Unusual source?

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Unusual source?

Post by AnneM » Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:17 pm

Following a suggestion from Chris Paton in an FH magazine of 'genie' ways to improve a spare half hour at lunchtime, I was idly googling the name and farm name of the ancestors of a friend for whom I'm doing a bit of research when, surprisingly, I found a link to a collection of folk songs The Greig Duncan Collection. Apparently, one of the songs of the type known as a 'night visiting song' was written about a female ancestor, Mrs Watt and relates the tale of a visit to her father's home at night by a lover. The song is called The Lad O' Shuttlehowe and it tells that she had fallen asleep with her baby beside her when her lover came calling. She did not hear him but the child woke and disturbed her father who investigated the intruder. He, apparently a neighbouring farmer called Joseph McBoyle, expected to see his sweetheart but instead was faced by the farmer. Nothing daunted he offered the farmer snuff. The farmer responded that he would be pleased to see him at a decent hour.

The song in its entirety was not on the internet but I am fortunate to have a son who is a local studies librarian and he sent me a scanned copy in short order. I've never before come across information about an ancestor found through a song before. She certainly was a bit of a lass that one! Has anyone else ever found a story about an ancestor immortalised in song?

Researching M(a)cKenzie, McCammond, McLachlan, Kerr, Assur, Renton, Redpath, Ferguson, Shedden, Also Oswald, Le/assels/Lascelles, Bonning just for starters

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Re: Unusual source?

Post by carlineric » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:03 am

Not a direct ancestor or song but there is a loose family connection to Elizabeth Paton who was the first illegitimate daughter of Robert Burns. She is immortalized in his poem to the taxman the Inventory as "My sonsie, smirking, dear bought Bess"


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Re: Unusual source?

Post by SarahND » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:31 am

Brilliant, Anne!
I was brought up hearing my older sisters and brother playing guitars and singing about train wrecks, mining disasters and Appalachian family feuds, complete with the full names of all concerned, but so far haven't found any ancestors in the lot! That would be an eye-opener, indeed :D


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