According to a DNA test I did with Ancestry a year or so back, I am 64% Scottish. I always knew I had Scottish relatives on my mother’s side (see my BLOG post on ‘Douglas‘) but I had no idea the Scottish roots were this strong. As a result, I’ve been doing some more research into my family tree and also reading about Scottish history. My favorite book right now is How the Scots Invented the Modern World.
Say hello to my great grandmother – Mary Grace Michael (above/right). She was born in 1849 in Ullapool, Scotland. Below is a picture of Ullapool today in winter. How beautiful it looks. I hope to visit there one day.
Mary immigrated to Australia from Scotland with her family back in 1852 – a long, grueling 97-day trip on the ship Wanata. She was only 3 years of age. Sadly, she lost her younger sister, Janet, one of 33 children and 6 adult deaths, during the voyage, due to typhus fever. The ship was in quarantine for 2 weeks anchored off St. Kilda.
Mary’s father, William Michael (left), was a shepherd who lived and worked in the Scottish Highlands, just outside of Ullapool, before immigrating to Australia. I wonder if he and his family were affected by the Highland Clearances that took place from 1750 – 1860.
At age 18, Mary married my great grandfather, James Douglas. Together they raised 12 children and ran a farm in Woodstock, west of Bendigo. Tragically, James died suddenly of blood poisoning at age 59, leaving Mary to raise their 6 sons and 6 daughters and run the farm. She lived till age 71.
I would’ve loved to have sat down with Mary and hear more of her story. Nevertheless, her life inspires me today.
I wonder what stories of courage and resilience are in your family heritage that you can draw strength from today?