Sunday, April 6, 2014

Happy Tartan Day



If you are enjoying a quiet Tartan Day at home like me, here is some edutainment for you. In this brief video, my dissertation supervisor, Ted Cowan, speaks about the Declaration of Arbroath which was signed today in 1320. Thanks to Lizanne Henderson to sharing it with me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just for Fun: Happy in Glasgow - In Kilts



This video from Happy Glasgow (@HappyGlasgow) was made to celebrate the many exciting events happening in Glasgow during 2014, including Pharrell Williams' appearance at the BBC Radio 1 Live Weekend.

I watched the video while I was reading Highland Homecomings about the romantic Highland imagery that many diaspora Scots anticipate and expect of Scotland when they visit. However, this is the Scotland that I imagine - Glasgow and the Central Belt. Only perhaps there weren't so many people dancing around the City Center in kilts.

Watch and Be Happy!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Crafting the Diaspora: An Update on the Tapestry



In September 2012, I wrote about the launch of the The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry project. As it was to be finished in time for Homecoming 2014, I felt it was time for an update.

The final squares are being completed and a schedule of exhibitions in Scotland has been planned. See the press notice, with a information about the project and exhibition details, here (PDF).  After the
Homecoming it is anticipated that the tapestry will go on exhibit in the communities that contributed squares.

Current news regarding the tapestry is here. This link will take you to the main page to explore the tapestry. Click on a nation's flag to learn more about that country's connection to the Scottish Diaspora. A few have images of the embroidered squares: Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA. See the images from the Chinese communities here and one from Canada here. A handful of additional squares can be seen here.

Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Culture Secretary, visited the workshop where the tapestry squares are being assembled. An account of this visit is here. A piece on the tapestry also appeared recently on the BBC website.

Finally, if you can't make it to Scotland to view the tapestry this year, you can "like" it on Facebook here.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Scottish Diaspora Blog Needs You!



Tanja Bueltmann, PhD, of Northumbria University needs contributors for her project "Personal Reflections: The Scottish Diaspora." Participation is easy, simply answer seven questions, provide a picture, and accept the terms and conditions of the survey. The surveys will eventually be posted on The Scottish Diaspora Blog and would, I imagine, also inform Bueltmann's future research on the topic.

The announcement asks for participation from Scots living abroad or from people living in Scotland who are interested in Scottish history and culture. From this wording, "Scots living abroad," I figured she meant people who were born in Scotland and are currently living abroad. However, one of the questions asks when you or your ancestors emigrated, suggesting that she really means anyone who claims Scottish ancestry or who identifies as Scottish. In other terms, if you are a member of either the Lived or Ancestral Diaspora, Dr. Bueltmann wants to hear from you.

If you are unsure of the term diaspora, three posts from this blog and the links within them might be helpful: Does Scotland Care About the Diaspora?, The Bookshelf: American Scots by Duncan Sim, and A Primer on Scottish Diaspora Studies.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Royal Stewart or Regular Stewart

Royal Stewart Pattern
One thing you probably know about me: I am fascinated by DNA studies. One thing you may not know: the Royal Stewart tartan is my favorite. A third thing is that there is at least one Stewart family that emigrated from Moy and Dalarossie Parish to Scotch Settlement. These items combined meant I was very interested to learn in the results of recent study by ScotlandsDNA.

This study estimates that 50% of all British men with a variant of the surname Stewart are related to the Royal House of Stewart. They were able to isolate a genetic mutation that originated with Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll who died in 1298. If I have it figured right, James Stewart, the brother of Sir John, was the grandfather of Robert II.

The results are not extrapolated to men with this surname outside of Britain, so the ancestral fate of the Scotch Settlement Stewarts is uncertain.

You can read about the story from The Telegraph here. Read more about experience of a study participant here. You can follow ScotlandsDNA on Facebook here.

FWIW: I am an affiliate of ScotlandsDNA, but I would have written about this story anyway.

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