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Newsletter for 12th March 2021

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  • Newsletter for 12th March 2021

    For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

    Electric Scotland News

    Beth Gay of Beth's Newfangled Family Tree has now commenced a video series on Scotland and Genealogy. The first video is now available at:

    Beth is looking to do a 10 minute video once a week but we'll of course see how this develops over time. These videos will be available on her Beth's Family Tree page and copies will also be found in her archives page.

    Beth has asked me to make these videos available on instead of YouTube which means they will need to be downloaded. I do think they should be available on YouTube as they could then provide an income stream for her down the road.


    Are Scots starting to wake up? New polls are suggesting that the SNP will fail to get an overall majority in the elections in May and that more people are likely to vote no to Independence. All this is due to the obvious secrecy of the SNP and it seems people in Scotland are starting to take note. Sturgeons popularity rating has also declined which provides hope for the future.

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland and world news stories that can affect Scotland and as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines it becomes a good resource. I might also add that in a number of newspapers you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish which I do myself from time to time.

    US suspends tariffs on single malt Scotch whisky
    The US has agreed to suspend tariffs on UK goods including single malt whiskies that were imposed in retaliation over subsidies to the aircraft maker Airbus. Tariffs will also be lifted on UK cheese, cashmere and machinery.

    Read more at:

    Message from Her Majesty The Queen on Commonwealth Day
    The Administrator of the Government of Canada wishes to share a message addressed to all Canadians from Her Majesty The Queen on Commonwealth Day:

    Read more at:

    The forward march of Scottish nationalism has stalled
    Nationalism has failed: on providing for the present and planning for the future

    Read more at:

    CANZUK Can Provide A Remedy For Frozen UK Pensions
    Frozen pensions are a major issue for British expats living and working outside of the United Kingdom, but upcoming diplomatic arrangements with Canada, Australia and New Zealand can provide reform for UK citizens living in these countries.

    Read more at:

    Where's the money Nicola? Sturgeon snubs care workers promised 500 thank you bonus
    SCOTTISH care workers have yet to receive a penny of a 500 COVID-19 thank-you bonus promised by Nicola Sturgeon.

    Read more at:

    UK hails Aztec Brexit boost as talks begin on bumper 5bn Mexico trade deal
    THE UK is set to begin talks on a bumper trade deal with Mexico in a boost for British trade.

    Read more at:

    Princeton: Then and Now
    By Andrew Hook in the Scottish Review

    Read more at:

    UK clamps down on appliances designed to break in a welcome return to the past
    It may seem like a fashionable idea to mock the good old days, but apparently they used to do that even in the times we now hark back to. The struggle between modernists and traditionalists is an age-old one.

    Read more at:

    Two new Scottish independence polls find majority would vote to stay in UK
    One poll indicated the SNP is no longer on course for a majority in Holyrood elections in May.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    Twenty-Seven Years in Canada West
    Or the Experience of an Early Settler by Major Strickland, C.M., edited by Agnes Strickland in two volumes (1853)

    No one can give an adequate view of the general life of a colonist, unless he has been one himself. Unless he has experienced all the various gradations of colonial existence, from that of the pioneer in the backwoods and the inhabitant of a shanty, up to the epoch of his career, when he becomes the owner, by his own exertions, of a comfortable house and well-cleared farm, affording him the comforts and many of the luxuries of civilization, he is hardly competent to write on such a subject. I have myself passed through all these grades. I have had the honour of filling many colonial appointments, such as Commissioner of the Court of Requests, and Justice of the Peace. My commission in her Majesty’s Militia, and my connection with the Canada Company, have also afforded me some opportunities of acquiring additional information. I was in the Company’s service during the early settlement of Guelph and also of Goderich, in the Huron tract. I am, therefore, as intimately acquainted with those flourishing settlements as with the townships in my own county of Peterborough.

    Upon my return to my native country in August, on a visit to my venerable mother, I was advised by my family to give my colonial experience to the world in a plain, practical manner. I followed the flattering suggestions of relatives so distinguished for literary attainments, and so dear to my affections, and “Twenty-seven Years in Canada West; or, The Experience of an Early Settler" is the result of my compliance with their wishes.

    The subject of colonization is, indeed, one of vital importance, and demands much consideration, for it is the wholesome channel through which the superfluous population of England and Ireland passes, from a state of poverty to one of comfort. It is true that the independence of the Canadian settler must be the fruit of his own labour, for none but the industrious can hope to obtain that reward. In fact, idle and indolent persons will not change their natures by going out to Canada. Poverty and discontent will be the lot of the sluggard in the Bush, as it was in his native land—nay, deeper poverty, for “ he cannot work, to beg he is ashamed,” and if he be surrounded by a family, those nearest and dearest to him will share in his disappointment and regret.

    But let the steady, the industrious, the cheerful man go forth in hope, and turn his talents to account in a new country, whose resources are not confined to tillage alone—where the engineer, the land-surveyor, the navigator, the accountant, the lawyer, the medical practitioner, the manufacturer, will each find a suitable field for the exercise of his talents ; where, too, the services of the clergyman are much required, and the pastoral character is valued and appreciated a$ it ought to be.

    To the artizan, the hand-loom weaver, and the peasant, Canada is indeed a true land of Goshen. In fact, the stream of migration cannot flow too freely in that direction. However numerous the emigrants may be, employment can be obtained for all.

    That the industrial classes do become the richest men cannot be denied, because their artificial wants are fewer, and their labours greater than those of the higher ranks. However, the man of education and refinement will always keep the balance steady, and will hold offices in the Colony and responsible situations which his richer but less learned neighbour can never fill with ease or propriety.

    The Canadian settler possesses vast social advantages over other colonists. lie has no convict neighbours—no cruel savages, now, to contend with—no war—no arid soil wherewith to contend. The land is, generally speaking, of a rich quality, and the colonist has fire-wood for the labour of cutting, fish for the catching, game for the pleasant exercise of hunting and shooting in Nature’s own preserves, without the expense of a licence, or the annoyance of being warned off by a surly gamekeeper.

    The climate of Canada West is healthier and really pleasanter than that of England or Ireland. The cold is bracing, and easily mitigated by good fires and warm clothing; but it is not so really chilling as the damp atmosphere of the mother-country. Those who have not visited the Canadas are apt to endow the Upper Province with the severe climate of the Lower one, whereas that of Western Canada is neither so extremely hot nor so cold as many districts of the United States.

    Emigration to Canada is no longer attended with the difficulties and disadvantages experienced by the early settlers, of which such lamentable, and perhaps exaggerated accounts have frequently issued from the press. The civilizing efforts of the Canada Company have covered much of the wild forest-land with smiling corn-fields and populous villages. Indeed, the liberal manner in which the Company have offered their lands on sale or lease, have greatly conduced to the prosperity of the Western Province.

    If the facts and suggestions contained in the following pages should prove useful and beneficial to the emigrant, by smoothing his rough path to comfort and independence, my object will be attained, and my first literary effort will not have been made in vain.

    You can read this at:

    Thoughts on a Sunday morning - 7th March 2021
    By the Rev. Nola Crewe

    You can view this at:

    Megan & Prince Harry
    By the Canadian Curmudgeon

    You can read this at:

    The Canadian Farmer's Manual of Agriculture
    The Principals and Pratice of Mixed Husbandry as adapted to Canadian Soils and Climate comprising: The Field; Produce of the Farm; Stock: raising and management; Manufactures of the Farm; Dairy; Diseases of Horses, Cattle, Sheep, Pigs; Farm Buildings; Modern Machinery and Implements; Counsel to the Immigrsant Settler, etc. by Charles Edward Whitcombe of the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, England, and a Practical Farmer in Ontario. With numerous wood-cut illustrations, Tables, and Forms of Simple Farm Account Keeping, prepared expressly for the Work, and an Introduction by Professor H. McCandless, Principal of the Ontario School of Agriculture, Guelph. (1874)

    You can read this at:

    Electric Scotland

    Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
    Hi! Here we are again with another segment of Beth's Newfangled Family Tree! It's Section B for April.

    A month or so ago, Alastair asked me to do speeches for Electric Scotland. Of course, I said, "Yes!"

    I had to learn how to do that. I had to figure out how to make everything look neat, including me. I had to learn how to record and send a video technically.

    All of this while doing my regular work, etc. Fortunately, I had just gotten a new Windows 10 computer for downstairs, which will do these things. For those of you who do not know, my best computer skill is "clicking ok." I am pretty good on my programs that create publications, but I am a nincompoop outside of that. Thanks to AOLAssist and their tech, Gabrial, for teaching me how to record and send! Thanks to AOLAssist and all of their technicians. They are all great! (And patient!)

    Why is today exciting? I actually got all of the ducks in a row, did a little talk for Alastair, and sent it to him. It is now; he says, "up" on electricscotland. He just wrote, "I’ve placed the current video on the same page as BNFT and under the link to the current newsletter. In archives, I’ve added it to the top of the page." So go to < >, and you'll find me! It's only a little less than 10 minutes long as all of these will be. I hope to do a new one each week or serialize longer talks to fit the 10-minute limit. The talk this time is about what you do when you first discover you come from Scottish families.

    Here's the new BNFT April 2021 Section B. We have a guest columnist this time, Bill Smith, from Nashville, Tennessee. There are many interesting things and even a photograph of the Clan Henderson tent at the NE Florida Scottish Games last weekend. Scottish Heritage USA has given the first of their 2021 awards. Those bluestones at Stonehenge have a fascinating story to tell.

    Please don't forget to let me know if you have a change in your email address. If you are doing genealogy, please send me your queries. (No charge.) Just contact: <>

    Take care of yourselves and continue to be vigilant about the virus. It's still out there.


    Musings of a Tank Commander
    Part 29 Smoke bombs, nurses and pre-emptive strikes

    You can read this at:

    Bishop Robert Wishart
    Added this man to our Significant Scots section along with some research by Mitchell Stoker

    You can read this at:

    Wilson\s Border Tales
    Have added a one hour video about this publication and also provided a link to their March 2021 newsletter.

    You can view this at:

    Songs of the Hebrides
    And other Celtic Songs from the Highlands of Scotland some collected and all arranged for Voice and Piaonforte by Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser, Gaelic Editor, Kenneth MacLeod (1909)

    The writer, as an Islesman, considers it a privilege to have been asked to give a little help in the making of such a book. Such material as he has contributed forms part of a collection of unpublished ballads and legends, partly handed down in his family, and partly picked up by himself in various isles. In the old leisurely days all the folk were collectors, though they knew it not, and as recently as fifteen years ago the gleanings of the past could be picked up with little trouble by youngsters born under a lucky star and on lucky soil—or in the parish of Small Isles

    In the middle of the nineteenth century a smack crossed from the Island of Eigg to the mainland once in the week, weather and inclination permitting, for the few letters and the one newspaper brought by the stage-coach from Fortwilliam to Arisaig: about a fortnight later, somebody sailed across from Rum to Eigg to see if any letters had arrived by the packet-boat within the previous month; in the course of another week, more or less, a shepherd from the west side of Rum, looking for stray sheep, unexpectedly found himself in the seaport clachan of Kinloch, and while there might remember to ask if there were any letters for the neighbouring Isle of Canna; on the following day the folk of Canna saw a fire on a certain hill in Rum, a sign that their letters had somehow or other found their way to the shepherd’s house, and some time before the end of the week somebody who had probably never in his life received a letter sailed across the Sound, and returned with the mail-bag as soon as he felt in the mood for returning. Those were the days of song and tale, for no man was the slave of time or of the penny post, and to be in the mood for a thing was but a short step from the thing itself. Canna Isle, now so unknown owing to quicker transport by steamers which are always passing by, was then the midway port between the Outer Isles and the mainland, and, as such, was a veritable mart of lore and music. The folk of the isle never hung pot of fish or potatoes on crook without putting into it the stranger’s share, and seldom, if ever, went that share unclaimed. The herdman, night, which brings all creatures home, brought the boats of all the isles into the harbour; and for kindness received the strangers ever paid handsomely, if not in gold, at any rate in song and tale. The writer owes something to Canna Isle and to the boats which struck sail in its harbour. He owes even more to his native Eigg; the little island, six miles by three and a half, which now dreams, in the Western Sea, of the time when it was an independent kingdom, with a queen of its own! In its day it has been the scene of dark deeds, picturesque ceremonies, and plots without number. The martyrdom of St. Donnan in the sixth century, the crowning of a Lord of the Isles in the fifteenth, and the burning of all the inhabitants by the Macleods of Dunvegan in the sixteenth, are but the outstanding events in the history of an island which for centuries was the recognized centre of the Clanranald territories, and which, further back, in the days of the Island Kingdom, had been a favourite rallying-point for the Western clans, when in the mood for plots. Such a place was the natural home of tale and ballad, and tales and ballads there were, as plentiful as the blaeberries—so plentiful, indeed, that a man might live his full fourscore years in the island, and yet hear something new at the ceilidh every night of his life. The writer was fortunate enough to spend his boyhood in Eigg just before the old order of things had quite passed away. Several of the folk could boast that their parents had been taught a little reading and writing, and a great deal of poetry by Raoghall Dubh, son of the famous bard, Alastair Mac Mhaighstir Alastair; while everybody in the island over sixty years of age had been themselves pupils of Iain og Morragh, poet, musician, dancer, courtier, and, last of all, dominie. Ranald Macdonald is known in Gaelic literature as the compiler of a valuable collection of poems published in 1776, but if the Eigg tradition may be trusted, “Little worth were the things in the book compared with the things which were not there at all; sure, it is books, and books to excess, he might have sent out; never was his kist of meal as full as the one in which he kept the bits of paper and the old skins brimful of writing.” If only the bits of paper and the old skins (probably the missing Clanranald manuscripts) had been preserved.

    You can read this at:

    The Border Angler
    A Guide-Book to the Tweed and its tributaries and the other streams commanded by the North British Railway by James Glass Bertram (1858)

    You can read this at:

    How Scottish Gaelic is helping protect Scotland's seas
    By Magnus Course, University of Edinburgh, Alastair Cole, Newcastle University

    You can read this at:

    The Christian Instructor
    Containing a brief but comprehensive view of the evidences, doctrines, duties, external economy, and prospects of the Christian Religion in the form of question and answer by G. Croft (1925) (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Her Majesty's Army
    In 4 volumes By Walter Richards

    It's interesting to note the number of Scots serving in non Scottish regiments.

    You can read this collection at:

    The Northern Muse
    An Anthology of Scots vernacular Poetry arranged by John Buchan (1924)

    I have made this little anthology with no other purpose than to please myself. It contains the things which, as . a lover of Scots verse, I turn to most often and desire to have in a compact form. Since there is no motive of instruction, I have felt myself at liberty to arrange it, not chronologically, but according to subject, and boldly to mingle old and new. Many Scots poems have a vogue altogether independent of their poetic merit; these I have neglected, and have confined my choice to pieces which in varying degree seem to me to be literature, from a bottle song just redeemed from doggerel by some quaintness of fancy to the high flights of Bums and Dunbar. If it is complained that much has been omitted which was worthy of inclusion, the reply must be that the book is not a Corpus Poeticum Boreale, but a selection, and a selection governed by personal tastes.

    You can read this at:


    Our thanks to Nola Crewe for sending this to us...

    Just saying....

    Don't be worried about your smartphone or TV spying on you. Your vacuum cleaner has been collecting dirt on you for years.

    If you can't think of a word say "I forget the English word for it." That way people will think you're bilingual instead of an idiot.

    I'm at a place in my life where errands are starting to count as going out.

    I'm getting tired of being part of a major historical event.

    I don't always go the extra mile, but when I do it's because I missed my exit.

    My goal for 2020 was to lose 10 pounds. Only have 14 to go.

    I just did a week's worth of cardio after walking into a spider web.

    I don't mean to brag, but I finished my 14-day diet food supply in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

    A recent study has found women who carry a little extra weight live longer than men who mention it.

    Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

    Senility has been a smooth transition for me.

    Remember back when we were kids and every time it was below freezing outside they closed school? Yeah, me neither.

    I may not be that funny or athletic or good looking or smart or talented. I forgot where I was going with this.

    I love approaching 80, I learn something new every day and forget 5 other things.

    A thief broke into my house last night. He started searching for money so I got up and searched with him.

    I think I'll just put an "Out of Order" sticker on my forehead and call it a day.

    Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

    Having plans sounds like a good idea until you have to put on clothes and leave the house.

    It's weird being the same age as old people.

    When I was a kid I wanted to be older...this is not what I expected.

    Life is like a helicopter. I don't know how to operate a helicopter.

    It's probably my age that tricks people into thinking I'm an adult.

    Marriage Counselor: Your wife says you never buy her flowers. Is that true? Me: To be honest, I never knew she sold flowers.

    Never sing in the shower! Singing leads to dancing, dancing leads to slipping, and slipping leads to paramedics seeing you naked. So remember...Don't sing!

    If 2020 was a math word-problem: If you're going down a river at 2 MPH and your canoe loses a wheel, how much pancake mix would you need to re-shingle your roof?

    I see people about my age mountain climbing; I feel good getting my leg through my underwear without losing my balance.

    So if a cow doesn't produce milk, is it a milk dud or an udder failure?

    Coronacoaster: noun; the ups and downs of a pandemic. One day you're loving your bubble, doing work outs, baking banana bread and going for long walks and the next you're crying, drinking gin for breakfast and missing people you don't even like.

    I'm at that age where my mind still thinks I'm 29, my humor suggests I'm 12, while my body mostly keeps asking if I'm sure I'm not dead yet.

    You don't realize how old you are until you sit on the floor and then try to get back up.

    We all get heavier as we get older, because there's a lot more information in our heads. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


    And that's it for this week and hope you all have a great weekend.