Friday, July 4, 2014

Family history and also some travel…

First - Happy 4th of July…not a holiday that is celebrated much over here but we are having our own celebration today with BBQ pork sandwiches, corn on the cob (corn on the cob is also not a big item here, but we did find some), potato salad, and A&W root beer (thanks to the commissary when we visited our son at the Lakenheath Air Force Base in England).  We are grateful to live in a country that provides so many opportunities and freedoms!!

Last week we didn’t find Sarah but we found Joseph – My sister Marge, and my two cousins, Margaret and Sue have been doing family history work on the Boden family and related lines.  My Grandmother Boden was Ruby Rutherford Irvine and they have focused a lot of their efforts on the Irvine line.  One of the ancestors in this line is a Sarah Richardson.  We had searched 3-4 cemeteries in Edinburgh earlier this year “looking for Sarah” but had never found her grave.  (I had posted a blog on that search earlier)


Margaret and her husband came to Scotland for a “Family History Holiday”.  They spent the first few days in England visiting cemeteries there and then came to Scotland.  Margaret wanted to see all of the area that the Irvine family (and other family members) came from.  We visited Dunfermline, Kinross, Wemyss in the “Kingdom of Fife” and also Edinburgh.

  This is an aerial photo of the Dunfermline Cemetery.

On Thursday we went to the Dunfermline main cemetery which is one of the largest cemeteries I have ever seen.  We drove down to the end road (the older section of the cemetery) and then up and across the top of the cemetery.  I then turned down a small road thinking I could get back to the main lower road.  As I went down the small road I soon realized that I could not get out to the bottom road and would have to turn around.  I began to turn around on the narrow road and was making sure I didn’t back into any headstones.  As I was turning around my phone rang…it was Nick (but that is another story).  Nick’s calls are never short in length so I stopped to talk with him for a minute.  As I was talking, the others got out of the car to look around.  In a matter of 2-3 minutes Margaret had found a headstone that had a name of an Irvine family member on it. 

 This is the marker we found.

Had the phone not rung, I would have turned around and headed back up the road and no one would have gotten out of the car.  We owe a debt of gratitude to the Lord for allowing Nick to call right at that time which had me stop and talk.  Here is what we found…

The headstone was half covered with a bush but it was the marker for Joseph McKinney and his wife Janet Irvine, a daughter of Robert Irvine, and a niece to James Irvine who was my great, great grandfather.  Also on the marker was the name of a son – Joseph McKinney – who died on 16 January 1885, age 2 years 7 months.

This was a son that no one knew about.  His name had not shown on any census record.  All of the known children in the family records were born about 2 years apart but there was a gap of four years between the first and the second child - almost like another child could be there.  Well, Joseph filled the gap.  The date of birth and death matched and everything else fits.  Joseph needed to be found to make the family complete.  The tender mercy of the Lord allowed us to find this little boy so he can now be included with the rest of the children.  Margaret’s diligence in doing family search, her desire to come to Scotland to search cemeteries, us driving down a particular road at random in this large cemetery, and the phone call that made us stop right next to the marker, all allowed Joseph to be found.  The Lord is watching over the efforts of Family History.  There are no coincidences with the Lord!! 

Later that morning we went to the Dunfermline Abbey and found a marker for some Irvine family members who were buried there.

On Saturday we visited the Stirling Castle again…it is one of the most interesting castles to visit because of the restoration work that has been done.  On Monday we visited the Inveraray Castle.  This castle is one of the best castles to visit of those still occupied by the family members.  For all you Downton Abbey fans, this is the place the family visited when they went to visit their Scottish cousins.

This Castle is the family residence of the Campbell Clan.  The drive to Inveraray is a beautiful drive, along the west bank of Loch Lomond and across through the Argyll Forest.   

This is the Argyll Forset - the drive to Inveraray from Loch Lomond

We were last in Inveraray in early April.  It was amazing to see how green things had gotten with the warmer weather.

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