It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
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this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.
See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at
Micro Button Adertisers - Celtic Journeys
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
A Group of Scottish Women
Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dunedin and South Otago (new book)
Scots Humour and Heroism
Family Tree DNA
UHI Millennium Institute
Inauguration of the Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic
History of the Camerons
Bits of Electric Scotland - Friends of Grampian Stones
I was back in Toronto this week for a dinner given by the UHI Millennium
Institute of the Highlands & Islands in Scotland for the board of the
Scottish Studies Foundation. I've added a wee bit about them which you can
I've also just started a new book about some of the early settlers of New
Zealand and again you can read more about this below.
Next week I'll be sending this newsletter from Kentucky as I'm due to head
down there for a couple of weeks to work with Steve on various things for
the site. I also plan to head over to South Carolina to see Beth Gay and
would like to head back to Canada through North Carolina so see if I can
find anything interesting about all those Scots that settled there. Should
any of you have any suggestions on where I might go do feel free to send me
I might add that if anyone would like to put me up for a couple of nights in
North Carolina where you also have broadband Internet access and could take
a day off to take me around Scottish sites I'd be very happy to hear from
I'm not sure how much content I'll get up while I'm away but will do my best
to keep getting something up each day.
Got up some new pictures on the index page on the town of Newstonmore where
the Highland Folk Museum is and also the Clan MacPherson museum.
ABOUT THE STORIES
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 and pick up poems and
stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and
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Small Group Tours Available for 2007
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Culloden Battlefield, private tour of Duart Castle with the Ancestral Chief
of Clan MacLean, Spean Bridge and the Commando Memorial, and the Pass of
Killiecrankie. Orkney: the Churchill Barriers, the Italian Chapel, Scapa
Flow. Mystical, mysterious tour highlights include Rosslyn Chapel, Kilmartin
Glen, Fort Dunadd, Iona Abbey (site of the burial of 48 Scottish kings
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Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenness, the Broch of Gurness, Scara Brae, Maes
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Other tours for 2007 include Beltane in Edinburgh ( 5 nights - April),
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THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks edition is by Allison Hunter and she is talking about the nuclear
situation in Scotland, the recent polls and how the SNP are setting up for
new relationships with Britain, Europe and the world.
Peter reminds us that Halloween is almost here and while he talks about
Turnip lanterns I note that in Canada and the USA they do seem to use
Pumpkins. Not sure what they use in Australia and New Zealand or other parts
of the world. Here is what he has to say...
The festival of Halloween was commemorated by our National Bard, Robert
Burns, in a splendid poem by that name. From his poem it is obvious that
18th century Scotland celebrated Halloween in fine fettle -
'Wi' merry sangs and frien'ly cracks
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery
Till buttered so'ens, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a steerin';
Syne wi' a social glass o' strunt
They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that nicht.'
A must for any Halloween ploy is a turnip lantern, made from a large round
turnip. From the top, cut off a thick slice - about a quarter of the whole -
and scoop out the inside, taking care not to break the skin. The resulting
"shell" should be as thin as possible, but a stump must be left at the
bottom and hollowed out to serve as a socket for a candle. Carve on the
"shell" a man-in the - moon face, or any devise that you wish eg skull and
crossbones, and make two holes at the top to enable you to make a handle.
The lantern when lit gives a soft luminous glow, and the carved face or
design stands out clearly. A popular game at any Halloween Party is "Doukin
fir Aipples" - a modern reminder of a by-gone ordeal by water - a large tub
of water is filled with apples and the master of ceremonies uses a spurtle (
representing a Druidic wand ) to keep the apples in constant motion. Each of
the company kneels by the tub, in turn, and tries to seize an apple in their
teeth without the aid of their hands. An alternative method of "catching"
your apple is to have a chair placed with its back against the tub and to
kneel on the chair and attempt to spear your apple. Any apple taken by mouth
or fork is yours to eat! If you fail to catch your apple, never fear, for
traditionally there is always an apple delight. eg pie or tart, for the
company to enjoy. This week’s recipe – Apple Cake – will not only be a
Halloween treat but a favourite all year round.
Ingredients: 4 oz (115 g) caster sugar; 4 oz (115 g) butter; 6 oz (175 g)
self raising flour; pinch of salt; ½ tsp mixed spice; 2 eggs; 3 tbsp stewed
Method: Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and flour etc and lastly the apple.
If raw apple is used a little water may be needed to make a dropping
consistency. Put mixture into a lightly greased tin and bake in a moderate
oven at Gas Mark 4, 180deg C, 350 deg F for 40 minutes. The mixture may also
be put into bun tins or paper case and baked for about 15 minutes.
You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots
Still haven't heard from MSP Linda Fabiani since she fell ill after her trip
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are now on the C's with Crichton, Cromarty, Crombie, Crossby, Cruden,
Cruikshank, Culen and Cullen added this week.
Mostly shorter entries this week but a good account of Crichton and thought
you might enjoy the bio of the "Admirable Crichton"
CRICHTON, JAMES, styled “The Admirable,” from his extraordinary endowments
both mental and physical, was the son of Robert Crichton of Eliock, lord
advocate of Scotland in the reigns of Queen Mary and James the Sixth, and
was born in 1557, or, according to some accounts, in 1560. His mother was
Elizabeth Stuart, only daughter of Sir James Stuart of Beith, a family
collaterally descended from Murdoch, duke of Albany, third son of Robert the
Third, by Elizabeth Mure, and uncle of James the First. Eliock-house, on
Eliock-burn, in the vale of the Nith, Dumfries-shire, is said to have been
the birthplace of the Admirable Crichton, and the apartment in which he was
born is carefully preserved in its original state. Soon after his birth, his
father sold Eliock to the Dalzells, afterwards earls of Carnwath, and
removed to an estate which he had acquired in the parish of Clunie in
Perthshire, a circumstance which h as occasioned the castle of Clunie to be
mistaken as the place of his nativity. He received the rudiments of his
education at Perth school, and completed his studies at the university of
St. Andrews, where he took his degree of M.A. at the age of fourteen. Before
he was twenty, he had mastered the whole circle of the sciences,, and could
speak and write ten different languages besides his own. He also excelled in
riding, dancing, fencing, painting, singing, and playing on all sorts of
On leaving college he went abroad to improve himself by travel. On his
arrival at Paris, in compliance with a custom of the age, he affixed
placards on the gates of the university, challenging the professors and
learned men of the city to dispute with him in all the branches of
literature, art, and science, and offering to give answers in any of the
following languages, viz. Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Spanish,
French, Italian, English, Dutch, Flemish, and Slavonic, and either in prose
or verse, at the option of his antagonist. On the day appointed three
thousand auditors assembled. Fifty masters proposed to him the most
intricate questions, and with singular accuracy he replied to them all in
the language they required. Four celebrated doctors of the church then
ventured to dispute with him; but he refuted every argument they advanced. A
sentiment of terror mingled itself with the admiration of the assembly. In
the superstitious feeling of those days they conceived him to be Antichrist!
This famous exhibition lasted from nine o’clock in the morning till six at
night. At the conclusion, the president expressed, in the most flattering
terms, their high sense of his talents and erudition, and amid the
acclamations of all present, bestowed on him a diamond ring with a purse of
gold. It was on this occasion that he was first saluted with the proud title
of “The Admirable Crichton!” During the interval between giving the
challenge, and the day appointed for accepting it, we are told, that so far
from preparing himself by study, he had devoted his time almost entirely to
amusements. The day after the disputation, he attended a public tilting
match in the Louvre, and in presence of the princess of France and a great
many ladies, bore away the ring fifteen times, and “broke as many landes on
Crichton afterwards appeared at Rome, and disputed in presence of the Pope,
when he again astonished and delighted the audience by the universality of
his attainments. He next went to Venice, where, becoming acquainted with
Aldus Manutius, the younger, he inscribed to hi one of the four little Latin
poems, which are all that remain to prove the poetical powers of this
“prodigy of nature,” as he was styled by Imperialis. Having been presented
to the doge and senate, he made an oration before them of surpassing
eloquence. Here also he disputed on the most difficult subjects before the
most eminent literari of that city.
He arrived in Padua in the month of March 1581. The professors of that
university assembled to do him honour, and on being introduced to them, he
made an extemporary poem in praise of the city, the university, and the
persons present, after which he sustained a disputation with them for six
hours, and at the conclusion delivered an unpremeditated speech in praise of
Ignorance, to the astonishment of all who heard him. He subsequently offered
to point out before the same university the innumerable errors in the
philosophy of Aristotle, and to expose the ignorance of his commentators, as
well as to refute the opinions of certain celebrated mathematicians, and
that in the common logical method, or by numbers or mathematical figures,
and by a hundred different kinds of verses; and we are assured that he
performed that stupendous task to the admiration of every one. After
defeating in disputation a famous philosopher named Archangelus Mercenarius,
he proceeded to Mantua, where he challenged in fight a gladiator, or
prize-fighter, who had foiled the most expert fencers in Europe, and had
already slain three persons who had entered the lists with him in that city.
On this occasion the duke and the whole court were spectators of the combat.
Crichton encountered his antagonist with so much dexterity and vigour that
he ran him through the body in three different places, of which wounds he
immediately expired. The victor generously bestowed the prize, fifteen
hundred pistoles, on the widows of the men who had been killed by the
The duke of Mantua, struck with his talents and acquirements, appointed him
tutor to his son, Vincentio di Gonzaga, a prince of turbulent disposition
and licentious manners. For the entertainment of his patron he composed a
comedy, described as a sort of ingenious satire on the follies and
weaknesses of mankind, in which he himself personated fifteen characters.
But his career was drawing to a close. One night during the festivity of the
Carnival in July 1582, or 1583, while he rambled about the streets playing
upon the guitar, he was attacked by six persons in masks. With consummate
skill he dispersed his assailants, and disarmed their leader, who, pulling
off his mask, begged his life, exclaiming, “I am the prince, your pupil!”
Crichton immediately fell upon his knees and presenting his sword to the
prince, expressed his sorrow for having lifted it against him, saying that
he had been prompted by self-defence. The dastardly Gonzaga, inflamed with
passion at his discomfiture, or mad with wine, immediately plunged the
weapon into his heart. Thus prematurely was cut off “the Admirable
Crichton.” Some accounts declare that he was killed in the thirty-second
year of his age; but Imperialis asserts that he was only in his
twenty-second year at the time of his death, and this fact is confirmed by
Lord Buchan. His tragical end excited a great and general lamentation.
According to Sir Thomas Urquhart, the whole court of Mantua went for nine
months into mourning for him; innumerable were the epitaphs and elegies that
were stuck upon his hearse; and portraits of him, in which he was
represented on horseback with a sword in one hand, and a book in the other,
were multiplied in every quarter. Such are the romantic details which are
given of the life of this literary phenomenon. Dr. Kippis, in the Biographia
Britannica, was the first to call in question the truth of the marvellous
stories related of him. But Mr. Patrick Fraser Tytler, in his Life of
Crichton, published in 1823, has adduced the most satisfactory evidence to
establish the authenticity of the testimonies and authorities on which the
statements regarding Crichton rest.
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read the other entries at
The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders
Added the August 1903 issue which contains...
Duncan MacDonald, Merthyr-Tydfil, Dreams, The Martial Music of the Clans, In
the Shadow of Ben Duirnish, The Cry Over the Waters, Clan Donnachaidh
Society, The Fairy Man, Highland Scenery and Climate in Relation to National
Music and Poetry, In a Rosh-Shire Garden, A Gaelic Oath, The Early Celtic
Church, A MacGregor Lament, Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch,
Concerning Aunt Betsy and Some Others, The Clan Donnachaidh.
You can read this issue at
You can see the issues to date at
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce, Esq
A Military Officer, in the services of Prussia, Russia and Great Britain
Added Book 8 this week which contains...
Army embark at Astrachan, 18th of July. - Variety of wild fowl on the little
islands. - Terki, the capital city of Circassia. - Herring in the Caspian. -
Voyage to Bustrow. - General Waterang's account from the province of Andreof.
- Circassia, and its inhabitants, their manners, religion, &c. -
Continuation of the voyage, and view of mount Caucasus, &c. - The army land
at Agrechan. - March into Asia. - Kindness of the Dagastan Tartars. - The
army pass the river Sulack. - General Wateraang joins the army. -
Embarrassed on their march, a severe punishment of the officers of the
guards. - Arrive at Tarku, with a description of the Dagestan Tartars. -
Interview with the ladies. - The Dagastan ladies wait on the empress. -
Erect a monument at Tarku, and march for Derbent through a fine country. -
Sultan Udenack's cruelty, and its consequences. - Twenty desperate Tartars.
- A beautiful Tartar youth slain. - Undaunted resolution of the priest. -
Arrive at Derbent. - Description of the city. - Remarkable Tombs. -
Alexander and Malkehatura. - Jackalls and sand hares. - Suchary bread. - Two
express and one ambassador arrive at the army. - A Turkish ambassador
obliges the emperor to return. - Occasion of the troubles in Persia. - The
army return. - Cold nights. - Dangerous and harrassing march. - The new town
of Swetago-Kerst. - Fort at the river Nitzi destroyed, and revenged. - The
army re-imbark at Agrecham. - The provisions for the captain's galley lost;
a starving voyage. - Arrive at Astrachan the 15th of October.
You can read this book 8 at
You can read this publication at
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Got up two more chapters from this book. The previous chapters can be read
Now up to Chapter 48 and here is how this chapter starts...
AT Michaelmas, 1783, a gentleman was elevated to the provostship, who, for
more than a generation afterwards, took a leading part in public affairs -
Mr. David Staig. If, during much of that time, any one deserved to be termed
the king of the town, it was he. It is related of a member of Council, who,
being rather deaf, could not well hear the discussions, that he habitually
asked, before a vote came to be taken, "What does Provost Staig say? I say
the same as Provost Staig." And to many councillors besides this openly
subservient one, Mr. Staig's word was law. He had a fair share of natural
abilities; was shrewd, inventive, enterprising, politic, fond of power, not
insensible to flattery; was, withal, warm-hearted and virtuous - using his
influence, so far as his judgment went, for the advancement of the public
weal. For upwards of forty years he represented the Bank of Scotland in the
Burgh - and was thus a monetary potentate, with a host of most obedient
subjects; and but for the electoral law, that prohibited one man from being
chief magistrate longer than one year, or two at most together, under a
penalty of a thousand pounds Scots, he might have reigned as provost for
The first important undertaking with which his name is closely associated,
was a measure to provide for the paving, cleansing, lighting, and watching
of the Burgh, for which there had long been a felt necessity. It received
from Mr. Staig a hearty advocacy; and when the Council agreed to apply to
Parliament in the matter, he and Mr. Aitken, town clerk, were sent to London
for that purpose; and also to obtain, if possible, another renewal of the
duty on ale and tonnage, which was about to expire, and which had become
more than ever a necessary item of the revenue. Thanks to the energy of the
deputation, and the valuable assistance rendered by William, Duke of
Queensberry, Sir James Johnston of Westerhall, member for the Burghs, and
Lord Kinnaird, an Act of Parliament for the joint objects aimed at was
obtained-the police portions of it taking effect from 1788. [The Act was a
very costly affair. Exclusive of personal charges, the expense was £421
12s.; contrasting seriously with the outlay for the Ale Act, in 1737, which
was only £157, and for its renewal, £270, in 1762. Besides, Mr. Aitken was
paid £26 5s. for drawing the bill, and for loss of time in going to London;
which, with the expenses incurred when staying there seven weeks, and for
travelling, increased the entire charge against the town to £550 - one third
of which was charged on the police rate to be henceforth levied, one third
on the ale duty, and the remaining third on the tonnage.]
In the rank and file of the merchant councillors; there was a man of a far
higher stamp than the civic chief. His name first appears associated with
town matters in the following minute:- "29th September, 1789. - The said
day, Patrick Miller, Esq., of Dalswinton, one of the four new merchant ,councillors,
before being sworn in, was admitted a burgess in the usual manner, and
accepted and gave his oath of burgessship in the ordinary way, and promised
to keep a sufficient gun and sword for the defence of the town when called
for; and the Council, for good services done and to be done by the said
Patrick Miller, remit the burgess composition payable by him." Well might
the members of Council pay this compliment to their illustrious colleague,
"for good services done." He had already, by improving his estate of
Dalswinton, a few miles from Dumfries, set a noble example to the
agriculturists of the district; and had, just a few months before, launched
on a lake formed by him out of a noxious swamp, the first paddlepropelled
vessel ever made-the product of his mechanical genius, and the pioneer of
those magnificent steamers that have revolutionized the commerce of the
world. [Attempts have been made in our own day to rob Mr. Miller of his
claim to be considered the originator of steam navigation; but that he not
only invented the paddle-wheel, but was the first to propose the application
of steam to it as a motive, power, has, we think, been proved
satisfactorily. As early as February, 1787, Mr. Miller published a pamphlet,
in which, after describing his proposed mode of propelling ships, he said:
"I have reason to believe that the power of the steam-engine may be applied
to work wheels so as to give them a quicker motion, and consequently to
increase that of the ship. In the course of this summer I intend to make the
experiment; and the result, if favourable, shall be communicated to the
public." During that year Mr. James Taylor, for whom the credit has been
claimed of suggesting the application of steam to the wheels instead of
manual power, was engaged as tutor at Dalswinton; and when Mr. Miller's
invention was put to a practical test, in October, 1788, Mr. Taylor
furnished the subjoined notice of the great event to the Dumfries Journal:-"
The following is the result of an experiment no less curious than new. On
the 14th instant, a boat was put in motion by a steamengine upon Mr.
Miller's (of Dalswinton) piece of water at that place. For some time past,
his attention has been turned to the application of the steamengine to the
purposes of navigation. He has now accomplished and evidently shown to the
world the practicability of this, by executing it on a small scale: a vessel
twenty-five feet long and seven broad, was on the above (late driven with
two wheels by a small engine. It answered Mr. Miller's expectations fully,
and afforded great pleasure to the spectators present. The engine used is
Mr. Symington's new patent engine." In this and other instances, Mr. Taylor
gave Mr. Miller the undivided honour of the invention; and it seems
sufficiently clear that Mr. Symington's connection with it was simply that
of a practical mechanic.]
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The whole book can be read at
A Group of Scottish Women
by Harry Graham (1908).
We now have more chapters up and here is a bit from Miss "Nicky" Murray (d.
Scotland has always been justly famed for the hospitality of its
inhabitants. During the eighteenth century in particular Edinburgh was the
scene of a succession of social functions of the most convivial and at the
same time unostentatious kind. Hosts were not ashamed of providing the
simplest fare; guests were amply satisfied with it. Barley broth, salt beef,
with a boiled fowl and “greens,” were standing dishes at dinner in every
gentleman’s house, and nobody would have dreamt of demanding anything more
delicate. The beverage offered to ordinary visitors consisted of home-brewed
ale and a glass of brandy, or, on any very special occasion, claret and
brandy-punch. Food was cheap and plentiful. Beef only cost two pence per
pound, and it was possible to purchase a whole lamb’s carcase for a shilling
or eighteenpence. [My Own Life and Times, 1741-1814, by Thomas Somerville,
pp.334-5.] Simple manners prevailed, and even in private houses there was
occasionally a dearth of crockery when an unusual number of guests had to be
entertained. Dr. Somerville in his Memoirs describes how it was often
necessary for a large company to make use of a single glass, and repeats the
lament of one Armstrong of Sorbie (Sorbet would have been more appropriate),
a noted toper, who, deploring in his latter days the degeneracy of the
times, declared that “it was a better world when there were more bottles and
fewer glasses.” [My Own Life and Times, p.356.]
Scotland certainly clung to primitive customs up to comparatively recent
times. The disgusting habit of throwing the household filth out of window at
10 P.M. every night when the city drum was beaten – a practice which
sometimes made it necessary for residents to fumigate their bedrooms by
burning brown paper – prevailed in provincial towns not more than a hundred
years ago. But a country in which until 1750 there were only two turnpike
roads, and where the mail took five days to reach Edinburgh from London,
might well be considered backward in many things beside urban sanitation.
In some ways, however, this primitive condition of affairs was not without
its compensating advantages. The extreme and almost ascetic simplicity which
marked the fashionable entertainments of the Scottish capital brought them
well within the range of all. The most impoverished younger sons could
afford to give select parties in those “Oyster Cellars,” which were long the
popular resort of Edinburgh society during the winter months. The principal
oyster-parties took place in a tavern in the Cowgate belonging to an old
woman of the name of Luckie Middlemass. Here the young bloods of the day,
accompanied by a bevy of fair friends, would spend the evening pleasantly
enough, surrounded by plates of oysters and flagons of rum or brandy punch.
Towards nightfall the tables were moved to one side, and the guests,
exhilarated by their repast, would bring the evening’s entertainment to a
close with an impromptu dance. The bill for a party of this kind usually
amounted to about two shillings a head, a modest sum, the very thought of
which must fill with envy the bosom of a modern host.
An English visitor to Edinburgh in the year 1774 pays a generous tribute to
the Scottish talent for hospitality as well as to the national gift of
obtaining the maximum of amusement with the minimum outlay of cash. This he
attributes to the fact that the Scottish character closely resembles that of
the French. “That air of mirth and vivacity,” he says, “that quick and
penetrating look, that spirit of gaiety which distinguishes the French, is
equally visible in the Scotch. It is the character of the nation, and it is
a very happy one, as it makes them disregard even poverty.” [Letters from
Edinburgh written in the years 1774-5, by Captain Topham, p.64] Nowhere is
this facility for enjoyment seen to better advantage then in the accounts of
the somewhat ingenuous amusements of Edinburgh society.
And you can read the rest of this entry at
The other chapters can be read at
Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dunedin and South Otago
Compiler and Editor John Wilson (1912)
Now making a start at this book and hope our friends in New Zealand will be
saying "At Last!" something to do with New Zealand :-)
Here is what the book Introduction has to say...
WHAT event in the history of a nation is more worthy of notice, nay, of
veneration and pride, than the story of that nation's birth and of the early
struggles of the lion-hearted pilgrim fathers - men and women alike - who
did so much towards placing its affairs on a successful footing?
Their remarkable foresight, their self-denial, their unwearing labours, and
their many heart-breaking difficulties, successfully overcome, demand some
hearty recognition at the hands of those who have reaped, and are still
reaping, the benefits. It is to their forefathers and their deeds that all
canons and peoples point with pride, and what more fitting than that the
young Outagans should do the same? Can there in history be found a nobler
story of the beginning, and ultimate success of a people, than the story of
Otago and its founders? In the opinion of the compiler of this account there
cannot, and future generations may point with pride to the early pioneers of
Otago, who. to their everlasting honour be it said, were men and women of
the right stamp, worthy representatives of those who have always led the van
of Britain's march of empire round the world.
It is with the object of placing on record a short account - history it
cannot be called - of the settlement of the Province, dealing more
especially with the Clutha District and its pioneer settlers, that this
sketch is published.
In dealing with the subject, it is absolutely necessary to exclude a great
deal of interesting matter, which would be included if a history of the
Province were being treated upon. Lest much disappointment should arise by
this omission, short chapters, explanatory of the initial steps taken by the
original founders of the Province and of their development, will be added,
as well as an outline of the settlement of Dunedin, and of the country
between Dunedin and the Clutha.
The compiler desires to record his hearty thanks for assistance and
information received from early settlers and their descendants. from the
newspaper Press, and from authors of accounts already published. Many
publications have been put under contribution, and their information has
been largely used.
You can read this book at
Right now I have the first chapter up and please note that each chapter is a
.pdf file as the book proved impossible to ocr.
Have now made a start at getting up some songs from the 5th volume of this
publication where all songs have the sheet music to go with them. This week
I got up...
We're A Noddin'
On Ettrick Banks
O Waly Waly
Meet Me On the Gowan Lea
We'll Meet Beside The Dusky Glen
A Rose-Bud By My Early Walk
The Garb Of Old Gaul
Good Night, And Joy Be Wi' Ye A'
The Scottish Emigrant's Fareweel
You can see these at
You can see the whole publication at
Scots Humour and Heroism
by Cuey-Na-Gael (1902).
Now up to Chapter 14 of this book and here is a bit from Chapter 10...
The Highlander's personal dignity is invulnerable. It is maintained in all
circumstances - even when his temper is ruffled, and no matter what funny
mistakes he may make in his translated English.
Long association with the Saxon does not always bring with it accuracy of
idiom. All depends on early training.
The police force in Glasgow is largely recruited from the Highlands and many
stories are told about their marvellous attempts at every day speech.
We read for instance of a proclamation having been made to the following
effect - "By command of Her Majesty King Edward and Her Grace the Duke of
A stalwart guardian of the peace going his rounds one day was met by an
acquaintance from the same village. Well, Murdoch," he inquired, "How long
have you been in the police force?"
"Och," he replied, "she will be chust two years a police man, and a half."
He translated the Gaelic literally; and the order is queer.
"How do you get to that village from here?" was asked of a peasant in
Invernesshire. The answer was puzzling. "You chust will be walking to ta
right; and you will be walking to ta left; and you chust will be walking on
whateffer. Then a riffer will rise and meet you."
Gaelic is very poetic, and pictorial; and sometimes has figures of speech
that don't run well into any other Western tongue.
One idiom which Highlanders of the uneducated class have picked up is the
use of the word "intill" instead of "into". This may prove, at times,
disconcerting to strangers. Prince Albert, the late Prince Consort, was very
much interested in all that concerned the Highland steamers. The soup was
one day particularly good, and he was anxious to know what the ingredients
were. He called the cook; and, after praising the food on board, began to
make inquiry about the soup. "What is it made of?" he said.
"There is mutton intill it," replied the, cook "and beef intill it, and
potatoes intill it."
"Yes," said the Prince, "thank you. Yes I understand. But I don 't exactly
know what is intill't."
The mountaineer's irritability got the better of him. "Didn't she tell her
there was mutton and beef and potatoes intill it? And can't she hear her?"
"She" was his manner of saying, "Your Royal Highness."
But whatever odd expression the peasant hillman uses, you had better not
even smile at it. For Highland blood is quick; and the very drovers of
cattle move with the air of princes. They step out with self-possessed mien,
and are as dignified as dukes. Indeed, you may meet with a drover that
boasts a long descent reaching back four hundred or five hundred years.
Chivalrous to a fault and the very soul of honour, they are quick to resent
even the semblance of an affront. "Do you always go barefoot?" said a
tourist to a woman he met trudging home near the Trossachs.
"Whiles we do," murmured the old crone, offended at the liberty. And whiles
we mind oor ain business."
Yet it was a Trossachs-girl that impressed Wordsworth with her old world
courtesy and soft musical speech. The poet had accosted her graciously and
got a modest gracious reply.
To this sense of personal dignity a great measure of sensitiveness must be
added; and not a little pride. A Highland boatman was much incensed by a
sharp-voiced lady from the South, who kept giving orders about her boxes.
She was one of that numerous category of restless travellers who never can
be at ease about their luggage.
She had had her belongings shifted some eight or nine times. At last the
Highlander flared up, and told her "to go to Jericho". Shocked and insulted
the lady went at once to the captain, and complained bitterly, The captain
duly remonstrated with the erring boatman. "Duncan," he said, "you were very
uncivil to this lady. You must really beg her pardon - before we get to
Duncan waited a while; then, towards the end of the journey, he casually
approached the offended dame: "Wass you ta old woman I wass telling to go
"Yes," said the lady sharply.
"Well," continued Duncan sullenly. "The captain says you need not go now."
That was his apology. Despite its ungraciousness, the answer has something
that is characteristic in it, for no Highlander likes to be forced to make
excuses in any circumstances.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read the other chapters at
Donna sent in a special article about the death of her brother and some
pictures from the military funeral. You can see this at
Family Tree DNA
I emailed some questions to Leah Wark and I've posted up some of her answers
As DNA is getting to be an interesting subject for many here are her
responses to read here...
Given that lots of people these days are getting interested in Genealogy do
you think it would be a good idea for parents to get their DNA analysed so
it can be recorded for future generations and if so/not why?
This can be a great gift to future generations. So often there is a dead-end
in the paper trail and DNA tests can only help overcome brick walls if there
are available test takers from a line. I asked my father to test because he
has no brothers and no sons and I want to preserve the genealogical
information in his Y-chromosome. Plus, he and I have had a great time
comparing against others and discussing our family history!
There seems to be various DNA standards such as 12, 25, 37 and 67 markers.
What is the difference and which one would you advise people to take and
The number of markers you test depends on what you are trying to learn. If
you are interested in the deep ancestral origin of your line (Native
American, Middle Eastern, European, African, etc.), for example, you might
only want to test 12 markers. But if you also want to compare against others
in the database and learn whether you have any close matches, you will
probably want to test 25 or 37 markers.
Most people don't need 67 markers at this time. This test is one that larger
groups might find useful when trying to differentiate between different
related lines. In other words, it is generally most useful when trying to
find differences to distinguish between people with very close results.
Were you to take a 12 or 25 marker test can that also be used at a later
date to upgrade to a 37 or 67 marker test or would you need to send in
Yes, the sample can be used at a later date! We store the sample for 25
years so that you can upgrade or add on additional tests without needing to
submit a new sample. We will simply run the additional testing on the sample
we already have. This can be especially useful if an older relative is no
longer available to test.
As Electric Scotland is the No.1 web site when it comes to the history of
Scotland and the Scots & Scots-Irish we get many emails asking if we can
help identify their name with a Scottish clan. Can DNA help in this process?
Many clan members and individuals with clan names have tested with Family
Tree DNA. In fact, we have the largest database of its kind in the world
with over 3,600 "one-name projects". Several of our projects focus on one or
more clan names. We can compare your Y-DNA signature against the database
and let you know what surnames you are matching.
Given that the spelling of a name is often different from the origional can
DNA help to find out the origin of the person?
This is one excellent reason to join a surname project. As I mentioned,
these projects most often include related variants of a name. Although your
DNA by itself won't tell you about the spelling of your name or how it was
changed, you might find something out by sharing information with your
matches. Surname projects provide a way for males sharing similar names to
compare against one another and share genealogical information by working
A recent article from Iceland claimed that through DNA studies 60% of the
women in Iceland came from Scotland. Can your DNA results confirm if you
have a Scottish or Celtic background and if so how do you identify that?
From our own testing experience, we know that the exact same results are
often found in multiple countries due to migrations over time, which makes
determining a country of origin solely from DNA testing very difficult at
best. However, if your DNA results match another person with a similar
surname or match at a large number of markers, and that other person knows
his country of origin, this would essentially identify your country of
origin. Additionally, haplogroups (automatically predicted in all Y-DNA
tests) help identify mutations that are characteristic of population groups
and their migration patterns. This can give hints whether a person living in
Scotland today, for example, could be descended from Vikings that invaded
the area several centuries ago.
We are told that many Native American Indians have Scottish blood due to the
inter-marriage of especially Scottish Highlanders into the Indian Tribe. We
know for example that John Ross, chief of the Cherokees for some 36 years,
was 90% Scottish and 10% Cherokee. Are there any parts of the DNA that can
show if you also have Native American links?
Yes, we can show if your line is Native American in origin. It is important
to remember though that our tests are looking at your direct line only. This
is what allows us to make comparisons between participants. The tests will
only show the single origin of the direct line tested. To confirm Native
American ancestry you should determine who the original Native American
ancestor is in your family tree and then trace down his or her direct line
to someone today who can test.
I'm told you have a special study for Niall of the Nine Hostages in Ireland.
Can you tell me something about this study?
Actually, Trinity College performed this study. They found that a
significant percentage of men in Ireland (and quite a few in Scotland) share
the same Y-DNA signature. The results suggest that Niall may be the ancestor
of 1 in 12 Irishmen.
This signature is found in 1.03% of the Family Tree DNA database. You will
be automatically compared against this signature when you take a Y-DNA test.
To learn more about this study visit
Many Scottish names start with Mac or Mc or M' and I wondered if you had
means of searching for any name starting with all three versions or would
you need to search for each name?
Our projects typically include several variants of a name or names. For
example, you can search by Donald, McDonald, MacDonald, MacDonell, etc. and
find the Donald Clan project. After you test your DNA, the system will
search for matches regardless of surname or the spelling of the surname.
Are you doing any special studies on Scottish Clan Names and/or
We have over 3,600 surname projects. We have many projects focusing on
specific surnames, clans, and even regions in this area. You can browse and
search a complete list of surname and geographic projects available here:
How big is Family Tree DNA in relationship to other similar companies and
are you truly International?
We are the pioneer and leading company in the field of genetic genealogy.
The size of the database does matter and ours is more than five times the
size of our competitors' with over 115,000 DNA records and growing at a rate
of 4-5,000 a month. Yes, we are truly an international company. Our
scientists are the foremost in their fields, our database includes samples
from all over the world, we provide the testing for the National Geographic
Society's Genographic Project's public participation which has sold over
160,000 test kits worldwide, and we are also planning to begin offering our
test kits and our website in multiple languages. It is important to note
that our partnership with National Geographic also allows for people that
have tested with the Genographic Project to transfer their records into our
database - which not only adds to the size of our database, but also the
Is there anything else that you feel we should know when it comes to Scots
and Scots-Irish names in relationship to DNA studies through Family Tree
I think that the most important point when it comes to Scots and Scots-Irish
names in relationship to DNA studies through Family Tree DNA is to remember
that having the largest number of clan projects and members gives you the
best chance of finding matches - that's the strength of Family Tree DNA in
addition, of course, to our science.
I believe we've covered the major points, but please don't hesitate to
contact us at [email protected]
with any questions. Remember, DNA is the "gene" in genealogy!
You can order up any of there tests at
And yes I do earn a wee bit of commission from any orders you place :-)
UHI Millennium Institute
This institute hope to be granted full University status during 2007 and
here is a bit about them...
University-level study and research in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
UHI Millennium Institute (UHI) is a distinctive and innovative higher
education institution offering vocational courses (such as higher national
certificates and diplomas), undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and
research opportunities throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
This is achieved through a partnership of colleges and research institutions
along with an associated network of outreach learning centres.
For students living in the region, UHI provides local access to learning and
research relevant to their needs and to those of local employers. For
students from beyond the region, UHI offers:
- Choice of campus locations in urban, rural and island communities.
- Distinctive courses and subject areas reflecting the characteristics of
the region and with relevance worldwide.
- Extensive use of information technology, including on-line materials and
- Small class sizes with a focus on the needs of the individual learner.
- Welcoming communities, rich in culture and located in an area of
outstanding natural beauty.
- Growing range of programmes available by on-line distance learning.
The Isle of Skye - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig - Scotland's Gaelic College - has gained a world-wide
reputation for the range of short courses it provides over the summer
The College specialises in courses that focus on Gaelic language and culture
including traditional music.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is located on the Sleat peninsula in the south west of the
beautiful and dramatic Hebridean island of Skye. The college possesses
purpose-built accommodation and wonderful views across the Sound of Sleat to
the mountains of Knoydart and Loch Hourn.
For more information on the college and all its courses, please check out
its website or download our leaflet here, or e-mail the Short Course
administrator, on [email protected], or
call on: +44 (0) 1471 888 240.
You can visit their web site at
Inauguration of the Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic
I got in an account of this inauguration which I thought you'd be interested
in as these kind of events are quite rare. The article also received some
rare praise from Bruce MacIntyre if Six Millenium of the Gael fame and her
is what he said...
I read your most excellent article and summary of events from the
Inauguration of Mac Mhic Raonuill at Ft. William, 13 September 2006, on your
ElectricScotland website and would like to congratulate you on your fine
literary style, which sadly, is generally lacking today and has almost come
to be a lost art in much of the Media as they prefer to push "perspective"
and "spin" over truthful reporting.
My personal observation is that your article fairly and soundly encompassed
the facts regarding the Chiefship of Clanranald of Lochaber and MacDonald of
Keppoch, along with the History making events of 13 September, 2006, while
downplaying the more theatrical aspects of the Rory Bear Broadcast and the
sorry articles that passed for truth in print, i.e., "news" in such normally
highly regarded Newspapers as the Scotsman.
I might clarify of course that the article was not written by myself but the
Chief himself and here is how the account starts...
On the 13 September 2006 in the heart of the Highlands of Scotland, an
ancient historic ceremony was re-enacted, when Ranald Alasdair MacDonald of
Keppoch was publicly recognised as the Chief of the Honourable Clan Ranald
of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill.
What was important about this event, was the fact that there was no
officially recognised chief of the clan since the demise of the last chief
in 1848, although Raonuill's great great-grandfather Raonuill Mor MacDonell
was accepted as Chief by his clan in the duthchas, of Lochaber, that is, the
clan territory, at that time. However, Raonuill Mor simply accepted his
hereditary title, and did not consider it necessary to rematriculate his
Arms, or indeed his Letters Patent in Lyon Court.
Raonuill set out to complete the protocol. However, to enable him to do that
he had to prove beyond any doubt that he was heir to his great
great-grandfather Raonuill Mor MacDonell 22nd Chief of the Honourable Clan
Ranald of Lochaber Mac Mhic Raonuill. That involved deep research into
primary sources, held by his family and in the State Records in Register
House in Edinburgh. He was also given assistance through the archivist in
Fort Augustus Abbey, where an earlier Abbot had undertaken personal
scholastic research into both the Glengarry line and the Keppoch line of
Chiefs. Aeneas MacDonald, the Abbot concerned, was a Glengarry clansman but
was also connected through the bloodline of the Keppoch MacDonald clan. He
had therefore a dual-interest. His complete personal file was put at the
disposal of Raonuill, to enable him to substantiate his claim to the
Chiefship of Keppoch, not just by the ancient oral tradition, but by written
testimony from the family archives. That is what was demanded of him by the
You can read the rest of this article at
In addition I received a copy of the "MacDonald of Keppoch Clan Song"
composed by the chief himself...
Welcome Clann Ranald
Adapted by Mac Mhic Raonuill from his original
composition 1977, for the inaugural ceremony in Fort
William, Lochaber, September 2006.
Welcome Clan Ranald welcome t-Lochaber
Land of high Mountains that sweep to the sea
Here lies the bones of your ancestors mighty
Kings of the Celts of the highest degree
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Clann Ranald
Welcome t-Lochaber the land we hold dear
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome Clann Ranald
Welcome t-Lochaber we're glad that you're here
In kinship and friendship we'll gather together
To celebrate fully this very special year
For hearts' that are yearning and pride in returning
Ceud mile' fa'ilte mo bhrathair mo chridhe
Note: Got in an email message from the Chief with this song...
These are the words of the Clan Song that I wrote back in 1977 for the
Welcoming of the Clan Donald to Scotland during the International Gathering
of that year and sang it on stage in Princes Street Gardens where I
organised the welcoming concert. The song was transposed into pipe music for
the Royal Engineers (Scottish VR) Pipe Band the only Pipe Band in the Royal
Engineers and the only Pipe Band wearing the MacDonald of Keppoch tartan
The Chief's web site is at
History of the Camerons
"History of the Camerons with Genealogies of the Principal Families" by
Alexander Mackenzie. Reprint of 1894 rare classic.
Now available: Price: $50.00. Leather-like hard cover. Only 50 printed.
Stewart Publishing and Printing
17 Sir Constantine Drive
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3P 2X3
Robert Stewart kindly sent in three .pdf files of bits of this
History of the Camerons - Chapter 1 (which includes the contents and
subscriber pages) at
The Camerons of Inverailort
The Camerons of Dawnie
At the start of the first chapter on Origins it states...
IN AN OLD Manuscript history of this family, printed in The Memoirs of Sir
Ewen Cameron of Lochiel the author says – “The Camerons have a tradition
among them that they were originally descended of a younger son of the Royal
Family of Denmark, who assisted at the restoration of King Fergus II., anno
404. He was called Cameron from his crooked nose, as that word imports. But
it is more probable that they were of the aborigines of the ancient Scots or
Caledonians that first planted the country.”
Skene quotes this family Manuscript in his Highlanders of Scotland, and
agrees with its author that the clan came originally from the ancient
inhabitants of the district of Lochaber. He says: – “With this last
conclusion I am fully disposed to agree, but John Major has placed the
matter beyond a doubt, for in mentioning on one occasion the Clan Chattan
and the Clan Cameron, he says, ‘Hae tribus sunt consanguineae’. They,
therefore, formed a part of the extensive tribe of Moray, and followed the
chief of that race until the tribe became broken up, in consequence of the
Success of the Mackintoshes in the conflict on the North Inch of Perth, in
1396,” after which the Camerons separated themselves from the main stem, and
assumed a position of independence. Major further says that “these two
tribes are of the same stock, and followed one head of their race as chief”.
Gregory, who agrees with these authorities, says that the Camerons, as far
back as he could trace, had their seat in Lochaber, and appeared to have
been first connected with the Macdonalds of Islay, in the reign of Robert
Bruce, from whom Angus Og of Isla had a grant of Lochaber “There is reason
to believe,” he continues, “that the Clan Cameron and Clan Chattan had a
common origin, and for some time followed one chief.” They have, however,
been separated, according to this author, ever since the middle of the
fourteenth century, if not from an earlier date.
You can read these at
Bits of Electric Scotland
It was suggested that I might highlight bits of the site that I thought
might be of general interest.
This week I thought I'd highlight the "Friends of Grampian Stones" section
As the page says... "Welcome to our pages of antiquities and culture of
Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Kincardinshire & Moray - four counties in
Northeast Scotland with boundaries created in Norman times based on earlier
Pictish land divisions - have the world's greatest configuration of
prehistoric and early-historic stones, carved art and clusters of ancient
settlements, in an area roughly half the size of Switzerland, within walking
distance for most people. We list sites with disabled access with a *star.
Please bear in mind, when visiting the stones, firstly that they originally
had sacred meaning to the culture which erected them; secondly that most
still stand on private ground and are protected not only by the Scottish
Executive, but also personally by the landowner over whose field you walk.
This was our attempt at trying to help this group get more exposure for all
the work they are doing. The index page shows...
Links to other sites
Map of NE Scotland's great legacy
Pictish carved stones and gemetric designs
History of Inverurie and the central valley of The Garioch
Maiden Stone Images
Breacbannoch of Columba
Ancient Stones of Scotland
There is a ton of reading in this section. For example just taking their
"Newsletters" link it leads to...
Astronomy - ancient and modern
- Blue Moons
- Lunar Standstills
- Precession of Equinoxes [Beltane 1998]
- Rolldowns: solar phenomena for all to enjoy [Lammas 1996]
- Whitecross, Chapel of Garioch
Stones - the endless and timeless subject of conservation and conversation
- Birse's new Millennium stone at Corsedardar
- Dyce and Dupplin [November 1998]
- Dupplin: in situ or in seclusion?
- Durris cairn or offroad vehicles?
Power and Christianity - the early Church
- The origin of Michaelmas
- King Nechtan & the Pictish church
- Picts, Kings, Saints & Chronicles
Pre-Christian belief, sacred knowledge and traditions
- Bride or Brigantia: Mother Earth in her spring cloak
- Serpent Rhyme likened to the American groundhog
- The Cailleach & the Clyack Sheaf - Aikey & Lourin' Fairs
You can go directly to this page at
The whole section index page is at
And finally I was sent in this interesting article...
(Author not known)
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Mr Common Sense.
Mr Sense had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he
was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valued lessons as knowing
when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that
life isn't always fair.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more
than you earn) and reliable Parenting strategies (adults, not kids, are in
His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy
charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from
school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding
an unruly student, only to worsened his condition.
Mr Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental
consent to administer aspirin to a student; but, could not inform the
parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became
contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better
treatment than their victims.
Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realize that
a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her lap, and was
awarded a huge financial settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his
wife, Discretion; his daughter Responsibility and his son, Reason.
He is survived by two stepbrothers; My Rights and Ima Whiner. Not many
attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)
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