28 January 2011

The Year (2010) In Pictures

Ja, I know ... 2010 is over and done with. If you think this is post facto, consider the 2010 Annual Letter I haven’t written yet “for friends and family.” Because, of course, the tightening of family history priorities means I have no friends any more and the relatives don’t care what the crazy lady does.

That takes care of that, so I am free to issue my first Annual Pictorial Record. Maclean’s does it. Time Mag does it. Why not the humble blogger? Why didn’t I think of this back in 2003. Or 1979.

C1 dons vestige of her normal patriotic costume to celebrate Vancouver Olympics.

C4 takes costume and performance art seriously, being a C1 spin-off.

C2 the biologist pathologist does her part hacking at a tiny portion of a dead whale.

C3 introduces me to Dutch culinary delights besides beer.

A resort on Lake Superior with with a superb chef.

Not a resort in Scotland.

A portrait of yours truly travelling the Highlands in comfort.

Two down, two to go. Oh well, you can read all that by merely clicking on “My Books” at the top of this blog.

10 January 2011

JURIKAS Part 4: A New Outline

Speaking of “Parts,” Jurikas posts have been somewhat arbitrarily numbered, since inception it seems. Something to do with the missing DNA math thingy in my brain. Never mind. Previous posts on this family seem to be at Part 3, Part 2, and Marija
Who would have thought the Baltic ancestry would way outstrip the Scottish ancestry in terms of historic extension? We should be so grateful for systematic European traditions of civil and religious registration, for hundreds of years. My Balts were in both Latvia and Estonia, I learn. Me, I’m in Euphoria.

Frantic typing between Sweden and Canada have been rocking my electronic universe the last few weeks. I have to credit the Internet—blogging and Facebook—for new contacts, new cousins. And a large sweeping bow to the State Archives of Latvia (Raduraksti) and Estonia (Saaga) for their remarkably inclusive work at digitizing vital records. Mind you, English only goes so far but who’s complaining?!

Cousin research has extended my lineage to a boggling (for me) QUINTUPLE grandfather. Not bad for the peasant class. Much to do yet in overcoming language difficulties and the differences in chart presentations / terminology, but sources are cited. Details of births/baptisms, marriages and wives, siblings, and some deaths are in hand. Parishes and estate references must be plotted. [Remember, I do yap on about maps and geography]. Blogs of slow and painful progress are sure to follow.  

This family migrated a LOT—I certainly don’t have the spellings and syntactical correctness of estate (manor) names under control. Truth be told, I realize how stunningly inept my education was for Latvian, Estonian, and Swedish words. I can feebly manage some German (for the Lutheran registers) and a bit of Russian (for the Orthodox registers), a process entailing loud verbal trials of pronunciation to self as sole audience; I expect my neighbours are not impressed. My researcher friend Antra and her blog are the best help I could wish for. So I feel confident in presenting the briefest outline of my direct ancestry.

grandmother Marija (Jurikas) Freibergs born 1872, Lāde parish, Limbaži, Latvia
gt-grandfather Jahn/Janis Jurikas born/baptized 1843, Limbaži, Latvia
gt-gt-grandfather Jürri Jurikas born 1817, Surri/Surju, Estonia
gt-gt-gt-grandfather Jaan Jurikas born 1793, Tori/Torgel, Estonia
gt-gt-gt-gt-grandfather Jürri Jurikas born 1772,Tori/Torgel, Estonia
gt-gt-gt-gt-gt-grandfather Jüri Jurikas born 1737, Tori/Torgel, Estonia

And maybe we’re not done yet. It seems Jüri born 1737 had a sister born 1741. One expects they had parents. Must be named somewhere. Who will ultimately reveal themselves. Unlike the lawless, independent Scots.

... I know ... my mother’s three children and their offspring—who inherited 25% of the Baltic blood—will be as thrilled as I am. Erumph. Yes, you guys out there north, south and east.

04 January 2011

Dougall Part 7 .. or Geography Raises Its Ugly Handsome Head Again

[Memo to Self: Know your geography. Know your county boundaries. Know your parishes. Maps, maps, maps.]
I’ve said that before in so many words, and am not too proud to admit mistakes (Parkhead, sigh). Luckily my cognitive skills are not so impaired that I couldn’t rescue a 30-year-old error. Reviewing old research, to my bemusement I discovered I’d misplaced a county. Or rather, identified a place name with the wrong county.

Here I’d been claiming West Lothian (alone) in Scotland as my ancestral grounds. Branding my Dougalls, you might say. After all, the important marriage took place there (the emigrant couple), when that county was known as Linlithgowshire. Once upon a time the River Almond divided two counties and all the little nearby places where John Dougall once lived and worked.

“Linlithgow” certainly struck a repeated chord in the collective family memory for five-six generations. No-one ever mentioned Midlothian or Edinburghshire. And yet, that is where most of the action took place. As much action as I can uncover.

Our John Dougall was baptized in West Calder parish, commonly ascribed (had I understood it) to placement in the County of Midlothian. It seems almost certain he was born at Parkhead—named as his parents’ residence in the parish record—in Linlithgowshire. For some reason, John’s parents ignored the kirk at Abercorn near Parkhead. Each time a new Dougall came along in the 1780s they  travelled about thirteen miles and across five parishes to West Calder in a different county for baptisms. Needless to say, family ties are suspected for the aberration.

For a long time the town and parish of West Calder were in Midlothian. ’Twas not always thus. Formerly, they sat in the County of Edinburghshire. The boundary between the two counties changed somewhat in 1891—long after my people left—just enough to confuse historical research. In fact, twentieth century decisions changed Midlothian to Lothian Region, and then West Lothian Council replaced all former administrative names.
The illustration is of a church that today lies in ruins, having been replaced by a new kirk in 1880.

Rest assured, West Calder was not playing musical chairs, but has always occupied the same position on the south side of River Almond since at least 1647. The Family History Library microfilms have the Midlothian label. My old gazetteer goes with Edinburghshire (the maps and print are so tiny only an insect could read them; I should have hired an ant to decipher).[1] The National Archives of Scotland uses either name indiscriminately without regard, it seems, for appropriate time periods. Scotland’s Places explains all, praise be.

The title of a genealogy or family history normally includes—at a minimum—a surname and associated place name (identification). Perhaps “the Lothians” here would be an acceptable glossing over. Titles are not the place to muse as above. Having already screwed up one self-published family history by forgetting the wonderful cover illustration,[2] recklessly onward I plunge.

Edinburghshire/Midlothian definitely re-shaped my hypothesis about the origins of John Dougall’s grandfather. The man appeared in 1752 in West Calder to baptize his first known child without the kindness of revealing his own baptism or marriage record. My list of his parent-candidates takes on a new perspective. I can dispense with the previously-favoured Highland fantasy and gather romantic notions about Heart of Midlothian. The place, not the book. Or both ... who knows.
Photograph, Heart of Midlothian, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, David MacClean, 2004.

[1] David E. Gardner, Derek Harland, Frank Smith, compilers, A Genealogical Atlas of Scotland, 2nd ed. (Provo, UT: Stevenson’s Genealogical Center, 1972).
[2] Brenda Dougall Merriman, Ancestors and Descendants of Donald McFadyen and Flory McLean, Isle of Coll, Scotland to River Denys, Nova Scotia (Alpharette, GA: UniBook Publishing, 2010);, Biography category.