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ANCESTRY


FROM OZ TO ABERFELDY – MAKING AN ANCESTRAL TRIP AROUND SCOTLAND


A


s soon as my boot hit Scottish soil I knew that genealogy was in the dirt as much as it was in


the archives. My mother, born in Australia,


had traced our ancestry back to my great, great grandfather, John Robertson, from Musselburgh, in the county of Edinburgh, who had left Scotland in 1856. Tey had been settlers, farmers who worked the Australian soil. But, before that, they had been Scottish and I could feel them twitching under my boot right outside Glasgow Airport. On my two journeys to discover the


Scotland of my ancestors, in the autumn of 2009 and, again, in the spring of 2011, I hiked the West Highland Way, bagging a few Munros on the way, travelled to Skye, to Inverness and up to the Black Isle, searching through graveyards and inhaling the salt air. Ten down to


“THEY WERE ALL FANTASTICALLY WELCOMING, WELL- ORGANISED AND OPEN TO PEOPLE EXPERIENCING SCOTLAND IN THEIR OWN WAY”


52 SCOTTISH HOSTELLER 2012


Pitlochry, the home country of the Robertsons, to Struan and Aberfeldy, then to Stirling and, finally, Edinburgh. Each night I could, I stayed at a SYHA Youth Hostel, from Glasgow to Rowardennan Lodge to Crianlarich to Loch Ossian to Pitlochry. Tey were all


fantastically welcoming, incredibly well-organised and, best of all, open to people experiencing Scotland in their own way, from bustling school groups to grey-haired hill walkers and young people in Glasgow for a night of football. I always felt accepted, though my journey fit into a different category than most. Most of these two trips were to get a sense of the land from which my ancestors had originated, as I had never been there before. Next time, and there will be a next time, I’m going to have to delve deeper into those archives. And, when I do, I’ll be sleeping the night at a SYHA Youth Hostel.


Kent Robertson Top search tips


For those hostellers that may be strapped for cash there are free two-hour sessions at 10am and 2pm for first time visitors at the ScotlandsPeople centre in Edinburgh. Also, a day search ticket is £15, which is much cheaper than searching online if you have many searches to carry out. Te Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock also both offer £15 day search tickets. If you are looking for Catholic records only, they are only available on the website at the moment but scheduled to be released at the ScotlandsPeople centre in Edinburgh early this year – but won’t be released at the Mitchell Library or Burns Monument Centre. You could also visit the Scottish Catholic Archives in Edinburgh, which is free if a reader’s ticket has been obtained.


Remember that you can look up some family history records for free at local archives or libraries. You might be able to look up valuation rolls, Kirk Session records, transcriptions of census records, historic newspapers, maps, etc. Often you just need two passport size photos and proof of address to get into archives and libraries – and they are free!


FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.ancestralconsultants.com or info@ ancestralconsultants.com


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