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?

8 thoughts on “My Scottish Roots

  1. Judith Beeston. But it’s her mother’s Dymock family that is Scottish. Other names are Ogilvie and Douglas. The Ogivlies are from Shetland Isles. I’ve traced her line back to Scottish royalty (although wrong side of the bed).

  2. Hi Mark. Yes it is interesting, My mother said I has some American ancestry in my family tree but was totally surprised and she would have been as well that it was her Grandmother, who was born in the US after her parents migrated from Scotland, the heritage goes all the way back to John of Gaunt to Edward King of England, Edward III. John of Gaunt supported and protected John Wycliffe from being murdered by the Romanists. I found this out about 5 years ago. Since then I have found out my father whom I new nothing about having left us when I was about 5 his background was missing but through an unknown sister’s grandson I found that my Great Grandfather was also born in the US and his father was a Revolutionary War hero.
    It seems that our search for meaning in the natural realm, has been hid from many of us, and in a lot of cases because of shame, family secrets. This is sad because as we know that the sins of the fathers are visited to the fourth generation and we spend so much time rooting out , repenting etc. However; the Lord showed me through this time to call in the inheritances, blessings that are dropped or not taken hold off, for His Glory.

    Thanks for your post.

    1. Thanks for sharing, John. That’s some interesting and intriguing ‘roots’ there. Yes, the natural family tree is not always an easy place to go. My dad never knew his mother or father and had to learn the truth of ‘starting a new generation’. Our spiritual ‘roots’ and sense of identity are primary, that’s for sure. God bless.

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