Six frying pans, 30 pounds of syrup, and a gross of what??

Catholic Europe has celebrated fatherhood since the Middle Ages on 16 March, St Joseph’s Day.  Here in the UK Father’s Day is much more recent and falls on 17 June this year. There’s practically no-one in my tree with a birthday on those dates or called Joseph, so in the spirit of commercialism, which now  |  more…

Cemetery – or how one word took me to a very distant place

Cemetery, churchyard, graveyard, kirkyard, words that bring a gleam to the eye of family history addicts. Handled carefully, they can be treasure chests but there are a few caveats: not everyone had a gravestone, some stones have gone or are no longer readable and, most importantly, not all the information on them is correct. Cemetery  |  more…

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 “Five 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…