Home

We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T S Elliot

Welcome to my family history web site and blog. I’ve done loads of research, only some of which is on here, so this is a work in progress as I’m adding more each week.

The tabs above take you to summaries of the research I’ve done on the different lines that converged, over three centuries, to result in my birth.

Check out my blog for some old photos and bits and bobs that have caught my interest.

The aim of this web site and blog is to share information and ideas. If it also puts me in touch with anyone I might be distantly related to, or share interests with, so much the better. So please feel free to browse and leave a comment.

About me

I’ve been researching my family history, on and off, since the 1990s and uncovered an enormous amount of fascinating information, as well as hit a number of brick walls. My interest has extended well beyond the mere gathering of names and dates, as I love finding out about how my ancestors may have lived, the places they called home, the occupations they followed and the living conditions of their time.

Home for me is Leeds (Yorkshire, England), although only one of my parents was born here and none of my grandparents were. As a child I took pride in saying I was three-quarters Scottish due to having three Scottish grandparents. My maternal grandmother, born near Barnsley, was the only English one.

I’ve recently retired, which means more time to take my interest in family history further. For the last ten years I worked as an academic, so like to think I have well honed research skills. Before that I worked in advertising, mostly in London and Australia. So like my ancestors I moved about a bit, but unlike some of them I’ve ended up back where I was born. Not surprising, then, that one of my favourite quotations (see above) is from a T S Elliot poem. I think it applies to all family historians.

30 responses to “Home

  1. Just to let you know, I’ve nominated you for an inspirational blog award, you can read my nomination post here: http://suzysu.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  2. Oh Su, that’s lovely of you. I’ve not been doing this long and am trying to make it interesting to others, and not just myself and people who share the same ancestors. Thank you for appreciating my efforts!

  3. Hi, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award for your wonderful blog. You can see it here: http://amongmybranches.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/liebster-blog-award/

    Congratulations! William (amongmybranches)

  4. Hello Judy

    I wanted to let you know I’ve also nominated you for an inspirational blog award, you can read my nomination post here:
    http://lynnie57.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  5. Love you blog Just wanted to let you knowI’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award you can view your nomination here; http://genealogydiscovery.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/libster-award/

  6. Oh my! Three nominations for a blog award. Thank you all so much. I’ve now added a new blog post answering the nomination questions.

  7. I discovered your genealogy blog when I googled the name Joseph Gilmour Strachan. Wow! You have so much family information, and you present it so well. I believe that I may be related to your family, and I’m hoping that you can help me confirm if this is true. Would you please e-mail me at jeopardy@berkeley.edu so that I can give you the details of my convoluted story. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Best Regards, Carrie

  8. I have Frasers in the family. One is George Cruden Fraser. An offshoot line of Davidson of Balnagask.

    Any help?

    • Hi Michael and welcome to the blog. My Fraser line come from Cruden and Longside parishes, and before that the Arbroath area. Not come across anyone from Balnagask but will keep my eye out. I also have a couple of ancestors who married a Davidson. Fraser and Davidson seem to have be fairly common names in Aberdeenshire.

  9. Your blog is amazingly detailed and beautifully presented. My interested is that I am descended from Alexander Inglis and Janet Strachan (my great grandparents, who migrated to Australia in 1887. I have been researching all branches of my family only for the past five years (yes, retirement opens opportunities for doing this) but have managed to discover a great deal and to write it all up. I have traced my Scottish origins (from five migrant couples) and also their Australian descendants, so the accounts are now quite extensive. I would like to share any relevant accounts with you. In terms of ancestors, I too found Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander (and the possibility that Thomas’s parents were Thomas Strachan and Agnes Patrick). Your blog extends the possibilities but I agree that certainty stops with Thomas and Susannah.
    I have not yet read all the material on your blog and look forward to doing so.
    Graham Maxwell, Brisbane, Australia

    • Hello Graham and welcome to the blog. I believe we messaged each other a while ago via RootsChat so it’s lovely to talk to you again. Yes, family history is a wonderful interest to have once you’ve retired. I’d be very grateful for any relevant information to add to my tree. As you will know, the Strachans spawned very large families and so many migrated: I suspect I have more “cousins” in USA, Canada and Australia than I have in Scotland, and that I’m one of only a few in England! Yes, it does seem to stop with Thomas and Susannah as prior to them can only be speculation, though the more I’ve read up on it the more I’m inclined to think that prior to Ayrshire includes Ireland somehow. One day something might turn up to take us further back but I rather doubt it. So my Strachan research is focussed on forward and outwards now rather than backwards.

      All the best,
      Judy

  10. Hi Judy, just found your blog. It is excellent!. You write so well. I have been doing family history for a number of years and would like to put it on a blog to share info and find extended family. However, I work full-time. I can’t wait till I am working part-time or ideally not at all! I have started to map out my blog. I love the layout of yours. I’ve annointed you my blog role model! Just might be a while before mine sees the light of day. I’m on a break from work at the moment, so pretending that I’m retired! Looking forward to reading more of your posts/articles. Cheers, Debra

    • Hi Debra and welcome to the blog. Glad you’ve enjoyed reading it. I was just like you – did a lot of research on and off for years, but while also working full-time it was difficult to do anything with it. I started the blog soon after I’d retired. But the good thing with a blog is you can take your time. Good luck with yours!
      Judy

  11. Thanks so much for the very clear explanation of how the farm labour system worked. Ever since I visited the museum of agriculture at Pitmeddin in 2004, I’ve been trying to figure this out as my dad’s family were involved in farming, probably for at least the last couple of hundred years. You’ve saved me hours of research. Thanks again.

    • Hi Mary. So glad the article helped. I was intrigued after I started researching my family tree, so did lots of reading about life as a farm servant in that part of Scotland. Ian Carter’s book “Farm life in north-east Scotland” is a good academic read, and David Kerr Cameron’s “The ballad and the plough” is good on the social background to farm servant life.

      Judy

  12. Hi Judy. I’ve just discovered your blog and am loving exploring all your entries and links. I have my own very modest blog which I share with my family but seeing yours has made me aspire to stretch myself & make it more interesting for other readers also. Thanks for such an interesting and inspirational blog.

    • Hi Val and welcome to the blog. So glad you’re enjoying it. I hope you have great success with your own blog and family tree, but be warned that it’s addictive! One of the lovely things about a blog is it brings you in contact of lots of interesting people, including relatives you never knew you had.
      Judy

  13. Just a wee point of interest for you. Eric Liddell’s mother was Reddin (not Redding) from Paxton in Berwickshire. Her parents were the local blacksmiths! Thought you might like to know this, in case you are trying to trace her and can’t because of the wrong name!
    Amd

    • Thanks for that Alison. I have the name as Reddin on the marriage certificate, which I found online, but the name seems to be written as Redding on Eric’s father’s death certificate. I haven’t yet got round to researching most of the people who married distant ancestors, though, as there are enough “blood” ancestors still to find out about!

  14. Hi Judy, Helen McCrae Strachan married into my extended Aitken family; I’d love to compare notes with you when you have time. Thanks, Amy

    • Hi Amy Are you related to John Aitken? I know very little about him as he was my uncle through marriage. Would love to find out more. Thanks for leaving a message.
      Judy

      • Yep, he was my first cousin 3 times removed. I have some info about his family but very little about him personally. I’d love to contact living descendants of course. :)

      • H|i Amy – I’ve sent you an email with a few more details about John Aitken.

  15. Patricia Strachan

    Hi Judy,

    Great blog, with so much interesting information. Thanks.
    I also am descended from Thomas and Susannah through their son Robert, your g.g.g. grandfather John’s brother.

    Robert’s grandson Hugh, (son of John) also a coal miner moved around a lot and finally settled in Fife where our line continued. Be glad to share any info you’d like on this line.

    I guess we are cousins??

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