Storms of life

Storms are a fairly common occurrence in Orkney where the majority of my known ancestors lived their lives. I have a newspaper cutting from the mid 1960s with the headline “Six weeks of gales without let up”. Storm is not used so much: “gey windy”, “blowan a gale” or “right coorse” would be more common  |  more…

Taxes, tacksman, taxing ancestry

Taxes, not the most immediately appealing topic for the #52ancestors challenge but it is a challenge after all so here goes. I’m looking at William Sinclair (c1770?-aft 2 Jun 1841?), one of my maternal x4 great grandfathers. He lived in Stronsay, Orkney, was married to Barbara Miller and they had at least five children: Isabella  |  more…

The maiden aunt

Typical isn’t it, I write about maiden aunts for three of the last four weeks under different topics, and then this week’s  #52ancestor challenge topic is ‘The maiden aunt’! So I’ve had to cast more widely. Isabella H Groundwater (1853-1929) Isabella was a younger sister of Tomima Groundwater, my maternal grandfather’s mother.  She was born  |  more…

Old homestead

The farm of Kebro stands on a rise at the head of the Germiston road, with an uninterrupted view down over the Kirbister loch and out to Scapa Flow. It is about 350m off the main road, in the parish of Orphir, Orkney, very close to the border with Stenness. A place for people Old  |  more…

Misfortune

Many of my direct ancestors had hard lives with deaths at sea, loss of children at a young age, poverty and hardship, but their stories and their lives are known.  Is the greatest misfortune perhaps to be unremembered? My father knew the names of all his grandfather’s brothers and sisters, married names, where they lived,  |  more…