Day 9–June 25–Train from Edinburgh to Glasgow

We had a leisurely breakfast and got to the train station a little after noon. The walk from the hotel to the Edinburgh Waverly train station was about 100 meters. The train to Glasgow Central took about an hour; we were running early so we had lunch at the station before catching the train to Paisley, now a suburb of Glasgow. From the station, we hopped a bus for a 10 minute ride to a stop about 50 yards from our Airbnb lodgings. The bus was £6 for the two of us. IIt would have been cheaper to take a taxi. Our hostess drove us back to town for dinner at an Italian place near the train station. We walked through the old town before dinner, and then walked home (about a mile).

Our walk of the town included the Paisley Abbey where Kristin’s great-great grandfather and mother were married. The choir section to the left collapsed in the middle ages and would not have been there when they were married. It was rebuilt during the Victorian era. On our last full day in Scotland, we would go to a service at the church and join the parishioners for coffee and some delightful conversation.

We spent most of the afternoon and evening planning the week, but that plan did not survive long.

The Paisley Abbey is an impressive building today, and would have been more so when it was originally constructed beginning in the 1400s.
Paisley--Paisley Abbey at Sunset

Day 8–June 24–NEHGS Tour of Edinburgh

This was the last day of the seminar, and I got to join Kristin and the other seminar participants for the day. The New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) organized a tour of the Greyfriars Church for the morning, followed by a late-morning/early afternoon tour of the National Museum and finishing up with a tour of the Lamont House on Charlotte Square.

The Greyfriars Church tour was fascinating for the amount of detail on some of the tombstone inscriptions; I think some of the inscriptions ran to 50 or 60 words. The yard used for the Covenanter’s Prison reminded me of the football stadiums and other buildings that have been used for prisons in Chile and other nations in modern times.

The National Museum was worth much more than the two hours that we had. In particular, I want to spend more time with the Atmospheric Engine as I do not think the Henry Ford or other US museums have a similar specimen. The section on the history of weaving technology was insteresting and useful, as the ancestor that I am researching was probably a weaver before emmigrating to the U.S.–his probate in Pennsylvania lists a loom as a named item. One woman participating in the seminar had a series of ancestors who were “beetler&rsquos;s” and all became deaf. After seeing a beetling machine for pounding linen cloth smooth, we immediately understood why they all went deaf shortly after entering the workforce.

The Lamont house is interesting for the kitchen and the fashion history exhibits. It is well worth the visit.

We finished the day with a banquet dinner, where several people talked about their research breakthroughs. One talked of viewing a 14th Century document, while another talked of the court case file regarding the railroad accident death of an ancestor. One remarked that she had confirmed that she does not have any common relatives with President Trump, despite the fact that his mother and her ancestors come from the same island.

The NEGHS tour started with the cemetery of Greyfriar’s Church. The historical and art history trends in the headstones were quite interesting, all the more since Kristin discovered that one of her ancestors was a monument maker.
Edinburgh--Greyfriars Kirk and Cemetery

Day 6–June 22–Laundry and Scotland’s People at the Archive

I went back to the laundromat to do laundry at 9:00 and was glad to get there early; I had to wait about 10 minutes for a washer, and by the time my load was started, the attendant was quoting people an hour and a half wait. When I arrived, there was a lively discussion going on between the attendant and a customer as to whether President Trump would be assassinated in office or whether he would quit because it was too hard.

After doing laundry, I met Kristin for lunch at the archive cafe, and then did some more work on Scotland’s People. It was largely unfocused, and mainly looking at the actual document images. I stumbled across a marriage record and the death records of several children that listed a weaver of the right name, but nothing that corresponded to my best candidate from the day before. Although I did not know it at the time, this may be a new best candidate, as my sister later found a will that listed a loom.

We did take-away baguette sandwiches for dinner and then I went to a meeting for the Waverly Communicators Toastmasters club and subsequent after-meeting pub talk. I really like the idea of having a meeting in the same building as a pub.

Day 7–June 23–Bus Tour of the Highlands

I got breakfast early and walked across the street to the Rabbie’s bus tour office for an all-day tour of the Highlands. It turned out that I was the only native English speaker on the tour and the only lone traveler; the bus driver asked me to sit in the jump seat. It has a great view, but is uncomfortable. It was worth it.

Along the way, the driver pointed out the valley where portions of Skyfall were filmed, the castle where Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed, the mountainside where the Buckbeak execution was filmed in Harry Potter and the Sourcerer’s Stone, and the house used for the Monarch of the Glen TV series. I do not know if anyone else understood the cultural references.

The Highlands are quite beautiful. I have seen a lot of glacial geology, but none that was so green.

We had dinner at an Italian place in a district recommended by the Toastmasters pub group. It was one of the better Italian meals I have had.

The first rest stop on the trip was at a loch where two women were doing an open water training swim. The air temperature was quite cold; I can only imagine the water temperature.
Loch Ness and Highlands Tour--Whose Shoes?
The Scottish Highlands are beautiful and have a great deal of history. This stop was at the location of the Massacre of Glencoe.
Loch Ness and Highlands Tour--Site of Glencoe Massacre
There are three bridges across the Firth of Fourth at Edinburgh; the old bridge constructed in the Victorian era, the new bridge constructed in the 1960s, and the newest bridge which is largely finished but which will not take traffic for another few months.
Loch Ness and Highlands Tour--Old Firth Bridge

Day 5–Scotland’s People at the Archive

After several days of lots of walking, I was ready for an easy day, so I took the morning to collect the research that my sister had done and formulate a plan for an afternoon accessing the Scotland’s People website at the Archive. You can get to this from the US, but it is much more expensive to browse. At the centers in Scotland, you can view an unlimited number of images for £15 per day.

Initially, there was very little to go on–a birth year and a name. It turns out there were a dozen or so men born with that name listed in the Old Parish Registers during the decade of birth, but only one with the birth year I was after. The Old Parish Registers may only contain about half of the births that occurred. I was able to figure out that I would need a lot more information from the American side to make any progress. I was also able to figure out that a find-a-grave entry for this individual is probably fanciful.

When the library closed, we took a nap and then I went off to do laundry but got there too late; last wash was at 6:00 even though they closed at 8:00. I hiked back up the hill and we went to a convenient Italian place for dinner and crashed.

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