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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Robbie Burn's Day!!

Gie me ae spark o' Nature's fire That's a' the learning I desire, Then tho' I drudge thro' dub and mire At pleugh or cart, My Muse, tho' hamely in attire May Touch the heart

Robert Burns-January 25, 1759-July 21, 1796. Poet, collector of Scottish folk songs, great influence on the later Romantic poets like Shelley and Wordsworth, prone to depression at times in his life, and definately a bit of a rascal with the ladies!

If you are are of Scottish background, or live in Scotland, this is THE big day!! It doesn't get anywhere near as much attention as St. Patrick's Day here or in the USA, but in Canada I think we should acknowledge it more as there are many people with Scottish heritage, and a large part of Canada's fur trade history rests with Scots ( and their Metis progeny). I am proud to say that I have Scottish in my line from both sides of my father's family. On the maternal side, my great great grandfather William John Jamieson's (Jamison) death certificate said that he had been born in Glasgow Scotland. He was married twice, his first wife is my great, great grandmother as she gave birth to my great grandmother Eliza Jamieson. His first wife died and he married Mary McWilliams in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Apparently sometimes William and Mary said they were born in Ireland and sometimes they said Scotland. I believe that at some point, the family came from Scotland, as there was a big push to get more Protestants into Northern Ireland, and my family were Presbyterian. Eliza was married twice too, as on my grandmother's birth certificate, she is listed as Eliza Smyth (my grandfather being James Smyth), formerly Smiley. Both my great grandparents seem to have disappeared from the scene in the 1890's. The next known record of my grandmother, Agnes Jane (b. April 7, 1884), is the 1900 US census--she was 13, attending school in Dempster Hamelin county, South Dakota, and living with her grandparents William and Mary.
My great grandparents, Eliza and James, my grandmother Agnes, sitting on the stool, her 2 older sisters Minnie and Della (I don't know which is which, although I suspect Minnie is the one to the right of her dad), and a 4th child who I know nothing about.

On the paternal side, it's all about the Camerons!! Thomas Cameron (b. 1766, Govan District, Glasgow and his wife Agnes Hill (b. 1775, Glasgow) immigrated from Lanarkshire, Scotland to Lanark County, Upper Canada in 1821. This was a time of encouraging immigration from Scotland to fill in Upper Canada after the War of 1812. The now city of Perth is the county seat of Lanark County, and is named for Perth, Scotland. One of their children was Robert, born in Scotland in 1798 and died in Upper Canada in 1876. He married Harriet Bolton, who had been born in Canada. She died in 1886 at the age of 78. Their daughter Diana, born in Dalhousie, Lanark, Upper Canada in 1849, married my great grandfather James Roderick Stretch, born 1842, in the same county around 1868-69. They moved to Minnesota and my grandfather Clifford was born there in 1873. Their first son, had Cameron as his second name, my uncle Roy had Cameron as his second name too, and Aunt Hazel had Diana as a second name. But no one ever mentioned this Scottish connection. All my dad knew about was the Irish stuff. But I always felt in my heart, that there was Scottish there and you can't imagine how thrilled I was when I began to piece together the geneology of my family!! I always knew there was a reason my heart soars when I hear the bagpipes!!

In honor of the fact that this blog is called "Collies and Life", here is an excerpt from one of Burn's poems, called "The Twa Dogs". In this poem, 2 dogs are having a conversation about humans and what they have observed from the 2 different worlds that their masters inhabit.
The tither was a ploughman's collie-
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha' for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in freak had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland Sang, Was made lang syne,-Lord knows how lang.
He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke. His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Aye gat him friends in ilka place;
His breast was white, his touzie back
Well clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawsie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdie's wi a swirl.
If you are interested in reading more about Burns and his poems, or want a translation of the above (snicker)here's a good site:
Otherwise have a tipple of whiskey and some haggis with tatties and neeps and remember the bard of Scotland this day!! Here's tae ye Robbie! Slainte!!


Jane said...

I had no idea this day was so big over in Scotland, but I guess it makes sense since Robert Burns is SO beloved. I really enjoyed reading about your family history and it's made me realize I need to get my Mom to write all of our's down. In fact, I've already emailed her about it! My mother was a McEwan, so there's a good bit of Scot in me as well (Irish too: McGuire) and we went to highland festivals in Brantford, Ontario most summers when we visited our grandparents. Love those old photos, I have quite a number of them (thankfully) and it's fascinating to study the faces - some of us bear a striking resemblance to our ancestors, Do you find the same? it's amazing how the features carry on. I will need to follow the link for the translation of that poem, can't make heads nor tails of it!

Dianne SS said...

Good for you Jane, to start in on getting the family history!! We have a great length of time between generations in my family so it makes it almost impossible to hear first hand info. Both my paternal grandparents had died even before my parents got married. I have been able to get some info and records from some 3rd and 4th cousins. I agree that we often harken back a couple of generations--wouldn't it be great to find out about personalty traits and interests too??

onecollie said...

super cool pictures!!!!!!!!!!!! I have to admitt it was so hard to read the poems!! guess I better bone up on my Scottish ! :)