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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - August/September 2003
Wee Snippets (8)

9,000 Hebridean acres given away
A Scottish Clan Chief said Friday in London that he agreed to give land his family has owned for 1,000 years to the government, which plans to eventually give it to residents.
Ian MacNeil, chief of the MacNeil clan, said he was giving the Scottish Executive 9,000 acres on the remote islands of Barra and Vatersay, in the Outer Hebrides chain off Scotland's west coast.
The MacNeils are descendants of Irish raiders who came to Barra in the 11th century.
The transfer means the government will own most of the land on the islands. The parcels will be given to the islands 1,300 residents if they decide to opt for community ownership.
Source: The Scotia Script, 104 King Arthur Court, Galax, Virginia 24333.

Thieves overpower guide and steal $47 million painting
London - Two thieves posing as visitors overpowered a guide at a Scottish castle and stole a painting thought to be by Leonardo da Vinci, police said.
The Madonna with the Yardwinder was taken from the private collection at Drumlanrig Castle in southern Scotland, which is home to one of Scotland's richest landowners, the Duke of Buccleuch.
Police said that the thieves stole the work after overpowering the female guide about 11 a.m. Investigators were looking for four men seen driving near the castle in a white car and have released descriptions of two men. The painting's value is estimated to be about $47 million.
Source: The Scotia Script, 104 King Arthur Court, Galax, Virginia 24333.

Scots endorse creating their own Parliament
Sept. 12, 2003 - Scots overwhelmingly endorsed establishing their own Parliament with limited tax-raising powers in a national referendum, after nearly three centuries of union with England.
Voters were asked to reply to two questions: Should a Parliament be established, and should the legislative body have tax-raising powers? About 75% of Scots voted in favor, while more than 60% supported giving the body power to raise or lower tax by up to three percent. Foreign relations and defense would remain a matter for Parliament in London.
The historic vote came on the 700th anniversary of William Wallace's defeat of the English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, depicted in the movie "Braveheart."
The creation of a Scottish Parliament is the most significant change within the United Kingdom since Ireland won its independence in 1922.

Where are those Welsh folk tales?
Could anyone kindly help me locate any published collection(s) of Welsh folk tales?
The interest here is not in Arthurian legends nor episodes from the Mabinogion, but rather authentic tales (and legends) of the common people, possibly originally passed on orally.
To date, I have only Ellen Pugh's Tales of the Welsh Hills, but I'm sure there must be other such collections of equal quality and character that are available in the USA.
Any recommendations will be most kindly and gratefully appreciated.
Diolch yn fawr iawn!
Larwrence Evans

Today's word is Carfuffle (noun)
Definition: Uproar, agitation, commotion, brouhaha, fuss.
Usage: Today's lexical oddity is used mostly -- you guessed it -- in Scotland, home of the most intriguing words in English. It is a colloquial expression, spoken more than written. As a result, no one really knows how it is spelled: "kerfuffle," "curfuffle," and a few others may be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, both with and without the [r]. The Macquarie Australian dictionary adds "kerfoofle," "kafuffle," and "kafoofle."
Suggested usage: When someone raises a brouhaha over something, a comment like "What is all the fuss about" is likely to be ignored. "What is all the carfuffle about," is much more likely to get the attention the comment deserves. Try it yourself and see.
Etymology: Today's word probably came from the Gaelic "twist, bend, turn about" found in other combinations such as car-fhocal "a quibble, prevarication," car-shuil "rolling eye," and car-tuaitheal "wrong turn." "Fuffle" originated as a verb meaning "to jerk about, throw into disorder."
If you interested in more intriguing words, visit the website .

Dennis McAllister new vice chairman
Dennis I. McAllister of El Cajon, California is the new chairman of the Clan MacAlister Society, and Bob Dumeyer of Bristol, Pennsylvania has been elected vice chairman and Clansman of the Year.

The music of Castlebay blends Scottish heritage with inspiration from the rugged coast of Maine.
Julia Lane is a self-taught harper whose unique style has twice won the New England Regional Scottish Harp Championship at the Loon Mountain Highland Games. Fred Gosbee plays twelve string guitar, viola, fiddle and whistles. They have toured both the Eastern United States and the British Isles, visiting Scotland annually since 1993.
Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee have a deep appreciation for the Celtic lands and a commitment to cultural education. They maintain an ongoing exchange with musicians and folklorists worldwide and present educational programs integrating music, culture and history at schools, museums and elderhostels.
Castlebay has recorded 17 albums of both traditional and original music. The Tapestry Collection is a series of six instrumental recordings each with a unique theme - Ladies, In a Garden Green, Gentlemen, Cottage & Castle, Banks & Braes, and Sea & Skye.
Their newest CD Ae Fond Kiss - Romantic Scottish Songs is now available. Artful expressions of love abound in the Scottish tradition. Castlebay presents twelve musical kisses of friendship, passion and flirtation, including seven songs of Burns. Stunning vocals by Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee are accompanied by award-winning Celtic harp, guitar, fiddle and cello.
For more information, contact Castlebay, P. O. Box 168, Round Pond, Maine 04564, 207-529-5438, or e-mailing You can also wish to visit their website at

The lonely piper was sold at auction
A life-size carving of a bagpiper sitting on a whiskey barrel, which spent years gathering dust in a cellar, has fetched more than 00 ($14,800) at auction. The 19th century wooden figure recently went under the hammer at Bonhams auction house in Edinburgh after it was discovered in a basement in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

The six-foot statue, dressed in full regalia including a kilt, white spats and black shoes, is thought to have been carved for a distillery or whiskey shop more than 100 years ago.

Other items sold were a bronze statue of Robert the Bruce for 975 ($32,950). A collection of poems by William McGonagall, including his famous The New Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay, went to a private collector for ($775)

Thanks to The Palmetto & Thistle, Scots-American Society of Brevard, PO Box 3325, Melbourne, Florida 32902-3325

If your ancestors are from the Scottish Borders area near England, you may have some gypsy blood running through your veins! This is another example that if you label yourself as a Scot, you may have any number of bloodlines from the European continent. Another good example - my Scottish ancestry is from the Isle of Harris and Lewis - one of the many homes to the MacLeods. Who founded the MacLeod clan? Two Viking brothers! Technically speaking, I'm not Scottish but Viking! Find out why you may have a wee bit of gypsy in you.

In a country like Scotland where castles and stately homes are found almost everywhere, there is one palace where very different riches were celebrated. The Gypsy Palace may sound like a bizarre contradiction, but here lived crowned kings and queens. While they were not rich in the gold or the jewels associated with other famous palaces, these people were rich in other ways - in tradition and in spirit.

The Gypsies were first recorded in Scotland in 1506, having arrived from the Continent, and are thought to have their origins in the Persian Gulf. A nomadic race, the gypsy way of life was simple. They would find work on farms, doing even the most menial work through the spring and summer, earning enough food or money to see them through the long winter months. They never put much stock in possessions, apart from a fierce loyalty to their horses. Their society was hugely reliant on family, and it was the Faa family who made headquarters at Kirk Yetholm.

Located near the English border, seven miles (11 km) southeast of Kelso, Yetholm is adjacent to Bowmont Water and in the old country of Roxburghshire. The town Yetholm is the younger of two parts of a village, which also includes Kirk Yetholm. The nature of the land in the Borders - constantly disputed ownership between the Scots and the English - made it a perfect place for gypsies to settle. The Faa family's first official involvement in the area was reported in Chambers' Journal, August 18, 1883, "the land (where the Gipsy Palace stands), was given to the gypsies by Bennet of Grubbit and Marlefield, Laird of Kirk Yetholm, after a brave gypsy named Young saved his life during the Battle of Namur, in 1695."

The photographer, Alasdair Alpin MacGregor, met a resident of Yetholm called Robert Christie in 1935, who could vividly remember the 1898 coronation of Charles Faa Blyth, the last king: "There were ten thoosand folk here the day Chairlie Blythe was crooned, and twa hundred cuddies [horses]. He was crooned oot there on the Green o' Kirk Yetholm... The gypsies wended their way up the Loanings toward the tract o' land known as the Common. There they put a tin croon on him, and broke a bottle of whisky ower his heid, and then bound a hare roond his neck. Chairlie then walked down the Loanings to his Palace as 'His Majesty'! The hare, of course, was indicative o' the chase - or rather, o' the ancient art o' poaching, whereby the gypsies derived so much o' their sustenance. They regarded poaching as their birthright, so to speak."

There was general distrust of the gypsies locally, but various people including the Quakers and a local man, John Baird, sought better conditions for the community. He brought about measures like full-time homes for the children of the gypsies (in taking some gypsy girls into his own home, others saw fit to do likewise), and encouraged their education, but this also saw the beginning of the end of their traditional way of life.

The last queen, Esther Faa Blyth, died in 1883 and her son, crowned king in 1902, died a few years later. The gypsy community intermingled with the local folk and effectively disappeared. However, if your surname is Baillie, Tait, Douglas, Young, Gordon or Blyth, you may well have Faa blood in your veins.
Despite the demise of the gypsy royal family, the 'Gypsy Palace' still stands in Kirk Yetholm, although it now hosts commoners as a bed and breakfast.

Extracts from a Fraser Thomson article.
Source: Palmetto & Thistle, Scots-American Society of Brevard, PO Box 3325, Melbourne, Florida 32902-3325.

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