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Newsletter for 18th November 2022

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  • Newsletter for 18th November 2022

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

    Electric Scotland News

    According to Ontario Health we should be masking up again not particularly due to Covid but more to do with the Flu. There has been a surge of hospital admissions by the under 5's and this is down to people not getting their Flu shot. I reported last week about how some 5 million Americans had not gotten their shots and it appears Canadians are doing the same and hence the rise in Hospital admissions. I watched the Ontario health folk talking about this and it appears things are even worse in Quebec. You might like to view what is being said at:


    We got a dusting of snow this week whereas Toronto got 3 inches so Winter has arrived. It will be interesting to see how Chatham copes with the snow this year as usually we get very little snow whereas all around us like London and Windsor get quite a bit.


    MyHeritage Releases AI Time Machine™ to Enable Anyone to Transform Themselves Into Historical Figures Using Everyday Photos

    AI Time Machine™ is based on Stable Diffusion and technology licensed by MyHeritage from Astria, an innovative company specializing in tailor-made AI image generation. The feature is very easy to use: simply upload 10 to 25 photos of the same individual taken in a variety of settings and poses. A model of the individual is then created and cast as a protagonist in dozens of predefined themes set in different historical eras. With only a few clicks anyone can see themselves as an ancient Greek warrior, an Egyptian pharaoh, a medieval knight, a Victorian lady, a hippie from the 1960’s, or an astronaut in space. Images can be downloaded as a set of 8 or individually, for easy sharing.

    Try it for free at:

    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.

    How Australia became the world's greatest lithium supplier
    As demand soars for electric vehicles and clean energy storage, Australia is rising to meet much of the world's demand for lithium. While this helps reduce the need for fossil fuels, it raises another question "how can we source lithium sustainably?

    Read more at:

    UK sparks Canadian fury as pension row explodes
    CANADIAN MPs are furious at the UK's refusal to pay annual increases in the state pension to Brits who have retired in their country.

    Read more at:

    Avoidable Mortality 2021
    This report analyses deaths that were registered in Scotland in 2021 which are classified as avoidable by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

    Read more at:

    Conrad Black: Donald Trump should pass the torch to Ron DeSantis
    Having predicted last week in this space a seismic shock in the American midterm elections, and no such shock having occurred, I owe an acknowledgment of my mistaken prediction and an updated assessment.

    Read more at:

    By Hamish Mackay in the Scottish Review

    Read more at:

    Pioneering Scots still exist today
    There have always been pioneering Scots whose inventions make the world and humanity's existence that bit better and thankfully their kind still exist today.

    Read more at:

    Germany Vs UK? Comparing economies is not a penalty shoot-out!
    ECONOMIC COMPARISONS are not penalty shoot-outs, but the moment male economists hear the words UK and Germany, they seem to lose the ability to step back and look at the bigger picture. Rather than comparing simple numerical performance, we should look at the two countries’ underlying economies.

    Read more at:

    Canada's inflation surge stalls at 6.9%: What you need to know
    Kevin Carmichael: Latest CPI won't stop Bank of Canada from hiking rates further, but it might pave way for a pause in new year

    Read more at:

    US midterms: Republicans narrowly win back the House
    Republicans have secured the 218 seats needed for a majority in the lower chamber of Congress a week after the midterm elections, the BBC's US partner CBS News projects.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    Celebration of the life of Cleata Morris (pdf)
    An amazing woman from around the Chatham area of Ontario who passed away at 98.

    Read about her at:

    Knights Errant of the Wilderness
    Tales of the Explorers of the great North-West by Morden H. Long (1922) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    The Shack Locker
    Yarns of the Deep Sea Fishing Fleets by Frederick William Wallace (1916) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    Janovicek, Nancy. “Seeds of Knowledge From Back-to-the-Land to Urban Gardening.”
    In: “Environmental Knowledge, Environmental Politics,” edited by Jonathan Clapperton and Liza Piper, RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society 2016, no. 4, 33–40. (pdf)

    You can read this report at:

    Thoughts on a Sunday Morning - the 13th day of November 2022 - the Echo Chamber
    By the Rev. Nola Crewe

    You can view this at:

    Isles of Scotland
    By OrthodoxCanada

    You can read this article at:

    The Writing on the Wall
    In three parts - Past, Present and Future by H. Glynn-Ward (1921) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    Common Sources of Conflict in Community
    By Helen Stevenson (pdf)

    You can read this article at:

    Electric Scotland

    Beth's Video Talks
    November 16th 2022 - George Washington and Cajun

    You can view this at:

    Tweed and Don
    Recollections and Reflections of an Angler for the last fifty years by James Locke (1860) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    Alistair Lawrie
    Alistair sent me in some of his Doric recordings via links to his resources and have added them to our Doric language page.

    You can listen to the recordings at:

    Virtual Walk round Stonehaven with Alistair Lawrie
    Added a YouTube video about this walk to our Stonehaven page in our Scottish Gazetteer.

    You can watch this at:

    A Shipbuilding History 1750 - 1932
    A Record of the Business founded, about 1750, by Alexander Stephen at Burghead, and subsequently carried on at Aberdeen, Arbroath, Dundee and Glasgow. Printed for Alexander Stephen & Sons Limited (1932) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    The Royal Regiment of Scotland (Scots)
    Dress Regulations (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    John MacKay
    A sketch of him from the Celtic Monthly of 1892

    You can read this sketch at:

    The Late Duke of Sutherland (died 1892)
    A write up of him from the Celtic Monthly of 1892 which I placed towards the foot of our page on the name.

    You can read this at:

    That Uncouth Dialect
    English-Speaking Clergy in Late Medieval Gaelic Scotland an article by Iain G. MacDonald (pdf)

    You can read this article at:

    Norman MacLeod
    From the Famous Scots series by John Wellwood, Manse of Drainie, April 1897 (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
    Got in the December 2022 section 1 issue.

    You can read this issue at:

    Fraserburgh Past and Present
    By John Cranna, Harbour Treasurer (1914) (pdf). Added this book to the foot of our page on Fraserburgh in our Statistical page.

    You can read this book at:


    Three stories for you this week from the Aberdeen Journal, Notes and Queries, Volume VII 1914.

    Birlaw or Birleymen

    In an article on “A Birlaw Court” in the “Glasgow Herald” of 21st and 23rd February interesting records of these old courts are given. When looking over some old receipts in Strathdon dating from 1754 to 1789 and signed by John Forbes, I came across the following under the later date:—“inventory of the bigging" by John Littlejohn in Alduhie, and James Williamson, Simile, birleymen,” followed by a description of the fire-house and barn, and the price to the incoming tenant. In 1754, when the forebears of the present tenant entered, the holding, “a fire-house with two ‘hallans' is mentioned. The length of the house was stated as “five couples.”

    An article in “Chambers’s Journal” of August 1912, on “The Barony of Lasswade,” states that:— A Baron had the power not only of setting up a barony court with its officers, but of constituting a minor tribunal called the Court of Burlaw, of which the officers consisted of the birleymen or precursors of the modern police force.” Also in 1676 it was provided that:—A Burla Court be opened ilk Setturday at night for the purpose of keeping good order.


    Blacksmith’s Old Indenture

    Through the courtesy of a correspondent, we have been permitted to examine an indenture, dated 14th February, 1820, entered into between a Deeside master blacksmith on the one hand and a young man, as apprentice, on the other. The apprenticeship was to endure for three complete years—excluding one harvest season to be fixed by the master—during which faithful, honest, and diligent service, and obedience to lawful orders and commands, were to be rendered by the apprentice, who was also taken bound not to absent himself from service by day or night, and not to indulge in immorality, Sabbath-breaking, and the like. 4 of a fee was to be paid to the master (half at the beginning and half at the end of the apprenticeship), who bound himself to give bed, board, and lodging, and to instruct and learn the apprentice in the trade of a blacksmith. 8 was the penalty fee for failure, over and above performance.

    The master added a docquet in the following terms:—

    J-----T----- has served me as a prentes for three years; he is onest and well notered, and can work well to what he has seen; he is a good drawer of hors shoes and different other things.

    The Duff Family

    The “Spectator” of 21st March in the course of a review of “The Book of the Duffs,” said—

    The Scots are supposed to have a special inclination towards genealogy and a peculiar talent for “redding up” complex relationships, and certainly few countries are so generously supplied with, good family histories. Not only the great houses like the Douglases and Maxwells and Lindsays, but the smaller gentry have their faithful sennachies. And this is right, for it is often the unnobled gentry who can show the most interesting pedigrees. They remained fast in their little estates when the greater names were tragically fated. To the student of English family history houses such as the Grosleys and Knightleys are in many ways more attractive than the Howards or the Nevilles because of their greater local continuity. It is the same with Scotland, for while the great earldoms such as Mar and Moray and Buchan changed their owners with every crisis, humble families in outland parts and far from court went peacefully on whatever cataclysm overtook the nation. The Duffs come midway between the two cases. Of that descent which, though reasonably old, is in no way distinguished, they rose with the rise of modern Scotland, owing to their cautious acquisitive temper. They had money when nobodv else had it, and bought up cheaply the lands of their less discreet neighbours. They were wise, too, in their marriages, like the House of Hapsburg, and, if they did not seek money, they “went where siller was.” Their achievement was unique, for while most of the later Scottish nobility, like the Primroses, the Dalrymples, the Hopes, and the Dundases, were originally “noblesse de robe,” and founded their fortunes in the Parliament House, the Duffs ascended by successful retail trade and no less successful land speculations

    Adam Duff of Chunybeg was a cadet of Muldavit, and with him began the direct line of the present Fife family. His oldest son. Alexander of Keithmore, fought in his youth for Montrose and went into exile with the great Marquise. On his return he set himself to the task of amassing gear, and became the "Creelic Duff” of local rhymes, apparently from the shortness and stoutness of his person. His son, Alexander of Braco, went into politics, and vehemently opposed the Union of the Parliaments; but the chief interest of his life was adding to the family holding. He had ready money, and would lend it on mortgages to impecunious neighbours; then would come foreclosures and there was a new Duff estate. He lived at the transition period between the old and the new Scotland, and, being emphatically of the new school, he profited at the expense of the old. The Scottish proprietor at the beginning of the eighteenth century was at the mercy of any neighbour who had a little money, and Alexander of Braco was shrewd enough to profit by the state of things and become private banker and moneylender to the North of Scotland. He seems to have been a close-fisted and oppressive old gentleman, who drove Lord Kintore to add a new petition to his prayers—“Lord, keep the Hill of Foudlan’ between me and Brace.” Brace's uncle and brother were merchants in Inverness, and much more admirable characteis. The latter, William of Dippie, had Jacobite proclivities, which, however, were strongly repressed by his native caution.

    With Dippie’s son William we soar from the world of the “general merchant" to national politics and the peerage. He sat in Parliament for Banff, and became Lord Braco in 1735 and Earl Fife (in the peerage of Ireland) in 1759. The second Lord Fife was a true descendant of old Alexander of Braco. He was a figure that might have stepped from the page's of John Galt. Politically he was a magnate of the first order, controlling the elections in the three counties of Banff, Aberdeen, and Moray. For all his youthful parsimony, he grew into a generous and most enlightened landlord, selling imported corn below the market price to the poor during the “dear years,” and showing himself a pioneer of afforestation to the extent of 14.000 acres. Tn 1790 he was given a British peerage, and since his day the family has lost the local and racial peculiarities which make its earlv history so interesting and followed the ordinary course of other noble houses.

    It is often the cadet branches of a house that furnish the most distinguished members, and the authors of these volumes have followed out every ramification of the Duff stock. Representatives fought with Montrose; one was a Jacobite, and incured the displeasure of Lovat, then on the Whig side; and there was “Tiger” Duff, whose immense frame and scarred cheeks were once the admiration of North Country boys. Amongst distinguished members of the family of recent years may be mentioned Sir Robert Duff of Fettereso, politician and Colonial Governor; Sir Mount-stuart Grant Duff; and Sir Beauchamp Duff, the present Commander-in-Chief in India. The immense families of the seventeenth and eighteenth centurv Duffs, combined with the high level of family means, scattered subordinate branches over the North of Scotland.


    Weekend is almost here and hope it's a good one for you.