“I made an excellent choice in choosing Frances Black of Scottish Ancestors to be our tour guide from Edinburg to Wigtown and around Dumfries. Frances picked us up at Edinburgh airport, made sure we stopped for a bite, gave us detailed information on places along the way to Wigtown where she deposited us at Hillcrest House which came highly recommended. My grandson will not be likely to forget our first meal in Scotland at the guesthouse where he had his first alcoholic beverage. We really enjoyed conversing with Andrew and how lovely for grandson’s first drink to have come from the former Bladnoch brewery nearby. Breakfast was huge and included all you might possibly desire. The meals were also pleasing to the eye. I must admit, however, that I do not care for haggis.Although we saw some of the more well known sites Frances provided us with what we really wanted, a taste of the area – its people and food, the ancestral landscapes. In Biggar village heading down to Wigtownshire I had probably my favorite food item of the trip. In the Elphenstin Cafe’ I had my first Cullen skink. OMGosh was it ever delicious. Although I would have it at least twice more, that was the very best.All the smallish places we stopped to eat were delightful, filled with a coziness that came from the locals and fellow tourists. At one small sea side town/village we were able to gaze out to sea and imagine our ancestors heading for the plantation settlement in Ulster. And Wigtown, ah, Wigtown, the little book town that swells in population when it has its book festival. We didn’t need to be there for the festival to enjoy looking in bookstores. My grandson and I both felt at home while in Scotland. Perhaps due to our roots but certainly because we found the people we met to be friendly and helpful. The terrain was so familiar, just like the hills of Hardy County, Virginia when my ancestors arrived in what became West Virginia after the Civil War. And like the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in spring, lush and green rolling hills and low mountains.
Frances returned us to Edinburg after stops along the way to again eat and also buy more treasures. I thought a robust and talkative teen boy would be a bit of aggravation but Frances treated him as any adult and we both enjoyed our conversations and answers to questions about the people and their occupations and so forth. She left us by the castle which we marveled over for hours before preparing for the next leg of our journey on to Inverness and then Orkney.”
The bonus of these trips are that friendships are formed with clients from all over the world. The following testimonial from Agnes Pavelko from America sums this up after I located her family home in Slamannan – I have since met up with Agnes and Joyce on 3 occasions. With a name like “Smith” I was dubious what I would find but the family had stayed in the same area so we did on this occasion find the house.
Agnes wrote: “When my daughter and I were making plans for a trip to find our Scottish roots in 2006, we knew we would need to find a Scottish genealogist to work with us. After several days of searching the Internet, we decided to contact Frances Black. It was a wise choice. Frances is an experienced genealogist with a vast knowledge of ancestral resources that are available in Scotland. She is also a quiet spoken, patient lady who did not despair when it became evident that my daughter and I had a lot of disjointed facts about our ancestors and had failed to bring documented evidence. Fortunately, Frances had done her homework with material provided before the trip. We have kept in touch with Frances since our visit in 2006. In 2008 we returned to Scotland and Frances spent the day with us digging through the files at the General Registry Office. Last August , we were pleased to be able to visit with Frances at the Lanarkshire Family History Conference in Motherwell. My daughter and I think of Frances as our friend, but she is also a highly qualified genealogist.
Agnes Smith Pavelko, Ocala, FL USA Joyce E. Pavelko, Arlington Heights, IL USA“
Jeff & Cathy wrote:
“We wanted to send our thanks for a wonderful day. The time passed so quickly but we would not have changed a thing. You did everything we asked of you and more. You made our trip personal and quite touching”
“It was great that you had so carefully researched my families in so much detail before I arrived. With your help I could imagine what life might have been like 160+ years ago. Many thanks also for the care that you provided me on the day. Your schedule was great and your responses to my ongoing questions most appreciated. In every way it was a very profession tour”
Jim Barker from Zimbabwe found his McEwan Ancestors Gravestone during his Tour of Galloway.
Jim is very proud of his Scottish Roots and has visited often he loved the trip to Wigtownshire for his Ancestral Tour where his ancestors farmed.
Frances with Sue Mann from Adelaide while visiting St Andrews Catherdral. Sue and David loved their Ancestral trip to North Fife tracing the “Mann” family.
When my husband visited Adelaide David and Sue went out of their way to show him round.