Janet & Libby’s Ancestral Tour

First cousins Janet & Libby from Canada spent three days with me researching their Cumbrian and Scottish ancestral roots. 

 

On day one, Janet & Libby’s first visit was to St. Michael’s Church at Stanwix in Carlisle. Disappointingly, most of the headstones in the churchyard have been cleared away to create a woodland garden however; the ladies were delighted that the stone commemorating their three times great grandparents Joseph & Mary Amos along with several members of their family was one of the few stones still standing. By chance the vicar was at the church and offered to show the ladies inside which thrilled them as their ancestors worshipped here.

Following lunch we visited the ruins and gardens of Kirklinton Hall. Anne Amos, Janet and Libby’s two times great aunt, had been housekeeper at the hall during the 1860s and 1870s. The day finished by visiting the city library where the ladies consulted the historic map collection to locate where family homes had existed but were sadly now demolished.

Day two began with equal success for Janet & Libby as we located several family headstones in Carlisle Cemetery. The find yielded new ancestral information as well confirming family stories. Among the headstones found was one for Anne Amos who had been housekeeper at Kirklinton House. We next visited places associated with Janet & Libby’s ancestors and found where they lived and worked at Close Street, West Tower Street and Dixon Mill.

 

The remainder of the day was spent visiting Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery and Carlisle Castle. Unfortunately, Carlisle Cathedral was closed due to graduation ceremonies.

After spending two days in Carlisle, Janet & Libby turned their attention to their Scottish ancestral roots at Canonbie and Newcastleton. At Canonbie the ladies were delighted to find the headstone for their four times great grandparents Thomas Armstrong & Mary Wilson – we had already found their daughter’s headstone at St. Michael’s Church at Stanwix in Carlisle.

 

En-route from Canonbie to Newcastleton we visited several places where Janet and Libby’s ancestors had lived. Our arrival at Ettleton Churchyard at Newcastleton heralded rain, this didn’t deter the ladies’ determination to find their ancestors’ headstones! The ladies’ resilience paid-off as we found their two sets of 4 times great grandparents John Armstrong & Isabella Marshall and Peter Oliver & Elizabeth Murray. This was certainly to be Janet & Libby’s lucky day as the headstone next to Peter & Elizabeth’s were Peter’s parents, James Oliver & Jane Armstrong – the ladies were ecstatic.

 

We celebrated the morning’s success with coffee and empire biscuits at the delightful Olive Tree Tea Room in Newcastleton.

Janet & Libby’s Canadian great grandparents had visited relatives in Carlisle and Newcastleton in 1901; armed with a letter which they had sent home, the ladies wanted to follow their ancestors’ visit to Newcastleton. We visited places where the family had stayed in 1901 including the butcher’s shop where the ladies’ two times great grandfather was born. We had lunch in The Grapes Hotel where Janet and Libby’s great grandparents had lunched in 1901.

 

After a delicious lunch we visited the Liddesdale Heritage Centre & Museum where the ladies learned more about the social history of their ancestors. En-route to Edinburgh we visited the 14th century Hermitage Castle which was key to controlling the Scottish Middle March (Borderland between Scotland and England). The castle is a breathtaking eerie ruin, set in a lonely spot with a history filled with intrigue, murder, torture and treason. One local described the castle as “sod-off written in stone”!

It was a pleasure to meet Janet & Libby and be part of their ancestral journey.

 

On returning home Janet wrote me a lovely thank you note reflecting on her ancestral tour:

 

“Dear Ian, 

 

Libby and I arrived safely back in Toronto yesterday with wonderful memories of our trip to Scotland. 

I want to thank you for the three terrific days we spent with you as our guide. I can’t identify any one highlight of our three days, as the whole experience was a collective highlight. (Well – maybe finding the Amos gravemarker at St. Michael’s Church in Stanwix might qualify.) 

 

Simply being in the areas where our ancestors lived in the early 1800s was so satisfying and following the route that our great grandparents took in 1901 was so interesting to us. While I have my own photos and notes for our trip, I especially like being able to see your record of our trip on your Facebook page – another perspective for us that is fun to read.

 

Now I will have to begin thinking about what I might consider doing next! 

 

With warm regards and, again, my sincere thanks. 

 

Janet.”

 

Where do you come from? What stories lie in your family history? Have you ever wondered? Maybe you’ve hit a dead end in your research or just don’t know where to start.

 

I can help. Simply tell me what you know so far and I will not only give you research advice but will investigate your Scottish ancestry on your behalf. I will research your family history with commitment and enthusiasm, connecting the dots to form a real picture of who and where you come from.

 

As well as years of expertise in ancestral research, I have at my disposal a wide range of historical and genealogical resources including the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, local and private archives and online resources. Where possible I will visit the area where your ancestors lived and photograph their home, local church and headstone, offering you an insight into their lives.

 

On completion of my research, you will receive a comprehensive ancestral report. 

 

By undertaking research on your behalf, I cannot guarantee how much information can be sourced from the available records in the agreed timescale. Please note that the agreed fees are for my time, not for the information uncovered.

 

Do you want to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?

 

I will design a tailor-made ancestral tour especially for you, taking you on a journey of discovery where you will connect with your Scottish ancestors by walking in their footsteps. Your ancestors will be brought to life when you learn about the people, places and traditions connected with them. By the end of the tour you will have gained a real insight into your ancestral heritage and where you came from, which you can share with present and future generations.

 

Do you want to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?

 

I will design a tailor-made ancestral tour especially for you, taking you on a journey of discovery where you will connect with your Scottish ancestors by walking in their footsteps. Your ancestors will be brought to life when you learn about the people, places and traditions connected with them. By the end of the tour you will have gained a real insight into your ancestral heritage and where you came from, which you can share with present and future generations.