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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - June/July 2003
The Other 70%


SDFA member, Mike Croft, gave me an article with a great deal of research on his family name and the areas where it has been found.  These include Angus, Inverness, Galloway, and Caithness.  With his permission I am including excerpts of his article referencing the Angus District.

Angus is our home county.  About halfway up the coast of Scotland, Angus is bounded by Kincardineshire to the north and Perthshire to the west, with the Tay estuary forming its southern boundary.  Angus was in the heartland of the ancient kingdom of the Picts and it was here at Dunnichen near Forfar, that the Battle of Nechtansmere took place in 685 between a Pictich army under King Bruide and Northumbrian invaders led by King Egfrith.  The Picts' triumph effectively ended Northumbrian expansion northwards.  Today, one can still see many excellent examples of Pictish standing stones. The group at Aberlemno is particularly fine.

In 1320, the stirring Declaration of Arbroath, affirming Scotland's freedom, was approved at Arbroath Abbey.  At about the same time, Glamis Castle, the most famous castle in the county, was being built.  The family home of HM the Queen Mother and the birthplace of Princess, Margaret, Glamis is also renowned for its ghosts and its connection with Shakespear's MacBeth. Forfar was once famed for its witches and indeed employed a professional witchfinder at one stage.  In the town's Meffan museum you'll find the Witch's Bridle, a grisly iron collar with a blunt spike which was forced into the unfortunate witch's mouth to stop her screaming while she was being burned at the stake.

Although its population is only about 7000, Brechin is the only 'city' in Angus as it has a little cathedral initially founded in the 13th century. Standing pencil-slim beside the cathedral is a round tower, the oldest in Scotland (there is only one other, at Abernathy), built by Culdee monks in about 1000 AD.

Arbroath (pop 25,000) is the largest Angus town, and home of the famous Abbey, which was founded in 1178.  It was at the Abbey in 1320 that the Declaration of Scottish Independence was signed outlining the desire of the Scottish people for self-determination.

From such auspicious beginnings the growth of Arbroath continued over the years, but the real boom time came as the flax and engineering industries began to expand, leading to an ever-increasing population.  Today industry continues to play an important part in the economy of the town with a variety of activities ranging from fish food processing to engineering and textiles.  Still a working port Arbroath's harbor remains an attractive focal point for the town.  At the harbor, the mouth-watering scent of that famous Arbroath delicacy, the Smokie, wafts from the surrounding smokehouses.

Arbroath also has a long-established reputation as a holiday resort, with fine sands, leisure facilities, and the annual Sea Fest - a three day celebration of the town's maritime heritage.  Just outside Arbroath is the busy village of Friockheim and the 18th  Century House of Pitmuies with its beautiful gardens.

More than most any other county, Angus is a microcosm of Scotland, with rich farmland in Strathmore, wide sandy beaches and fishing towns in the east, highland mountains and glens to the north, and several very typical Scottish towns (and football teams!) dotted here and there.  There's even an industrial city (Dundee) to the south, although it's not  actually in Angus.  The county is also renowned for it gastronomic delicacies - Angus beef, Forfar bridies, and Arbroath smokies to name but three.

Family names connected with the county include Carnegie, Guthrie, Gardyne, Lindsay, Lyon, and Graham, and for many years the powerful Red Douglas family held the earldom of Angus.  Having said that, the most common surname in the local telephone directory is SMITH!

Article submitted by Judith Lloyd


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