"O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent;
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content"
Robbie Burns

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Scottish Journey

My first yearning to visit Scotland began in 1992 when I finished reading Diane Galabadon's OUTLANDER. After years of working, going to college part time  and raising my kids, I finally had time to read historical fiction. I fell in love from cover to cover, more with Scotland's history than with the charming Jamie Fraser. I knew from family history we were Scots/Irish and had always had, oddly enough, a love for the skirl of the pipes. But it wasn't until my sister asked me if I would like help with some family research, that the real possibility of traveling to Scotland formed.

After two years of struggling through files/films of fiche at the local LDS Family History Center, I learned my great great grandparents (William Clarke and Isabella Mctaggart) had come from the tiny parish of Rerrick, Kirkcudbright, located in the southwest corner of Scotland called Galloway. At first I was disappointed they were Lowlanders, but it took only one visit in 1994 to change my mind and heart. Traveling the rolling hills filled with sheep and the ever green landscape, I understood why my ancestors settled for the gentle farmland of southern Wisconsin; so much like "hame". During that first visit we actually found the house where  my gggrandmother was born creating an incredible feeling of longing and belonging. 

Since that first visit I have been fortunate enough to travel to Scotland two more times, most recently this fall. Part of this recent visit was to use the National Archives in Edinburgh and to visit with my professors at the University of Dundee, where I am enrolled in an online archival program. I'll share more about the visit to the archives in future postings as well as my experiences (and pictures, if I can figure out how to do this) of this past trip as well as past trips to Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. I also want to share what is happening in Scotland today, which seems to slip under the radar of the American media.  

Anyone else have experience doing family research in Scotland? Care to  share it. 


Edie said...

Jody, great blog! Is that your great grandparents? And the parish where they came from? It's gorgeous!

I'd love to visit Scotland. I have a Scottish calendar up, and it has fabulous pictures. It's in my kitchen, by my phone. I figure it was a way of keeping my goal in sight. :)

Vonda Sinclair said...

I loved reading your post about Scotland! I too am in love with Scotland! It is the home of my heart. Thank you also for putting a link to Fierce Romance here!! Would you like us to put your link on our blog? I look forward to reading more of your posts about your travels!

Fraoch said...

That would be great if you could put a link to your blog for this one. Btw those are my gggrandparents, not sure when the photos were taken but were done here in the US. We also have pictures of all their children as well. Recently. I have hooked up with a cousin in England, his 4th great grandparents are my 5th great grandparents. Our great grand parents married in 1774 in Scotland and had 8 boys and 3 girls.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Wow, that's amazing!! My ancestors have been here so long it's difficult to research them back to the old country, since the mid 1600s. I strongly suspect they are mainly Scots-Irish and originally from the Lowlands.

Beachreader said...

I love your blog so far. Am looking forward to reading more.

Fraoch said...

Yep those my ggrandparents. As to a the parish, well it is about two blocks long and you don't dare blink or you will miss it but is very quaint and off the beaten path.

Fraoch said...

Beachreader (Maudeen)
Glad you stopped by for a look see. Went to Rosslyn this time and it was so different compared to our last visit. More later on about this place-which you know is my favorite place in Scotland.

Donna K. said...

Hi Jody!

Voted for Gerard Butler...sigh. LOL Great blog! I used to LOVE Scottish historical romances, but haven't read one in years. Julie Garwood may have been the last....I'll have to dig one out of my closet now. :-)

~Donna Kowalczyk

Shari Anton said...

Great blog, Jody! Looking forward to hearing more about your visits to Scotland, etc. I'm sure you'll be posting pictures, too, right? :)

Fraoch said...

Hi Donna and Shari
Thanks for taking a look a the site, as to pictures, more will show up later. I will post a new one every couple of days. I have some wonderful ones from Stonehenge and the Welsh Castle Chepstow.

Susanne Saville said...

Great blog! I've always loved Scotland, too. Look forward to reading more. :)

- Susanne
Vampire Close - vampires in contemporary Edinburgh

Anonymous said...

Great blog, Jody. Scotland is definitely one of the places I want to see ... even though there's not a drop of scots blood in me ... strictly polish. It's such a beautiful country and will be well worth the trip.

Liz Kreger

Fraoch said...

Liz and Suzanne
Thanks for the comments. And Liz, Bonnie Prince Charlie was half polish as his mother was from Poland so the Scots and Polish have a connection.