“By thy long grey beard…”

All the surviving photos show John Ross as an older man with a white beard. Perhaps it was grey earlier, like the Ancient Mariner. Fishing and farming John, my great grandfather, spent his whole life in Orkney, crofting and fishing in the parish of Walls. Beyond the bare biographical details, I sadly know very little  |  more…

Death on the farm

Old age, unknown – no medical attendant, phthisis (tuberculosis), these are all causes of death that I come across frequently. Old age is some times described as “senility” but whichever one is used is something of a catch-all, really meaning “we’re not sure but he/she was old”. “Unknown” has much wider application and was an  |  more…

Step family trouble?

It’s a rare family where there is never any conflict. Some times family stories contain hints or details of fallouts, other times there is documentary evidence. That’s the case for Robert Moncrieff, my x4 great uncle. Robert Moncrieff (1757- between 1827 and 1839) Robert was the oldest son of Robert Moncrieff of Houton, Orphir, Orkney,  |  more…

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