Electric Scotland News
Electric Canadian
Canadian Monthly Magazine
The Real Cobalt
Reminiscences of the Early History of Galt
Lovell's Gazetteer of the Dominion of Canada
The Glittering Mountains of Canada
Energy Review from US Energy Information Administration
The Flag in the Wind
Electric Scotland
Northern Notes and Queries
Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
Shetland: Descriptive and Historical
Robert Burns Lives!
Waddell’s Life And Works Of Robert Burns
Reminiscences of the Royal Burgh of Haddington
Cawdor Castle
Territorial Soldiering in the North East of Scotland during 1759 - 1814
Walter Gregor
A Critical Inquiry Into the Scottish Language
Clan Rattray

Electric Scotland News
I created another video this week on the state of Commercial Television, News and Advertising. Essentially I'm fed up with the huge amounts of advertising and I'm also getting a bit fed up with the news channels as I really don't think they are doing a very good job of it. And so I vented my feelings is a video which you can watch at:


I've also been spreading my net a wee bit wider to provide Scottish news in our new "Scottish and Scots Diaspora News" feed. I'm mainly picking out news that I think gives both a view of what Scotland is up to and also anything I can find on Scottish news from within the Diaspora. I update this daily around 11am EST each day. I am looking at various sources on a regular basis from The Scotsman, The Herald, Newsnet, Scottish Times, and other newspapers as well as occasional dips into some of the Scottish Diaspora organisation web sites and other sources. Where I get in newsletters from Clan Societies I am also including links to them as well.

Should you be looking at this you'll note that I am mainly providing a headline, short description and then a link to the story which comes up in a new window. I will also take any stories that are sent into me and in those cases if the story is not online I'll create a page on our site to carry it.

Should anyone with a web site be interested they can embed the news feed on a page on their own web site. And at this time whatever story comes up the link will be to another web site to read the story. As people might only visit the feed once a week I am carrying 30 stories so when I add the 31st story the 1st will drop of the list.

You can see this feed on our home page at


I got an email in this week in which the person was saying she wished she had the time to read all the stories we put up. That is in part why I usually post up a book a chapter per day until complete so if the book is of interest you'll hopefully have the time to read it as I put it up.

I will say I do have an overall plan for the site and am most of the way to completing that. My current work is mainly to provide individual histories of places and areas of Scotland. In some respects these can be excellent resources for people doing genealogy as if a clan or a family were based in a place or area then that book will be of use to them.

However as I work through a book I often come across a reference to a person or another book that tweaks my interest and so I will go off to see if I can find any more information and where I believe the information is useful I will post up additional information. An example of this is my discovery of Walter Gregor who was a teacher, minister and folklorist in the North East of Scotland. I ended up spending most of one day bringing together a page about him and providing links to books and articles he produced. Part of that work included articles he had written for the Folk-Lore Society of which he was a founding member. I have thus make available the first 7 issues of that magazine for you to read as well as a couple of his books.

The other aspect is that when I search for books I can often stumble across other books I've not known about but are clearly of interest from a Scottish perspective. So in some cases I'll mark the book for eventual inclusion on the site.

All of this means that the site is now so huge that you couldn't possibly read all material we have up in a lifetime of reading. While you are of course welcome to browse through the site I believe the best way to find information is to use our site search engine. Just the other day I was emailing with a person on the name Henderson. I noted that when doing a search for that name the search engine found some 2,800 links that contained that name. Now as we are pretty well dedicated to things Scottish then all those links would certainly have something to do with Scotland and the Scots.

Equally if you are interested in any particular topic then searching the site will find something and often quite a lot. Take the subject of Agriculture and you'll note we have such a large amount of information that we have a complete section devoted to "Agriculture and Wildlife" in our menu. And if you searched for "Foklore" you'd be offered some 355 links and on it goes and most of those links can be to chapters of a book and so providing considerable information.

One thing you should note is that we have availed ourselves of the free Google site search engine. That means when you use it the first 1-4 links may well be to other sites other than our own. There is a slight background to the Google offerings so when you go past these then all other results are to our own site.

So as you can see while I have an overall plans for the work I do I can be side tracked into covering other topics and people.

I might just add as a final note that I also work on the Electric Canadian site and am finding an astonishing amount of information on Scots in Canada and it seems to me the Scots took a strong lead in writing about Canada. That just reinforces my view that Canada is actually a very Scottish country as the Scots contributed a huge amount to Canada and I believe set the scene as to where Canada is going today.

Electric Canadian
Canadian Monthly Magazine
Published by the Vanderhoof-Gunn Publishing Company

I've now added Volume 18.

This can be found at

The Real Cobalt
The Story of Canada's Marvellous Silver Mining Camp by Anson A Gard.

We have now completed this book with the following chapters...

The Larose Mines
Cobalt - Canada's Wonderland
Where to Stay when you get there
Murray City
Toronto - The Queen City

Here is how "Cobalt - Canada's Wonderland" starts...

THE first question one asks when hearing of a new place is “How do you get there?” I asked this when I used to hear, in Ottawa, of the silver land of New Ontario. I knew, as you know, that Cobalt is away up somewhere in the north. That is all I knew.

I went to the Canadian Pacific station in Ottawa and asked for a ticket to Cobalt, and the train did the rest, It was in the middle of May, that charming month for travel. One needs but sit in one of the palatial cars of this great road and glide through beautiful changing panorama, not once noting the passing of time—ever and anon looking out upon rapidly growing towns along the way. Oh it is delightful!

I am ever interested in the towns along the way, each with its own individuality.

There was the live town of Carleton Place, then Almonte with its busy mills. It was to Almonte the Prince of Wales— now the good King Edward—was driven from Amprior while on his memorable visit to Canada in 1860, and Amprior with its vast lumber mills, sixteen miles away, where again we reach the Ottawa River, which we had left at the Capital. Seventeen miles beyond is the beautiful town of Renfrew, with its well-laid streets, miles of concrete sidewalks, and its varied industries. Cobden, whose life went out when the old Ottawa River boats no longer ran the upper river, is another sixteen miles away. Onward nineteen miles and we have come to the great lumber and manufacturing town of Pembroke. Here my mind ran back to that day three years before when I started from here to go up Lake Allumette on that jolly 50-mile trip to Days-Washing (spelled Des Joachims) with Captain Murphy. Sweet memory, that day three years ago!

At just 198 miles from Ottawa we come to Mattawa, once the livest, busiest town in all the north. It may not be what once it was, but it has given to other Canadian towns, men who have made those other towns. I later visited Mattawa, and found those who were left, a charming people, genial and courteous. It is here that the Mattawa River enters the Ottawa, which at this point turns toward the north, to run in tumbling rapids to Lake Temiskaming, 39 miles away. Along the eastern bank of the Ottawa runs a branch of the C.P.R.; it passes Lumsden’s Mills, or Temiskaming, where it connects with a steamer line whose boats run up the lake for nearly 100 miles, and goes on a few miles north-easterly to the beautiful Kippiwa Lake, with its 600 miles of indented shore line. At Temiskaming is the popular summer hotel—the Bellevue, and the great mills of John Lumsden, of Ottawa.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read this book at

Reminiscences of the Early History of Galt
and the Settlement of Dumfries in the Province of Ontario By James Young (1880).

Now have several more chapters up of this publication and now on Chapter XIII.

Chapter IX describes the terrible cholera epidemic which killed many of the township.

You can read this book at

Lovell's Gazetteer of the Dominion of Canada
I am just not getting the time to put up this gazetteer the way I want to so have started to add letters by pdf file. So far I am up to the letter O. You can see these at

The Glittering Mountains of Canada
A Record of Exploration and Pioneer Ascents in the Canadian Rockies 1914 - 1924 by J. Monroe Thorington (1925). A new book we're starting.

The Preface starts and sets the scene...

There is told, in the Northwest, the story of an old prospector of whom, returning home after many years, it was asked what he had to show as the equivalent of so much lost time; and he answered only, “I have seen the Rocky Mountains.” The desire to venture forth to the strange places of the earth is inborn in most of us and we can quite understand the reply. Yet time and opportunity seldom permit us to wander far from the beaten track.

Modern travellers, however, due to increased transportation facilities, are at a distinct advantage in comparison with the wanderers of a century ago, whose journeys were made under conditions of great difficulty. Even fifty years ago people were not found in the Rocky Mountains on pleasure bent. In the opening of land areas, mountain ranges are things to be passed by in the way most accessible; and not until a population becomes well established does it begin to acquire the aesthetic sensibility which enables it to devote a portion of its energy to the search after natural beauty. This has been true of all highland countries—the Alps, the Andes, the Himalaya, and the Rockies.

Thus, although travel across the Rocky Mountains of Canada began more than a century and a half ago, and the early fur-traders had considerable knowledge of the passes and river routes, description of the upland valleys, the great blue lakes, the vast icefields, has been reserved for wanderers of the last three decades.

The Canadian portion of the Rockies extends from the United States boundary at the 49th parallel of Latitude, near the margins of Glacier National Park, to a point near Latitude 54° where the 120th parallel of Longitude is crossed and the range becomes sub-alpine. For more than four hundred miles it stretches —a chain longer and less broken than the Continental Alps—and, in its primeval state, who in a life-time can know it all?

You can read more of this Preface and the first chapter at

Energy Review from US Energy Information Administration
Canada is one of the world's five largest energy producers and is the principal source of U.S. energy imports.

I have to say I found this paper to be most interesting. Having tried to find such information myself from within Canadian resources this American report reports a lot more than I could find. You can view this paper at:

The Flag in the Wind

This issue was Compiled by Garry Knox and his main thrust this week is about the march and rally for Independence in Edinburgh.

You can read this issue at

Electric Scotland

Northern Notes and Queries
This week we have up two issues and an index.

1894 Articles 626 to 643
This issue includes articles on...

The Covenanters in Kinross-shire,
The Gray Bequest,
Huguenot Cross,
Dame Erskine's Account-Book,
Peculiar Christian Names,
A Foreigner in Scotland, 1672,
Old Cross at Minnigaff,
A Scottish King’s Wedding Banquet,
Public Records,
Birth Brieve of Mr. David Nairne,
The Scots in Holland,
Royal Arms of Scotland,
Parish Registers in Scotland,
Palaeolithic Man in Scotland,
Mottoes in Old Registers,
Alexander Nisbet, the Herald,
Old Edinburgh Registers.

1894 Articles 644 to 663
This issue includes articles on...

Armorial Bearings of the Burgh of Peebles,
Arms of the Burgh of Peebles,
Official Heraldry.
The Covenanters in Kinross-shire,
Old Scottish Table of Forbidden Degrees,
Parentage of Adam Smith,
Old Parish Church, Alloa,
The Baily Family,
The Grahams of the Border,
Old Song,
Palaeolithic Man in Scotland,
Old Sculptured Stone at Alloa,
Old Edinburgh Registers, .
Abemethy: Early History of, Desiderated,
Account of a Journey into Scotland, 1629,
An Old Dunkeld Seal,
Englishmen in Scotland,
Old Musselburgh Episcopal Register,
Dame Erskine's Account Book, .
Marriages in May.

These issues can be viewed at

Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
By Thomas Watson (1894)

This week we've added...

The Rev. David Gemmill
William Dunn of Duntocher
Macvey Napier
Sir James M'Culloch, K.C.M.G.
The Agricultural Society
Curling Clubs
Forth and Clyde Ship Canal

Here is the chapter on Macvey Napier...

Was the son of John Macvey, Kirkintilloch, by a natural daughter of Napier of Craigbarnet, and was born in 1777.

He received a liberal education for the profession of the law, and passed as W.S. in Edinburgh in 1799. His disposition, however, was too sensitive and retiring for that profession, and he gradually became more occupied in literature, in which his talents ere long became conspicuous. When Lord Jeffrey retired from the editorship of the well-known “Edinburgh Review” magazine, Napier was appointed his successor, and it is allowed that the high character of the journal was in his hands fully maintained.

When the seventh edition of the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” was projected, Mr. Napier was asked to become its editor, and accepted the office. He wrote numerous articles for it himself, and also secured the co-operation of the best writers and scientific men of the day; and the publication is admitted to have been highly creditable to its editor. Mr. Napier died in Edinburgh, nth February, 1847, aged seventy.

These chapters can be read at

Shetland: Descriptive and Historical
Have added more chapters...

Chapter XXXV. - Foula continued
The Cragsman — Highest Hill — The People—Churches and School—Traces of Norse Language— Scenery,—&c.

Chapter XXXVI. - Parish of Walls
Island of Vaila—Vaila Sound—Churches, &c.—Peculiar Names of Places—Ancient Burghs and Tumuli, &c.—Gruting Voe.

Chapter XXXVII. - Culswick
Skeld—Reawick—Selie Voe—Kirkholm—Sand—The Mitchells of Westshore.

Chapter XXXVIII. - A Whale-Hunt
Other Whales less frequently met with— Sharks.

Chapter XXXIX. - Bixter Voe
Some Parochial Statistics of Sandsting—Weisdale Voe—Islands in it—Sound—“Church of Our Lady'—Free Church—Estate of Kergord.

Chapter XL. - Whiteness
The Loch of Strom—Sinclairs of Strom, &c.— Parochial Statistics, &c.

Chapter XLI. - From Whiteness southwards
Isles in Bay of Scalloway— Trondra—Burra Isles—Disaster to Dutch fleet—House— Parochial Statistics—Ha vera—Ancient Affray between men of Burra and Coningsburgh—Bigton—St Ninian’s Isle — Spiggie—Parochial Statistics of Dunrossness, &c—Conclusion.

We learn about the Cragsmen in the start of Foula continued...

FOR a long period the chief trade of Foula was in the feathers and eggs of wild fowl. The daring cragsman descended to the scene of plunder by the aid of ropes. If the distance of the breeding-place from the top of the cliff was moderate, say from twelve to twenty fathoms, he fixed a rope to stakes, driven into the ground, and descended by gradually lowering himself down, by means of his hands and feet, with which he grasped the rope. Having finished his work of destruction, he ascended by the same means, either bringing up the dead birds strung to his belt, or attaching them to the rope’s end, and hauling them up, after he had gained the top of the cliff himself. If the distance the fowler desired to descend was greater, say thirty or fifty fathoms, he had a rope fixed round his waist, and was lowered down by his companions. This dangerous traffic is now almost abandoned, and it is but seldom one of the islanders descends the cliffs. It is said that in the olden times, when it was universal, the Foula man used to say, “My yutcher (grandfather) guid before, my father guid before, and I must expect to go over the Sneug too.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

Robert Burns Lives!
Edited by Frank Shaw

For years the article below has been on the web site of A Highlander and His Books, and I decided it was time to put it in its rightful place - Robert Burns Lives! I will be moving additional Burns articles from the other web site in the weeks and months ahead as well. This will accomplish my decision to have all Burns articles together under one location.

You will hear more about the Atlanta Burns Cottage in the days ahead as I will speak on this subject at the Robert Burns Centre’s conference at the University of Glasgow in January, 2013. It is truly a unique place, and it is an honor for me to belong to the Burns Club of Atlanta where members have met monthly in the cottage since 1911. In the meantime, enjoy theses words penned a dozen or more years ago and this favorite picture of mine taken on January 3, 2003. (FRS: 9.27.12)

You can read this article "Atlanta’s Robert Burns Cottage" by Frank Shaw at:

Other articles in this series can be read at

Waddell’s Life And Works Of Robert Burns
We already have a huge amount up about Robert Burns but we acquired this 2 volume publication and consulted with Frank Shaw and so we decided to serialise this on the site. It also has a number of excellent illustrations and some colour plates.

We added the next chapter to the second volume and you can read this book as we get it up at:

Reminiscences of the Royal Burgh of Haddington
And Old East Lothian Agriculturists by John Martine (1883).

We added the following chapters this week...

Old Haddington Ladies
Old Haddington Burgh Elections
Incorporations of Baxters or Bakers
Incorporation of Shoemakers
Incorporation of Weavers
The Incorporation of Hammermen
Brave Haddington for Me

Some good information on the various Guilds this week and here is how the one on the Baxters or Bakers starts...

ENGLISH readers will possibly require to be told that the old Scotch name “Baxter” is the same as baker.

The baxters or bakers of Haddington were one of the nine incorporated trades of the burgh, and returned a deacon to the Town Council.

The Incorporation had a front seat in the Parish Church of Haddington before it was repaired, on which was the motto, “Bread is the Staff of Life.” They were thirled to grind all their wheat at the town's mills, and were not allowed to buy flour, as is now the custom. No strange baker was allowed to sell bread in the town, a prohibition which, in these days of free trade, seems strange to the present generation.

The Corporation, however, having been broken up after the Scotch Municipal Corporation Bill passed, the thirlage and prohibition fell to the ground. The Baker Corporation were not much given to strife in politics among themselves like some other of the crafts of Haddington, but had always peaceable elections, and were like the flesh-market dogs who fought always on the same side, and more especially in the assize or fixing the price of bread. The Magistrates possessed the power of fixing the price of the loaf of bread, according to the rise or fall in the price of wheat in Haddington market. The town-officer with the tuck of drum went through the burgh on Monday mornings, announcing that the price of the quartern loaf, which was 4 lb. 4 oz. in weight, was now altered, and that small bread, viz., penny rolls, &c., was to be sold in proportion. It was alleged, however, that the bakers did not weigh the small bread in proportion to the loaf, but weighed it according to their own discretion. Many a wrangle took place betwixt the bakers and the magistrates about the prices, the bakers wishing, for their own interest, a rise of one halfpenny a loaf, and the magistrates sticking up for the interest of the public. The following letter, in the possession of the writer, shows that the bakers looked well after their own interests.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the rest of these chapters at

Cawdor Castle
Stan Bruce kindly sent us in some pictures of Cawdor Castle taken by his son and we've added this to our Highland page within our Historical Places in Scotland which you can view at

Territorial Soldiering in the North East of Scotland during 1759 - 1814
By John Malcolm Bulloch, M.A. (1914).

I came across this book and found it very interesting. I have ocr'd the Introduction which is quite lengthy and have made the entire book available as a pdf file. You can get to this at

Walter Gregor
As I mention this person in my Electric Scotland News I won't give you more here other than to provide the contents of his book on the Folk Lore of North East Scotland which shows the range of topics he covers.

In Notes on the Folk-Lore of the North-East of Scotland you'll find chapters on...

The Child
The Nursery
Boy Code of Honour
About the Human Body
Dreama, Divination, &c.
The House
Evenings at the Fireside
"Black Airt" and Devil Compacts
Place Rhymes
Place and Family Characteristics
Animal and Plant Superstitions
Times and Seasons and Weather
Christmas, New Year's Day, &c.
Countings Out
Washing Day
Boats and Fishing

You can read more about him and his books at

A Critical Inquiry Into the Scottish Language
With the view of illustrating the Rise and Progress of Civilisation in Scotland By Francisque-Michel (1882).


THE close political and social ties that bound Scotland to France form a very striking feature in the history of both countries, especially in that of the former. The Ancient League, traditionally dating from the days of King Achaius and the Emperor Charlemagne, became in the fourteenth century an undoubted fact, when both countries had a common interest in resisting the ambition of the Plantagenet kings. The frequent royal alliances, the steady intercourse, and the consequent mutual change of ideas between the two kingdoms during the Stuart era, could not fail to leave recognisable marks upon both nations. On Scotland, as the more backward of the two countries, French influence made a deep impression. Scottish early civilisation was cast mainly in a French mould ; its Universities drew their constitution almost wholly from French sources ; its municipal institutions were largely copied from French examples ; its religion at the Reformation elected to be guided by French rather than by German rites ; its language, its social customs, its business, its pastimes,—were all more or less modified by the French conviction. To thoroughly understand Scottish civilisation, we must seek for most of its more important germs in French sources. We must recall the steady tide of intercourse flowing between the two countries; the crowds of Scotsmen flocking to France for study or for military service, and coming back to imbue their students and their tenants with their own experience; the French courtiers and men-at-arms who came to Scotland in the train of each royal alliance; the scholars of the Reformation who strove to introduce the principles and forms of the Huguenots; the Jacobite emissary of a later century full of French sympathies and French ideas; and the French followers who often accompanied the "Scot abroad" back to his own country.

The present volume is an attempt to illustrate the extent to which this French influence pervaded the life of the Scottish people. Exception may be taken to some of the lines on which our research has proceeded, and some of our conclusions will perhaps prove subject of controversy. For this we are prepared. Our object is achieved when we have shown the part that French influence exercised in Scottish progress finding its way into every rank and into every walk of life. The book is not set forth as a complete exposition, but rather as an opening up of a question of much general interest in the history of British culture. Such as it is, it is now after much labour submitted to the learned of the two countries that have always shown such goodwill to each other. It is now high time to gratefully acknowledge a debt which has been running on for upwards of two years. The Rev. Walter Gregor, minister of Pitsligo,—one of those scholars whose learning cannot be confined within the quiet bounds of a Scottish manse, and whose abilities are perhaps better known to savants in other countries than his own, — has given me assistance without which the book could not have been what It is. In suggesting, revising, correcting, modifying views, and supplying Illustrations, Mr Gregor has Indeed been Indefatigable and gratitude Is due from the public as well as from myself to him for his arduous labours.

The author cannot close without acknowledging with thanks the zeal and talent evinced by Messrs William Blackwood & Sons during the progress of this book through the press.

Paris, 13 Rue de l'Ancienne Comedie,
January 1882.

You can read this book at in pdf format.

Clan Rattray
We got told of a series of four videos about the clan that you can view on YouTube. You can get to these at:

And finally...

Sweet Talk

It seems that not everyone is obsessed with going to the gym. As one woman in a west end lounge-bar told her pals,

"Whenever I accidentally say the word exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate."


Two Stories from Stanley Baxter's 'Parliamo Glasgow'

As I hastened into the street to join in the revelry of the fair I found the air filled with the traditional festival song -

'Errarainoanu Scummindooninbuckits!'
[There's the rain on now ... it's coming down in buckets]

I then requested directions and a small patriarchal gentleman came to my assistance.

'Centrul Station.' he intoned.

Then to my amazement, he commenced to conjugate one of the lesser-known Latin verbs -

'Gerrabus norisbus anurrabus heerabus!'
[Get a bus, not this bus, another bus, here's a bus]

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