Nice moniker

Helen McCaulay Ritch. That name stands out among my ancestors; it has a nice ring to it. Helen was a great-great-grandmother on my father’s side, wife of Ralph Nicolson. She was born in Rackwick, Hoy, Orkney on 10 March 1815, the second known daughter of Thomas Ritch and Ann Mckay. I came across Helen fairly  |  more…

Colour blind

Hugh Ross. I only needed to mention that name and my father would say something along the lines of: “He was colour blind so he never passed out higher than bosun.” Hugh (1849-1927) was his great uncle, an older brother of his grandfather, John, both children of Upper Seatter, North Walls, Orkney. Documentary evidence With  |  more…

“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…

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