the Old Reliable, Hugh Gillis, has been a foremost member of the Municipal body for so long that "the memory of man runneth not to the contrary."

The physical features of Judique are strikingly picturesque. The shore road leading from Port Hood to Port Hastings cuts through this district from side to side within half a mile of the sea, and parallel there to. It is a good road, affording full opportunity to view the scenic sights, on either side. The homes and houses of the people lie along this road, suggesting in various ways lives of peace and contentment.

The farms are prettily laid out and cleared, and in some cases highly cultivated. They would all be well cultivated but for the unfortunate exodus from these shores of the younger people in former times. In a smaller degree that exodus still continues.

In the centre of this shore settlement of Judique there have stood, for several generations, a handsome Catholic Church and Presbytery, with other appropriate glebe buildings, and a good school house. The first church, glebe house and cemetery were down near the sea towards Indian Point. We regret to record that the most recent church in Judique was destroyed by lightning two years ago. It is missed by all the travelling public. We trust it may soon rise from its ashes more resplendent than ever to remind us all, as we pass along, of its mission and its need. There are other settlements in Judique besides the shore one. On the rear there are several communities, on different heights, such as Hillsdale, River Dennis Road, Rear Long Point, and Rear Little Judique. All these are peopled by honest, forceful sons of toil.

The first settlement of white men in Judique was effected by Michael MacDonald, Sea Captain and Poet of Uist, Robert MacInnes of Blair Athole, Mason, Allan MacDonnell of Glengarry, Alexander MacDonald, Retland, Ewen MacEachern of Kinloch-Moidart, John Graham (Veteran of the American War of Independence) and Donald Ban MacDonald, a scion of the brave "Chloinn Sheamis". The first three named were married to sisters of Bishop MacEachern of Prince Edward Island, who died in 1835 after a long period of devoted and difficult labour as priest and bishop. The Donald Ban here mentioned was the grandfather of that noble Scotsman, the late Donald J. MacDonald, who was Registrar of Probate and County Treasurer for the County of Inverness; and who married Mary one of the daughters of the late widow McDonald, who for many years kept house for the late Vicar General Rev Alex. McDonald at Mabou.

You can read more of this chapter at 

Scots Minstrelsie
Started work again on the final volume 6 of this publication complete with sheet music. The index page is at 

To volume 6 I added...

The Tribute of Gask (1364)
M - Hm

You can see these at 

Clan Newsletters
Doug and Pat Ross sent in the December 2006 newsletter of Clan Ross of Canada which you can read at

Alan McKenzie sent in the December 2006 newsletter for the Clan MacKenzie of Canada which you can read at

Keith Rattray sent in a new leaflet for Clan Rattray which you can read at

Clan Wood sent me in a wee page about Famous Woods which you can read at

Here is one entry for you to read here...

Admiral Sir Andrew Wood (1st Chief)

Born around the middle of the 15th century in Largo, Fife, Andrew Wood was the eldest son of William Wood, merchant, who was almost certainly a scion of the Woods of Bonnytoun in Angus. They had a long history of owning lands throughout that district, Kincardineshire and elsewhere. Those areas still held around the time of James VI are shown in the map 'Scotland of Old', by Collins.

Andrew Wood, too, was a successful merchant, and owner of the frigate Flower. He became a master of fighting off Dutch, English and Portuguese pirates. His fame reached James III, who asked him to captain his ship, the Yellow Caravel. Sailing out of Leith, Andrew triumphed in many major skirmishes with privateers and squadrons sent by the English government, was made Admiral of Scotland and a baronet. He built a castle at his barony of Largo, a tower of which still stands. Sir Andrew Wood died probably in 1515. Enjoying the friendship of successive Stewart monarchs, his significance to Scottish history, and that of his descendants, is far greater than some people realise or can be gone into here.

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

Robert Burns Diamond Stylus

A grand wee detective story which starts...

My article in the Robert Burns Federation’s 2006 Spring Chronicle about Rabbie’s 22 day Highland tour in 1787 prompted a number of queries from Burns enthusiasts.

One point questioned was a reference I made to Burns using a diamond stylus, presented to him by the Earl of Glencairn, to write his version of graffiti on various window panes. This has been referred to in a number of books but the specific reference I quoted was taken from Dr. John Cairney’s ’ On The Trail of Robert Burns’ published by Luath Press Ltd., first in 2000.

The query was whether Burns used a diamond ring, as some works state, or a pen / stylus, and does the object still exist and if so where?

That set me off on a search, the kind of mission that I am sure is very familiar to Burnsians, to answer and hopefully find this holy grail.

You can read the rest of this at

History of Scottish Medicine to 1860
by John D. Comrie (1927).

A new book for you and I have up the first two chapters which you can read at

Chapter I - Early Medicine in Scotland
Healing wells - Amulets and charms - Monasteries and medicine - Michael Scot - Gaelic medical manuscripts - Priory of Torphichen - Sir James Sandilands.

Chapter II - Early Scottish Hospitals and Regulations for Isolation
Soutra-Kirk o' Field-Trinity Hospital - Hospital of Our Lady - Hospitals of St. Mary Magdalen - Hospital of St. Nicholas - Hospital of St. James - Spittal's Hospital - Nether Hospital - St. Thomas's Hospital - Cowane's Hospital - Leper Houses and Hospitals - Early Edicts, etc., regarding Leprosy and Syphilis.

Maps of Clan Lands
I have made some progress on this project and you can see the clans I've managed to add at

There is also a help page which explains more about this project at

Added a map for Clan Grant lands at

Mind that you can help with this project by sending me in pictures of your clan lands :-)

Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Our thanks to Nola Crewe for sending in more of these...

MICHAEL HOUSTON barrister and solicitor at law, and police magistrate of the city of Chatham, County of Kent, is descended from Scottish ancestry in both paternal and maternal lines.

The oldest member of the family of whom we have authentic record is Nathaniel Houston, the grandfather of Michael, who was born in Dalry, Scotland, about 1770, and there married Jane Dixon, who was born in 1773. Their children were: Alexander, Jennette, Jane, Robert and John M. Of this family, Robert, the father of Mr. Houston, was the first to come to Ontario, emigrating thither in 1825, at the age of 22 years. In due time all the other members of the family came also, and here the parents died. When Robert Houston reached Canada he settled first at Montreal, and later moved to Aldborough, where in 1829 he married Nancy Campbell, who was born in Argyllshire, Scotland, in 1806, three years later than her husband, who was born April 6, 1803. After marriage Robert Houston and his wife settled on a farm on what was known then as the Long Woods road, where they remained about two years. On April 10, 1832, they moved to a farm in Harwich township, County of Kent, where he spent the remainder of a useful life, dying April 10, 1897, just sixty-five years to a day from the date of his settlement at that place. His wife died in 1882. The following children were born to them: (1) Annie, born December 25, 1830, married E.P. Longford, of Harwich township. (2) Duncan, born March 6, 1833, married Catherine Ferguson, and resides on a part of the old farm in Harwich township. Their children are John D., a farmer of Raleigh, who married Effie Clark; Maggie, who married James Smith of Harwich; Annie, at home; Michael F., who married Sarah McKinley and is a farmer of Harwich; and Kittie, Tina and Walter, at home. (3) Margaret is the widow of John Richardson of Chatham. (4) John married Mary McKillop, of Harwich, and their children are Bessie, the wife of George Smyth; Alexander, who married Jennie Smyth; Annie; Margaret; Robert; John Jr; Mary and Duncan. (5) Michael is mentioned below. (6) Bessie married John R. Wood, of Appleton, Wisconsin, and they have six daughters.

Michael Houston, of Chatham, so well and favourably known throughout that locality, was born February 28, 1842, in Harwich township, County of Kent, on the old homestead, and there grew to manhood. His education was obtained in the public schools of Harwich, and he finished his course in the Chatham high school. In 1865 he creditably passed his primary examination in the law, and spent the winter of 1867-68 in the law school of the University of Michigan; later he became attached to the law office of Patterson, Harrison & Patterson, of Toronto, passing his final examination as barrister and solicitor in November, 1870. That year he settled in Chatham, and for a time attended to the business interests of E.W. Scane, but in January, 1871, he opened an office of his own, and continued in active practice alone until May 5, 1873, when he formed a partnership with E.W. Scane, the association continuing until Mr. Scane’s death in Spril, 1902.

On May 5, 1882, Judge Houston was appointed to his present responsible position, in connection with which he still continues in the practice of his profession. He is solicitor for the Chatham Gas Co., of which he is a director, and he is one of the trustees of the Public General Hospital.

On November 12, 1873, Mr. Houston married Miss Harriet Northwood, of Chatham, daughter of the late William Northwood. She was born July 28, 1852, and is a lady of education and social position. Four children have been born to this union, namely: Grace, who was educated at McMaster University; Margaret; Jessie, B.A., of the University of Toronto, class of 1902; and William, a student in the Collegiate Institute at Chatham. The beautiful modern home of Judge Houston and family is located on Victoria Avenue, in Chatham. Politically the Judge favours the Reform Party. The religious membership of the family is in the Baptist Church.

Mr. Houston is an able lawyer, well equipped in the ethics of his profession, a magistrate of most excellent discrimination, a business man of integrity, and a progressive, enterprising and representative citizen.

You can read other biographies at

Die Drummonds
Our thanks for this German translation of our page on The Drummond which you can read at

RUAIRIDH (Rory) ‘Breac’ MacNEIL
A Case Study based on the application of the Genealogical Proof Standard to the story of an 18th century pioneer in Cape Breton. The study assembles and correlates indirect evidence to resolve an identity question.

I was sent in a link to this article and was mightily impressed with the sheer amount of detective work that went into this and actually read the whole article. You might like to view this yourself at on the contents page (Legends and Lore), the only active button, at the moment, is "His Story".

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


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