Tag Archives: Family History

The Great Scottish Descendant Debate – Choosing a Tartan

When my daughter Adelaide gets older, I have decided that she is going to try Highland Dancing. Fast paced, lots of fun, steeped in history, Highland Dancing will allow her to get some exercise, make some friends and learn to follow instructions.

My daughter is less than a year old. Why would I want to get her signed up for something so early? Truth is, she’s always had an incredible way of holding herself upright. She likes her legs out straight, her toes pointed. She has a dancers stance. Always has and I think it would be great if she can get involved in something that also has costumes that I can support and agree with.

My husband is pretty much on board with this plan. Together we talked to friends who have a daughter in highland dancing. She started dancing a little older than I initially expected, which I’m completely okay with. I always found it funny when people had their daughters in dance at the age of 2 even if it is really cute.

Our friends also talked to us about the clothing and how nice it is having something that is a little less revealing and there is also the ability to show off your family history – something that I would love to do.

The truth is, my daughter has a chance to wear many different tartans from both sides of her family and I’m having a really hard time deciding which tartan would be the best choice. Having descended from several great Scottish families, we have a lot of tartans to choose from. Here is a breakdown:

Murray (of Atholl)

Father’s side: Adelaide’s great-grandmother was Janet Latimer Murray.

These tartans all represent the Murray's of Atholl according to The Scottish Register of Tartans. Right: Dress tartan. Centre: Original tartan. Left: Murray traditional tartan
These tartans all represent the Murray’s of Atholl according to The Scottish Register of Tartans. Right: Dress tartan. Centre: Original tartan. Left: Murray traditional tartan

Elliot

Elliot family, Tartan, Scotland, Scottish
The Elliot tartan per the Scottish Register of Tartans

Father’s side: Adelaide’s 2x great-grandmother was Helen Elliot.

Sinclair

Mother’s side: Adelaide’s 2x great-grandmother was Margaret Dryden. Our Dryden family came to Canada in the 1700s but before that, they were affiliated with Clan Sinclair.

According to the Scottish Register of Tartans, these two tartans are available for people under the clan Sinclair. Left: the dress tartan for dancing. Right: the original clan tartan
According to the Scottish Register of Tartans, these two tartans are available for people under the Clan Sinclair. Left: the dress tartan for dancing. Right: the original clan tartan

Keith, Falconer and Austin

Keith, Falconer, Austin, Marshall, Tartan, family
This tartan applies to the clans under Keith, Falconer, Austin and Marshall. *This tartan would apply to both sides of Adelaide’s family

This tartan is applicable on both sides of Adelaide’s family.

Father’s side: Adelaide’s 3x great-grandmother was Grace Marshall. The tartan known as Marshall is also known as Keith, Falconer and Austin.

Mother’s side: Adelaide’s 5x great-grandmother was Nancy Dickson. Clan Dickson is considered a sept of Clan Keith. This would mean that this tartan is on both sides of the family and could be a strong contender as a tartan for Adelaide.

MacLaren

Mother’s side: Adelaide’s 3x great-grandmother was Catherine McLarty. My research shows that McLarty’s would have worn the MacLaren tartan.

MacLaren Tartan
Both of these tartans are acceptable for the MacLaren Clan per The Scottish Register of Tartans.

Kennedy

Mother’s side: Adelaide’s 4x great-grandmother was Margaret Kennedy.

All three of these Kennedy tartans have slight variations in colour but are options for Adelaide.
All three of these Kennedy tartans have slight variations in colour but are options for Adelaide per The Scottish Register of Tartans.

McInnes

Mother’s side: Adelaide’s 4x great-grandmother was Euphemia McMaster. Through some basic research, I understand the McMaster clan was part of Clan MacInnes, but there may have been a divide around the time of the Jacobite Rebellion.

MacInnes Tartans, Scottish
The MacInnes Clan members have several tartans to choose from. Left: dress tartan according to The Scottish Register of Tartans. Right: ancient hunting tartan.

 

In light of the Cambridge Scottish Festival this weekend, I think we need to go see some of the tartans in the flesh before we make a decision. Which tartan do you think we should choose?

Note: Tartan images came from The Scottish Register of Tartans.

My Irish Truth

All my life, I have been living a lie.

Okay so maybe it’s not that bad. All my life I have believed myself to be Irish. I thought I was Irish and Scottish and that’s my heritage. I romanticized the highlands and the green isle and I dreamed of going there and walking in my ancestor’s footsteps.

Yes, I can still do that.

Yes, I am part Irish and Scottish.

I mentioned in this past post about how British I am thanks to my AncestryDNA testing. I was excited really about this. It confirmed what I was finding in my genealogy research and as for the purpose of the tests, British also includes Scotland, so it all made sense to me.

Corina Harris Ancestry DNA certified 6% IrishBut then I looked at my Irish number.

6%

Wait a minute. 6% seems a little low. All my life I believed my grandfather on my mother’s side was purely Irish and that we had a strong connection there. I should be 25% Irish. 6%?!

But then I started thinking about everything I’ve uncovered so far. It is true that my great-grandfather William Richard Hyde came to Canada when he was a very young boy from Ireland. At 5 years old, he arrived in Quebec on June 13, 1876 with his brother and his mother, Eliza Jane Mitchell. He spent the rest of his life here, marrying a local girl named Mary Ann Marcy whose family has roots in England.

So if my great-grandfather is Irish, shouldn’t my DNA be at least 12%?

This is how I came to resolve a mystery I had been having for a really long time about my family.

My great-grandfather was only half Irish.

Bam!

It was staring me in the face and it made so much more sense than I ever imagined. I’ve done some research on that side of the family, well as much as I can since a large amount of Irish records have been destroyed unless you go there and hunt cemeteries. It always perplexed me how online records would show up for an Eliza Jane Mitchell (my 2x great grandmother) being born in England but nothing in Ireland. Perhaps she actually isn’t Irish after all.

It’s a bit heartbreaking to me. I know that it shouldn’t be, I mean, it isn’t like my life has really been affected in any major way.  My Irish roots are formed from a very specific family line, one in which I have very little information on. I’m a Canadian through and through but I really thought I had deep Irish roots. I have the name of my 2x great-grandfather Henry Hyde but no other details. It’s a dead end and leaves a large hole in my tree.

This St. Patrick’s Day I’m proud to be 6% Irish but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to know more.

 

© 2016 Corina Harris