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Doon Valley Miner's book acknowledgement

Posted on January 19, 2016 at 12:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I have recently been acknowledged in the latest book by Ayrshire writer and historian Donald Lees Reid published 1 November 2015 as "The Last Miners of Ayrshire's Doon Valley" http://www.amazon.in/Last-Miners-Ayrshires-Doon-Valley/dp/0956634354 My article concentrated on the Dalmellington ancestry of the Williamson family, some of whom later emigrated to Canada.

Whiskey Women book acknowledgement

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Whiskey Women – the Untold Story of how women saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey by Wall Street Journal best-selling author Fred Minnick was published by Potomac Books in October 2013 and can be readily purchased on www.Amazon.co.uk. It is a fascinating account of how women have been involved in the distillation of spirits from the early Mesopotamian era, through the Middle Ages, to bootlegging in the US Prohibition era and right up to modern times where women have...

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The Queer Folk o' the Shaws

Posted on September 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (1)

My maternal grandparents lived most of their married life in a south side district of Glasgow called Pollokshaws and my grandmother used to say that she was ‘one o’ the queer folk o’ the Shaws’. When I quizzed her about this she told me that the queer folk were originally Flemish weavers who had been brought over to Pollokshaws by the landowners, the Maxwells of Pollok, because of their exceptional weaving skills. Over time the appendage of ‘queer folk’ was...

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The Art of Genealogy update

Posted on May 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (9)

In my January blog I talked about commissioning a painting based on the family legend that my grandfather John McGee talked about when an artist came to Springside near Dreghorn in Ayrshire. The artist chose my grandfather to represent the wee boy having thistles pulled from his foot by an old man. This was the brand image for Isdale & McCallum's Paisley soap manufacturers, the Thistle Soap Company. If the painting was done it would have been about 1899-1900; however, the brand image can ...

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The Art of Genealogy

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (2)

In researching my own McGee family history my Uncle Duncan related a family legend passed down by my grandfather, also John McGee. My grandfather was born in the hamlet of Springside in the parish of Dreghorn in Ayrshire in 1893. My grandfather told Duncan that when he was a wee boy an artist came to Springside and he required an old man and a wee boy to pose for a painting that he had been commissioned to do. My grandfather maintains that he was chosen as the wee boy and the painting was cal...

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Frank Sinatra and the Coll Girl

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I have just finished a recent commission for a US client and his Scottish ancestry traced back to the remote isle of Tiree in the Western Isles. I have not been to Tiree but it reminded me of the time that my wife and I went for a week's holiday on the adjacent isle of Coll in the late 1980s. At that time the island had only one hotel and one bed & breakfast and the nearest policeman was stationed on Tiree! We were on the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Oban to Coll and we got talking to ...

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Old Postcards etc. research

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Recently I came across a World War 1 Field Service postcard dated July 1915 sent from a soldier surnamed Smith in France to his young son also surnamed Smith living in Parkhead, Glasgow, Ecosse. I have an interest in old postcards for myself but I also saw this as a challenge to my genealogical skills. Would it be possible to reunite this almost 100 year old card with a living Smith relative. Using the name and address I was able to establish that the family were recorded at that address in t...

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Researching McCallum and Wallace

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This week's research will concentrate on two main Scottish ancestry lines, the first being McCallum. This one is going to be quite tricky as it is trying to prove a family legend that the McCallum in question spent some time doing his schooling on the Isle of Skye. It appears that if this is true then it must have happened outwith the Scottish censuses of 1881 and 1891 as they firmly place the boy in the infamous Gorbals ('No Mean City') in Glasgow. The plan is to research school records held...

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Researching Stewart & Thomson

Posted on September 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

This week's key lines of research were spent on the surnames Stewart and Thomson. The Stewart line, a noble Scottish clan, was a bit fruitless and I found myself stuck at a very modern 1890! As far as I could determine neither the Stewart parents nor the son appeared to be born in Scotland and also unlikely to be from England. I could be log-jammed here but there is still one opening line of research. The Stewart son served in a Scottish regiment during WW2, so obtaining his British Army serv...

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