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31st July 2009

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

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Dear Friend

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. In the event the link is not clickable simply copy and paste the link into your browser.

See o
ur Calendar of Scottish Events around the world and add your own at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Poetry and Stories
The Writings of John Muir
Book of Scottish Story
Old World Scotland
The Bark Covered House
Fraser's Scottish Annual
Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
The Sailor Whom England Feared (New Book)
Recollections of a Long Life 1829 - 1915 (New Book)
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree - August Edition
Robert Burns Lives!
Oor Mither Tongue (New Book)
"Curdies" a Glasgow Sketch Book (New Book)
John's Scottish Sing-Along
The Life of St Margaret (New complete book)
FamilyTreeDNA at the Clan Gathering in Edinburgh

Our Aois Community continues to move ahead and at time of writing last week we had 171 active members. At time of writing this week We now have 276 active members. This newsletter was read 618 times which of course indicates that many of you are reading it as a Guest. I might just add that joining the Aois Community is free and by joining you'll get an email alert when a new issue is posted.

Steve is in the process of installing a new Arcade system which promises to fix the saving of the high scores problem we were having with the current system.


Lots of new books and projects on the go this week for which see more below.


I've also completed this quarters Canadian Journal. As you may know if you've been following this that I only intended to keep it going up to getting Permanent Landed Status. It was suggested that I might keep it going up and so I have but now only quarterly and really just keeping track of some highlights during the quarter.

You can view this latest entry at


As you'll know from various entries in here over the months I've been trying to tell a story about the Scotland of Today but have had zero luck with getting anyone to help with this. I have actually written to BP, the Oil Company, to see if they could help. When my father worked for them and was sent to Kuwait to source, install and run a computer system for Kuwait Oil Company I remembered he had to take a course to familiarise himself with Kuwait and the people.

I thus thought that perhaps they also do a course to familiarise people with the UK when employees from other countries come to work in the UK. And so I emailed there Press Office to see if they could help and I also emailed a member of this newsletter list who has a bpconnect email address. So far I haven't heard back from them but ever hopeful.

I only mention this in case one of you work for an International organisation and if so you might enquire if your own company does some kind of course to introduce fellow employees to the UK. And if they do I'd appreciate a contact to explore the possibility of them sharing information with us.

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 or on our site menu.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie in which he covers the Johnnie Walker petition and the upcoming by-election in Glasgow.

You can read the Flag at

Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is not available as the Parliament are now on the Summer recess.

Clans and Families
We got in information on the Clan Denovan which you can read at

We also got in some pictures from Clan MacIntyre showing them at the Clan Gathering in Edinburgh which you can see at

We got in a mini bio of Currie's in Australia which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
We've posted up the famous poem "John Tamson's Bairns" which I'm sure you'll enjoy reading at

You can read other stories in our Article Service and even add your own at

The Writings of John Muir
We're now onto our 10th and final volume which brings to a close the final years of his life. Added this week are...

Chapter XI. On Widening Currents, 1873-1875
Chapter XII. "The World Needs The Woods," 1875-1878
Chapter XIII. Nevada, Alaska, and a Home, 1878-1880
Chapter XIV. The Second Alaska Trip and the Search for the Jeannette, 1880-1881
Chapter XV. Winning a Competence, 1881-1891
Chapter XVI. Trees and Travel, 1891-1897

From chapter XII we see how tough life can get although he seems to shrug it off very easily...

On the 28th of April he led a party to the summit of Mount Shasta for the purpose of finding a proper place to locate the monument of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Two days later he made another ascent with Jerome Fay in order to complete some barometrical observations. While engaged in this task a fierce storm arose, enveloping them, with great suddenness, in inky darkness through which roared a blast of snow and hail. His companion deemed it impossible under the circumstances to regain their camp at timber-line, so the two made their way as best they could to the sputtering fumaroles or 'Hot Springs" on the summit. The perils of that stormy night, described at some length in "Steep Trails," were of a much more serious nature than one might infer from the casual reference to the adventure in the following letter.

To Mrs. Ezra S. Carr

1419 TAYLOR ST., May 4th, 1875


Here I am safe in the arms of Daddy Swett - home again from icy Shasta and richer than ever in dead river gravel and in snowstorms and snow. The upper end of the main Sacramento Valley is entirely covered with ancient river drift and I wandered over many square miles of it. In every pebble I could hear the sounds of running water. The whole deposit is a poem whose many books and chapters form the geological Vedas of our glorious state.

I discovered a new species of hail on the summit of Shasta and experienced one of the most beautiful and most violent snowstorms imaginable. I would have been with you ere this to tell you about it and to give you some lilies and pine tassels that I brought for you and Mrs. McChesney and ma Coolbrith, but alack! I am battered and scarred like a log that has come down the Tuolumne in flood-time, and I am also lame with frost nipping. Nothing serious, however, and I will be well and better than before in a few days.

I was caught in a violent snowstorm and held upon the summit of the mountain all night in my shirt sleeves. The intense cold and the want of food and sleep made the fire of life smoulder and burn low. Nevertheless in company with another strong mountaineer [Jerome Fay] I broke through six miles of frosty snow down into the timber and reached fire and food and sleep and am better than ever, with all the valuable experiences. Altogether I have had a very instructive and delightful trip.

The Bryanthus you wanted was snow- buried, and I was too lame to dig it out for you, but I will probably go back ere long. I'll be over in a few days or so.


You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Book of Scottish Story
Thanks to John Henderson for sending this book into us.

This week he's sent in chapter 1 of "Basil Rolland" which starts...

THE period at which the circumstances recorded in the following narrative happened was in the troubled year of 1639. At that time the points in dispute Dispute betwixt Charles and his subjects were most violently contested, and the partizans, of each were in arms all over the country, endeavouring, by partial and solitary operations, to gain the ascendancy for their faction. The first cause of these disturbances was the attempt of the monarch to establish Episcopacy over Scotland--a form of worship which had always been disliked by the Scotch, as they considered it but a single step removed front Popery. The intemperate zeal with which Charles prosecuted his views (occasioned by a misconception of the national character of his subjects), and his averseness to compromise or conciliation, first gave rise to the combination called the Covenanters ; weak at first, but in a short time too powerful to be shaken by the exertions of the High Churchmen.

One of the first and most politic steps taken by the Council of the Covenant, denominated "the Tables," was the framing of the celebrated Bond or Covenant ; the subscribers of winch bound themselves to resist the introduction of Popery and Prelacy, and to stand by each other in case of innovations on tire established worship. Charles seeing, at last, the strength of this association, uttered, in his turn, a covenant renouncing Popery; also dispensed with the use of the Prayer Book, the Five Articles of Perth, and other things connected with public worship which were obnoxious to the Covenanters.

During this contention, the citizens of Aberdeen remained firmly attached to the royal interest, and appear to have come in with every resolution that was adopted by the government. In 1638, a deputation from "the Tables," among whom was the celebrated Andrew Cant (from whom the mission was denominated "Cant's Visitation"), arrived in the town, for the purpose of inducing the inhabitants to subscribe the Covenant; but as their representations entirely failed of success, they Were obliged to desist. The Earl of Montrose arrived in Aberdeen Aberdeen in the spring of 1639, and, partly by the terror of his arms, partly by the representations of the clergy that accompanied him, succeeded in imposing the Covenant on the townsmen. After his departure, a body of the royalists, commanded by the Laird of Banff, having routed the forces of Fraser and Forbes, took possession of the town, and wreaked their vengeance on all who had subscribed the Covenant. They only remained days in the town, and, on their departure, it was occupied by the Earl of Marischal, who in turn harassed the royalists. As soon as Montrose heard of these occurrences, being doubtful of the fidelity of the inhabitants. He marched to Aberdeen again, again disarmed the citizens, and imposed a heavy fine upon them. The citizens, who had been impoverished by these unjust exactions, were somewhat relieved, when Montrose, their greatest scourge, after another short visit, marched into Angus and disbanded his army.

The rest of this chapter can be read at

All the other stories can be read at

Old World Scotland
Giving Glimpses of its Modes and Manners, By T. F. Henderson (1893).

We have now added the final chapter, Chapter XXII. The Union which now completes this book.

Here is how the chapter starts...

IN Scotland the accession of James VI. to the English throne was matter for almost boundless satisfaction. Short of the actual conquest of her "auld enemy," nothing could have touched the nation's vanity to anything like such pleasant purpose. Apparently the problem of the relationship between the two countries had been finally solved, and solved (from a Scottish point of view) in a fashion preposterously felicitous; but it was not long ere the honour done the northern kingdom was discerned to be no more than merely nominal. Except in the rewards bestowed on a few needy courtiers, the real and solid advantages that might have been expected to follow in its train were nowhere visible, while the drawbacks of the new connection were presently a matter of acute experience. Nominally the era of avowed hostility was closed, but the new departure proved as antagonistic to Scottish national interests as the ancient enmity itself. The mere transference of the Court from Edinburgh to London did not involve a great pecuniary loss; but the attention of the sovereign was now primarily occupied with the affairs of the wealthier and more powerful of his kingdoms, and the prosperity of the other became a matter of less vital concern to him. By retaining her legislature Scotland was supposed to retain her nationality, but it was the shadow without the substance, and the privilege was attended by evils as great as those of yore, with none of the old advantages and with no new ones to atone for their loss. Indeed there is no more striking fact in Scottish history than the miserable effect upon Scotland of the simple union of the crowns her condition was never more gloomy or more desperate than during the century or so that elapsed before the union of the parliaments.

The rest of this chapter can be read at

The book index page can be found at

The Bark Covered House
We have several new chapters up for you to read...

Chapter 13. Metheglin; or, the Detected Drink
Chapter 14. Our Road—How I Was Wounded
Chapter 15. Prospect of War—A.D. 1835
Chapter 16. Fishing and Boating
Chapter 17. How I Got in Trouble Riding in a Canoe
Chapter 18. Our Clearing and the First Railroad Cars in 1838
Chapter 19. Trees

Here is "Fishing and Boating" starts...

IN the spring of the year, when the ice broke up, in the creek, the pike (or pickerel) came up in great abundance from Detroit River, and they were easily caught. At such times the water was high in the creek, often overflowing its banks. Sometimes the Ecorse appeared like quite a river. We made a canoe of a white-wood log and launched it on the Ecorse. Sometimes we went fishing in the canoe. At such times it needed two, as the pickerel were fond of lying in shallow water or where there was old grass. By looking very carefully, on the surface of the water, I could see small ripples that the fishes made with their fins while they were sporting in their native element. By having a person in the back end of the canoe, pole it carefully, toward the place where I saw the ripples, we would get up in plain sight of them, and they could be either speared or shot.

I think the most successful way was shooting them, at least I preferred it. If the fish lay near the surface of the water, I held the gun nearly on it, and if it was six inches deep I held the gun six inches under it, and fired. In this way, for the distance of two or three rods, I was sure to kill them or stun them so that they turned belly up and lay till they were easily picked up with a spear. In this way I frequently caught a nice string. I have caught some that would weigh eight pounds apiece. Sometimes I stood on a log that lay across the creek and watched for them when they were running up. I recollect one cloudy afternoon I fished with a spear and I caught as many as I wanted to carry to the house. Sometimes they would be in a group of three, four or more together. I have seen them, with a big fish below, and four or five smaller ones above him, swimming along together as nicely as though they had been strung on an invisible string, and drawn along quietly through the water. I could see their wake as they were coming slowly up the creek keeping along one side of it. When I first saw them in the water they looked dark, I saw it was a group of fishes. It looked as though the smaller ones were guarding the larger one, at least they were accompanying it. They appeared to be very good friends, and well acquainted, and none of them afraid of being eaten up, but any of them would have eagerly caught the smaller ones of another species and swallowed them alive and whole. I do not know that they devour and eat their own kind, I think not often, for nature has given the pickerel, when young and small, the ability to move with such swiftness that it would be impossible for a larger fish to catch them. They will be perfectly still in the water, and if scared by anything they will start away in any direction like a streak. They go as if it were no effort and move with the rapidity of a dart. I have cut some of the large pickerel open and found whole fish in them, five or six inches long.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Fraser's Scottish Annual
We have added another article from this publication...

The Foundations of Scottish Character

Here is how it starts...

THE purpose I have in view is to point out some of the influences that have helped to form the best side of Scottish character, believing that these influences are of general application, with equally happy results, and that they ought to be cultivated by the young in Canada as in every other country. But it will be necessary to say something as to what Scottish character, as distinctive in itself, is, and where its foundations lie.

Ian Maclaren, who has so graphically described many phases of Scottish character in such books as "The Bonnie Brier Bush," "The Days of Auld Lang Syne," "Kate Carnegie," etc., in a lecture delivered a few years ago in Toronto, picked out for emphasis the "dour" side of the average Scot. The Scots' dourness does not consist of a love for contention or obstruction, nor from a desire to be disagreeable. Indeed, on the contrary, not a few of the virtues of the Scottish character arise from, or are associated with it. Etymologically, the word is easy enough, being derived from durus the Latin word for "hard,"—meaning hardy, vigorous, inflexible, firm as a rock. Here you have some valuable qualities which are discernible in the Scot. If the Scot should lack somewhat of the mental agility of, say the Frenchman, he can generally be relied upon. He lacks neither in firmness of will or force of character, and these are essential to the man who desires to forge ahead. The "dourness" of Ian Maclaren have been made the pivot merely for these remarks, but in itself it is an interesting, a somewhat picturesque indeed, feature of Scottish character. Intrepidity, boldness, endurance, austerity, pertinacity, have been ascribed to it, and even Burns finds in it the sting of the north wind when he says in "A 'Winter Night" :-

"When biting Boreas, fell and dour,
Sharp shivers through the leafless bower,
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glower,
Far south the lift;
Dim.dark'ning thro' the flaky show'r,
Or whirling drift.

You can read the rest of this article at

The other articles can be read at

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

This week we've added the mini bio of James M. Gardiner who for several years conducted a successful livery business in Chatham, has been a resident of the County of Kent for fifty years, during which time he has been a prominent, useful and highly esteemed citizen. The family is of Scotch extraction, the grandfather of James M. having been a native of Scotland, where he passed his whole life. His family consisted of six daughters and one son, William Gardiner.

You can read the bio at

The Sailor Whom England Feared
Being the Story of John Paul Jones, Scotch Naval Adventurer and Admiral in the American and Russian Fleets By M. Mac Dermot Crawford.

This is a new book we've started about the Father of the American Navy and as it happens also an Admiral in the Russian Navy.

AMONG the brilliant adventurers who passed meteor- like across the closing years of the eighteenth century, no name is better known than that of the famous Scotsman John Paul Jones.

The Preface sets the scene...

In response to his ardent plea for a sailor's life, he was apprenticed and sent to sea at the age of twelve to seek his fortune. He rose rapidly, unaided by favour or influence, and at nineteen became chief mate of a slaver, at twenty-one captain of a West India trading vessel; then came his experience as a Virginia planter. At twenty-eight he was commissioned lieutenant in the American Continental Navy, at twenty-nine became captain, at thirty-two commodore, "the ocean hero of the Old World and the New," spoiled, adulated, petted by great and small. Special envoy to the French Court at thirty- six; at forty, in commemoration of the victory of the Bonhomme Richard over the Serapis, voted a gold medal by Congress; and now the thread of life shows its first sign of wearing. . . . A vice-admiral in the Navy of the Russian Empress at forty-three, waiting for the last brilliant chapters to be written; at forty- five dead!

At heart he was a free-lance, without a country, without family; he had his brief hour, his life was like "the stuff that dreams are made of." He left no book of his hopes, his secrets, for us to pore over. Self- contained being that he was, we do not know if the mystery of his parentage ever sorrowed him. He asked nothing from the world but fame and glory, and these he may justly claim, for who does not—if but in a vague way—know the name of that "rebel," "corsair" and "pirate," Paul Jones?

We now have several chapters up which can be read at

Recollections of a Long Life 1829 - 1915
By Isaac Stephenson (1915)

Again the Preface of this book sets out the scene of this Scots-Irish gentleman...

IN undertaking to set down, so that others may read, the recollections of my own personal experiences during three-quarters of a century or more, it is not my purpose to trespass upon the field either of the historian or of the commentator by attempting to interpret the events which came directly or indirectly under my observation.

Nor is it my purpose to point a moral. What I have written is no more than a concise narrative of what befell me, of the difficulties I encountered, the disappointments I suffered and the triumphs I achieved, the fortunes and misfortunes that were dealt out to me by my controlling destiny.

There are few men living who have had so varied, certainly so long, a career as I. It is a far cry from the agitation over the northeastern boundary controversy in 1839 to the vicissitudes of latter-day politics in 1915. Many things have happened within that spice of time. The greater portion of the country has been transformed from a wilderness into a cultivated and settled area. Railroads have intersected it; cities have been built; and its vitality has awakened to the pulsations of a highly organized commercial life.

In that epoch of progress I moved as an individual with the flowing stream, but I no less than the others have seen something of the changes that have been wrought, the decay of old customs and the growth of new, the succession of problems from meeting the rigors of the wilderness to the adjustment of social and economic relations in the complex civilization of to-day. If this viewpoint from a lengthy perspective will enable anyone who may read to measure with greater accuracy of vision the advantages and disadvantages of the shifting present, I shall count what I have written as of some value.

The migration of the lumbermen of the Maine and New Brunswick forests in the early part of the last century the greatest center of the industry in the world - is one of the interesting phases of the pioneer period of American history. They blazed a way with restless energy into the timbered wilderness of Pennsylvania, of Wisconsin and Michigan, of Minnesota, of the mountain region of the far West and finally finally of the Pacific coast. From ocean to ocean the tide has moved within the span of my own lifetime.

A part of that course it was my lot to travel. I journeyed from Maine to Boston by sea, from Boston to Albany by train, from Albany to Buffalo by canal-boat and thence over the Great Lakes, the main thoroughfare from the expanding West, to Milwaukee before the railroads extended beyond Buffalo and many of the great cities of the country were more than a name. Of the early settlements along Green Bay and the northern peninsula of Michigan struggling for foothold on the verge of what seemed to be almost illimitable forests I have watched the growth, and the wilderness I have seen melt away before the encroaching stretch of farms.

My experiences were, in large measure, the experiences of those who set the pace of achievement under these conditions. I worked with them exploring the forests, in the logging camps, on the rivers and at the mills, and sailed with them on Lake Michigan as seaman, mate, and master.

Favored by circumstance, I covered wider fields than most of them. From the time I fell under the eye of my mother's cousin, Christopher Murray, at Murray Castle, Spring Hill, New Brunswick, when I was four years old, it was my good fortune to attract the attention and enjoy the confidence of many men. I came to the West as a member of the household of Jefferson Sinclair, the greatest practical lumberman of his time; was associated in business with William B. Ogden, at one time mayor of Chicago, also one of the towering figures of his day; and numbered among my friends Samuel J. Tilden and a host of other men of large affairs - lawyers, railroad builders, bankers, manufacturers - who set the seal of their energy upon the broadening destiny of the country,—pioneers, no less, of their kind.

By reason, no doubt, of the knowledge I had gained of conditions in northern Wisconsin and Michigan and the training I had received at the hands of Mr. Sinclair, a score of offers of employment were made to me by men who desired me to take charge of lumbering, mining, land, and railroad-building enterprises. It is possible, therefore, that some idea of the difficulties these men encountered and the ordeals through which they passed may be gathered from this narrative, although it is a purely personal one, my own story told in my own way.

Whether a comparison of the present manner of living with that which prevailed in those early days would point the way to reforms I doubt much. Changing standards offer a cloak for lapses from hard-and-fast rules of conduct, and the judgments of one generation are held not to apply in another. None the less the necessity which confronted these hewers of wood and drawers of water was a wholesome stimulant. The long days of hard work bred sturdy, if not facile, character a lesson which no age is too advanced in wisdom to learn.

In this time of social and economic readjustment it might be well to remember that their achievement was due to industry and thrift and that the opportunity which looms large in retrospect was less apparent in their immediate environment than that which the future now seems to hold.

Too often, as I see it, the background of toil and struggle is left to hazy outline while the results of their labors are blazoned forth in vivid colors. Accordingly is the measure of their compensation exaggerated and the extent of their effort minimized. What allurement did the prospect of an isolated wilderness possess for those who turned their faces westward? The prairies stretched for almost countless miles to regions unmapped and unexplored. The pine forests had no bounds. With such abundance mere possession availed nothing. The only wealth to be obtained was wrested from them by grinding labor; and these men labored from dawn to twilight, valorous, undaunted, and unafraid.

I have seen this period of construction pass and the chief function of government change, for the moment at least, from the stimulation to the regulation of effort. In the cycle of progress and growth of a country so blessed with abundance as ours, this, no doubt, is necessary. Adroitness has in too many cases been made to serve the purposes of toil. But in the light of the philosophy of my own experience I should choose my steps carefully lest I put upon honest effort an unnecessary burden or take from it its just reward. Progressivism and reform are a resonant shibboleth. I should demand from those who cry it other credentials than a loud voice.

Whether, when viewed from the perspective of a hundred years hence, it will be observed that greater progress was made in the earlier years of the nineteenth century than in the earlier years of the twentieth, I shall not presume to predict. I only hope that progress has been made, is being made, and will continue to be made without let or hindrance and that the problems of life will be met and solved as they arise, to the happiness and contentment of human kind. ISAAC STEPHENSON.

We now have several chapters up which can be read at

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
The August edition is now available and included are a couple of interviews with clan chiefs. You can read this issue at

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

The Honorary Graduation of Professor G. Ross Roy

This will be an easy introduction regarding a much beloved and respected Burns scholar. Professor G. Ross Roy was recently recognized by the University of Glasgow with an honorary doctorate degree. Before we learned of this honor, my wife and I had already planned the Scottish “trip of a lifetime” with our family, including our two grandchildren Ian and Stirling. Otherwise, had it been just the two of us, we would have changed our plans to be present for the ceremony honoring Dr. Roy. As it happened, he was on the way back the day we were travelling to Scotland…two ships passing in the sky, you might conclude. We did raise a glass of wine to him at 35,000 feet. Thomas Keith, Burns scholar from New York City, was fortunate to make the trip and represented a vast number of us who wished we could have been present for the festivities.

I enlisted the help of Dr. Rhona Brown, who was present and who serves on the faculty of the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Literature Department, to write the article below about the event. I deeply appreciate her comments and think it is one of the better articles submitted to our readers about a man who has been referred to as “The Chairman of the Bard”. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did, and I hope you pass it along to others who have respect and love for not only Robert Burns but for  G. Ross Roy as well. (FRS: 7.30.09)

You can read this article at

You can get to all the articles at

Oor Mither Tongue
An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Verse by Ninian Macwhannell (1938) and our thanks to John Henderson for sending this into us.

This Anthology is the outcome of "Talks" on Modern Scots Vernacular Verse given to Literary Associations during the last thirty years. During that period our own sons and daughters have given us excellent Vernacular Verse, which, unfortunately, is not so well known as it should be.

The Editor has kept himself in touch with that poetry, and has waled his selection from it.

His object has been to make these writers better known and to stir up a livelier interest in the Vernacular, which, though not now a spoken language, is still a language of literature - brimful of couthy and sappy words and pithy phrases.

John is scanning in this book by Author and so on the index page you'll see the list of authors and their poems. When you click on an author it will bring up a pdf file giving the poems from that author.

You can see this at

"Curdies" a Glasgow Sketch Book
By Hugh S. Roberton and our thanks to John Henderson for sending this into us.

Another new book we're adding to the site. The brief foreword to the book says...

This book, containing, as it does, what might be called the small change of journalism, I have entitled CURDIES. That it may bring half as much joy to the reader as that small coin of the realm was wont to bring to me when I was a boy is my fervent wish.

The sketches have appeared variously in The Daily Express, The Daily Record, and The Glasgow Evening News.

Hugh S. Roberton

John is scanning these stories in pdf format and the index page will get you to each file which you can get to at

Actually they're quite amusing stories and I've enjoyed reading the first two...

Chapter I - The He'rt o' a Lion
Chapter II - The Blantyre Bodie

John's Scottish Sing-Along
Some of you likely know John Henderson who writes his own poems and does historical and genealogy work now he's retired from Scotland and now lives in Cyprus.

He suggested to me that I should have a section for some old favourite Scottish Songs on the site that we can sing along with. I thought this was an excellent idea and so John is now going to contribute ones each week so we can build a grand collection of songs.

And so we're now starting to build this and as we add a song and go to its page you'll see the text of the song on the page and after a short delay the song will be sung to you and you can sing along if you so desire

We have available this week...

Flower of Scotland
Granny's Heilan Hame
The Star O' Rabbie Burns

You can find these songs at

The Life of St Margaret
Life of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland By Turgot, Bishop of St Andrews, translated from the Latin by William Forbes-Leith

Born about 1045, died 16 Nov., 1092, was a daughter of Edward "Outremere", or "the Exile", by Agatha, kinswoman of Gisela, the wife of St. Stephen of Hungary. She was the granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. A constant tradition asserts that Margaret's father and his brother Edmund were sent to Hungary for safety during the reign of Canute, but no record of the fact has been found in that country. The date of Margaret's birth cannot be ascertained with accuracy, but it must have been between the years 1038, when St. Stephen died, and 1057, when her father returned to England. It appears that Margaret came with him on that occasion and, on his death and the conquest of England by the Normans, her mother Agatha decided to return to the Continent. A storm however drove their ship to Scotland, where Malcolm III received the party under his protection, subsequently taking Margaret to wife. This event had been delayed for a while by Margaret's desire to entire religion, but it took place some time between 1067 and 1070.

This book is made available to you through 6 small pdf files which can be reached at

FamilyTreeDNA at the Clan Gathering in Edinburgh
As Bennett and I just returned from The Gathering 2009, we would like to share with you a short press-release that we wrote about our presence there. This was our busiest event ever, to the point that Bennett and I could not leave our stand for not even a minute, and therefore, our plans to visit all the Clans tents had to be set aside. But we met many friends that came to our booth and we had the opportunity to "swab" a lot of people from many places and Clans.

At the bottom of this release there's a link to the page that we setup at Family Tree DNA, which contains this message, as well as a few pictures from that magnificent event.

All the Clans should be proud of it, and Bennett and I really feel privileged of being there!

DNA testing - the talk of the Scottish Gathering of the Clans

One of the 47,000 participants at The Gathering 2009, the largest assembly of Scottish Clans ever, Tom MacDonald travelled from Australia to Scotland, and one of the highlights of his trip was to have a DNA test to try and prove his connection to the MacDonald of Sleat.

Houston based Family Tree DNA, the pioneer and largest DNA testing company, was a sponsor and official DNA testing organization at The Gathering 2009, which saw 130 Clans participating in Highland Games during the weekend of the 25th and 26th of July at the Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

Like Tom, thousands had the opportunity to learn about genetic genealogy, either by listening to the presentations or by learning directly from Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld, the heads of Family Tree DNA, about how a DNA test could help them connect to others and verify relationships.

Asked why he was taking the DNA test, another visitor, a McNeil from Canada, said "I was thinking of doing this test for a while, and having the company with the largest database here at The Gathering gave me no excuse not to have the test done. Now I can try and find other McNeils to whom I may be related and hopefully further my own genealogy research."

During an exclusive reception offered by Alexander Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, Greenspan and Blankfeld were thanked by the organizers for participating in that important event, and promised to return on the occasion of the next Gathering. Said Bennett Greenspan, the founder and CEO of Family Tree DNA: "Being part of this large reunion was something of unique significance, not only because of its magnitude, but also because of the growing interest in DNA testing that we saw among the participants, many of which took the opportunity to test their DNA - which now has definitely consolidated its place as one of the important tools for genealogists."

Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes that had previously been available only for academic and scientific research. Almost a decade later, the Houston-based company has processed over 500,000 tests for its own customers as well as for the public participants of National Geographic and IBM's Genographic Project, and, with the largest DNA databases for genealogy purposes, it continues to establish standards and create new milestones in the increasingly popular and rapidly growing field of genetic genealogy.

Since its inception, Family Tree DNA has been associated with the Genomics Analysis and Technology Core at the University of Arizona as well as some of the world’s leading authorities in the fields of Genetics and Anthropology. In 2006 Family Tree DNA established the state-of-the-art Genomics Research Center at its headquarters in Houston, Texas, where it currently performs R&D and processes over 200 types of advanced DNA tests for its customers, which include not only genealogists, but also academic and research organizations from around the world.

This press-release and event related pictures can be found here:

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


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