Archive for March 3rd, 2009

Roots and Wings


My grandparents immigrated to Canada when my mother was a toddler. When I was growing up, they would refer to “The Old Country”. We received a letter from The Old Country. Back in The Old Country…. It was quite a while before I realized that The Old Country was Scotland. My grandparents never spoke a great deal about their younger years. I knew that my grandfather had grown up in Busby, in the Glasgow area, and that his father Adam had been a minister. Adam and his wife Jane had a large family. My grandfather was one of 11. After moving to Canada, contact with most of those relatives was lost. Recently, my sister and I were contacted by a cousin who is assembling a family tree and doing a great job of rediscovering our lost ancestry. He kindly shared photos of the ancestral home south of Dunbeath, on the northeast coast of Scotland. Pictured above are the remains of Rhian Croft, where my great-great-great-grandparents raised their family. Below is the graveyard where my great-great-grandfather and other long-ago kin are buried.


I was raised to think of myself as Canadian. Not Scottish, not Scottish-Canadian. I don’t play the bagpipes or do Scottish dancing. I can’t even roll my Rrrrrrrrrrrr’s, which really even a Canadian should be able to do for Roll Up the Rim! Still, that Scottish heritage feels important. I would like to travel to Dunbeath to see this place for myself.

In the coming week, my niece will be traveling to Ireland. While studying at the University of Toronto, she fell under the thrall of history. She studied Irish history, and as her father’s family is of Irish descent, she is excited about exploring both historical landmarks and her own roots. What a wonderful journey of discovery. I’m sure this will be a great experience to preface her post-student life. Good luck and Bon Voyage, Historygirl!


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