Wigtownshire Ancestral Trip

Last year I had the pleasure of taking Sue Dietz from Florida and her Grandson Taylor on a three day trip to Wigtownshire. This is where I spent the first few years of my life so famiiar territory for me. This morning I received this email from Sue which was lovely to have:

“In mid July I took my grandson to visit his ancestral homeland, Wigtown, Wigtownshire,  Scotland. It was my desire that he experience travel, as I have, and what a wonderful place to do so. This was the first trip I planned myself and I was nervous about choices concerning tours and guides. I happened across Scottish Ancestral Tours/www.scottishancestor.co.uk and was in contact with Frances Black. She answered questions and was willing to both pick us up at Edinburgh airport and return us to Edinburgh for the last leg of our journey. Her price was quite appealing by comparison.

We were delayed a bit in the airport for bathroom, luggage, and exchanging money. I wondered if our guide would be waiting. Yes, she was. With a sign. I was relieved!

Frances drove towards Wigtown pointing out interesting facts and sites along the way. I did not want to drive in a foreign country on the opposite side of the road to what I am used to, nor would I allow grandson to drive since he had only recently gotten his license. We stopped for lunch at the Elphinstone Hotel in Biggar. I chose the fish chowder – Cullen Skink – which contained smoked haddock. OMGosh was it delicious. I must say it was the best of the trip and indeed I had other fish chowders to compare to. 

I went to Scotland to see Scotland, not just the highlights, all the historic places. I wanted to see the landscape and the ever present seas, to mingle with the locals and enjoy what they live each day. 

Frances deposited us at our bed and breakfast and returned for us next morning. We drove to Whithorn, near St. Ninians, by the  former Bladnoch Distillery, to the ruins of Sorbie, to Garliestown. We lunched at the Steam Pocket Inn where I had more Cullen Skink. Afterwards we walked along the water where the tide was out. On a stop by the sea we saw ferries on the other side coming and going out as I imagined our Scots and Scots-Irish ancestors had.  

We relished the sheep, more sheep than we shall see in a lifetime. Frances told us what the colors on their rumps and sides meant. She was always ready with a reply. We noted the stones everywhere among the fields, many used to build homes and walls to divide the land, to keep those sheep in. The air was fresh. Everywhere, it was clean.

Most of all, I delighted in the feeling that I was home. The low mountains reminded me so much of the ones in Virginia and West Virginia where our Scots and Scots-Irish had settled three hundred years and more prior. Though I had read ages before that folks settled where it often seemed like their former home, I could now feel why.

On our return to Edinburgh Frances stopped at a fabulous outlet that had everything, including lunch. I needn’t have been concerned about finding souvenirs. No, not souvenirs but treasures.

Our journey with Frances ended within a look at Edinburg castle which she insisted we should see. We did. We spent hours before heading to our room for the night. 

Frances gave me more than I expected, for she gave me Scotland. I’d love to visit and have her do it again!”

SAFHS Conference & Family History Fair – get your tickets now – only a week to go!

Tickets available for the Safhs Conference and Family History Fair to be held on 21 April in Rothes Hall Glenrothes. Over 50 standholders will be there to help you on the day. Enjoy the video – Full details on www.safhs2018.fifefhs.org


Was Your Ancestor a Convict? The 29th Annual SAFHS Conference & Family History Fair 2018 hosted by Fife Family History Society – Scottish Charity No: SC025246.

Posted by Karon McBride on Friday, 29 December 2017

Testimonial from California

From William Cain of California:  Frances helped make my mom’s dream of seeing where her Scottish ancestors lived a reality. I contacted Frances a few weeks before we planned to visit Scotland to try to trace our family history. She did some research based on the limited information that I had and was able to discover where our relatives lived and worked before they emigrated to the US. In addition to proving copies of the search results (which we have shared with many relatives upon our return), she took the time to explore the areas ahead of our arrival so that she would have first hand experience of what there was to see. On the day of the tour she picked us up at our apartment and took us to all of the various towns where our relatives had lived. She was very knowledgeable, accommodating, friendly and relaxed as we explored the beautiful Scottish countryside. It was a very special day for my mother that she will never forget. I highly recommend Frances.

Frances & William’s mother Jane at Culross (Cranesmuir in Outlander) 2017


Luxury Accommodation on our Family Farm.

Accommodation in our luxury lodges on the family farm near Lindores, Fife can be part of your Ancestral Visit.


Lindores Lodge                                                              

The Arches 

Our new lodge “The Glasshouse” coming soon. For Bookings and further details see www.lindores.co.uk

Pictures (c) Black Creative Media



Family History is Fun – Free event Cupar Library 16 Jan 2018

Family History is Fun

16 January @ 10:00 am3:00 pm


Want to find out more about your Fife family history? Pop in and see what we have to help you start out with your family history. For those who have already started out, put ‘meat on the bones’ and be introduced to online resources. Fife Archives and Cupar Library Reference section and Cupar Heritage will also be displaying local history and heritage material. Admission Free. If you would like further information please contact secretary@fifefhs.org

Was you Ancestor a Fife Convict?

Nine hundred records and more than a thousand historic images of criminals convicted in Fife in the early part of the 20th century have been published online for the first time. The Fife, Scotland, Criminal Registers, 1910-1931 collection, has been digitised by Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genomics, from original records held by ON at Fife Archives.

Read more at: http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/registers-reveal-mugshots-of-fife-s-historic-criminals-1-4601171

This fascinating glimpse into the past gives details of convicts, their crimes and physical descriptions used to identify serial offenders.
And the photographs, some more than 100 years old, reveal the faces of men, women and children arrested in the region.

Read more at: http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/registers-reveal-mugshots-of-fife-s-historic-criminals-1-4601171

Valuation Rolls for 1935 go online with Scotland’s People

Valuation rolls for 1935 have now been added to ScotlandsPeople. This set of records follows ten previous releases of rolls, 1855 – 1930, on ScotlandsPeople, the family history website of National Records of Scotland.

The latest valuation rolls include more than 2.7 million indexed names and addresses for owners, tenants and occupiers of properties throughout Scotland, including a record of its annual valued rent. The total of index entries available to researchers on the ScotlandsPeople site is now over 118 million.

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“We’re delighted to be adding to the huge resources of ScotlandsPeople. The latest year opens a window into Scotland in 1935, giving an intriguing glimpse into life at the time. It is part of our commitment at National Records of Scotland to continue improving public access to the records researchers want.”

Among the newly-released records are entries relating to some of Scotland’s well- known authors, including Compton Mackenzie, Neil Gunn, Jospehine Tey, Nan Shepherd and Annie S. Swan. To discover more read our special feature on Scottish authors in the 1935 valuation rolls.

The valuation rolls now span 80 years from 1855 to 1935 and are searchable through nearly 28 million index entries. In the first rolls of 1855 there are just over 1 million entries, and in 1930 there were 2.5 million names. Between 1855 and 1930 Scotland’s population grew from over 3 million to 4.8 million.