Friday, February 21, 2014
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
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 Pattern|
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.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
On New Year's Day, for the first time in 20 years, I road It's A Small World. The ride hadn't changed much even though in 1993 I was at Disneyland and in 2013 I was in Disney World. Despite the cultural stereotypes of the dolls in the ride (for example: can can dancers for France, bagpipers for Scotland, and hula dancers for Hawaii), I have always loved the song's message and the ride's international flavor.
The second time I got in line for the Small World ride on January 1st, I remembered that my sister had sent me a link to a short Disney video called "Bricht and Braw." It is part of a series of nine videos, presented by Rosetta Stone Kids, inspired by the art and message of the ride. The visit to Scotland is very "tartanized;" the children wear kilts, visit the Highland Games, learn about clans and are offered Haggis.
I've only seen the Scotland video, but I would imagine that despite the stereotypes that I'm sure exist in each, the over all themes are "the world is neat, go visit it, and speak to it in its own language." This is a great message in today's incredibly shrinking world.
The video might be useful those those of you are involved in studying cultural stereotypes and how diasporas interact with and imagine their homeland.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Dr. Steve Murdoch of the University of St. Andrew's has recently made me aware of the Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern European Biographical Database or the SSNE. The result of a research project by Murdoch and Dr. Alexa Grosjean, which ended in 1999, the database has been hosted for a number of years by the St. Andrew's Institute of Scottish Historical Research.
Within the database is biographical information on about 7700 individuals from Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland who at some point appeared in records in Scandinavia (including Finland) or Northern Europe between 1580 and 1707. The researchers had uncovered upwards of 60,000 names of Scots in muster rolls, but transcribing all of those names would not have furthered the goals of their comparative work. You simply can not analyze the activities of people if all you know is their name and that they were in the Swedish Army. Therefore data was selected to aid in comparative research so includes those individuals who fit certain criteria and were also found in more substantial records like court and church records. For more information on the database visit this page.
Keep in mind that while this database is useful for genealogists, it was not designed for them - otherwise they would have listed every name that appeared in every muster list. So do not despair if you ancestor does not appear in the database. My ancestor, Eric Andersson Kirby, didn't appear and he was an officer who was ennobled in 1645.
If you are a student, the database could be a useful gateway to finding a research topic on migration of Scots in Northern Europe, the role of British and Irish merchants in Poland, or perhaps a biography of an individual like Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven who happens to be the first person listed in the database.
To use the database you must first register, which is easy and free. Then create a user name and password. You can either view the records or search them. While looking through 7691 records would be tedious, it might be useful to look at a handful just to get an idea of the terms to use in the search fields. At the beginning of each entry is an id number for that individual and just to the right of the id number is a little yellow box with an arrow in it. Click on the little yellow box and you will be taken to the known biographical details for that individual. There are several search fields that can be tried in any number of combinations. While some like rank or nationality must be exact, the fields for surnames and forenames are formatted to take into account a variety of spelling.
Have fun and good luck searching for your Scottish emigrant!