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John Flett – you’re to blame!

About 20 years ago my sister had an Australian temp in her office. The woman’s surname was Flett, a very Orkney surname. When my sister mentioned this to my father he was immediately very interested. His granny’s brother, John Flett, had immigrated to Australia but contact had been lost. Could this temp be a descendant  |  more…

S is for Statistical Accounts of Scotland

Keep reading! They are far more than numbers. The Statistical Accounts are two fascinating sets of reports on each Scottish parish in the 1790s and the 1830s/40s.  They cover economic and social activities as well as natural resources. What, when, who, how? Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster sent out 171 queries to the ministers of  |  more…

Q is for quixotic

Quixotic – “preoccupied with an unrealistically optimistic or chivalrous approach to life; impractically idealistic” – a fair word to describe William M Groundwater, my great great uncle? William Moncrieff Groundwater was born on 11 March 1849 in Orphir, Orkney, first child of John Groundwater and Williamina Moncrieff, and died on 16 October 1936 at Cruan  |  more…

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