Like most people I knew a little about my living relatives but had no knowledge further back than my grandparents. As a family we had laughed at my father’s story of his relatives “the Border horse-thieves”. Donna persuaded me she could trace my family further back than my grandparents, and perhaps scotch my father’s story. She discovered that my father’s side of the family had lived in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The Old Town, then, was notoriously poor with overcrowding and disease being rife. My great-great grandmother had lived there all her life. Her occupation was recorded as “spirit dealer”. I would guess that was “spirit” of the alcoholic kind! She married no less than three times, each time out-living her present husband. Presumably before the welfare state she needed a breadwinner to provide for herself and her children. Donna discovered that my great-grandfather had indeed been a horse trader, with horses stabled in High School Yards in the centre of Edinburgh. This was fascinating stuff. My ancestors were living and breathing and a part of the social history of Edinburgh at that time. I felt at all times that Donna was as excited by these ancestors of mine as she was by her own. She has fired me with enthusiasm. Now I need to find out more about life in Edinburgh around the time of my great-great-granny. I must now also visit rural north east Scotland to find the strange-sounding place names where my forebears on my mother’s side of the family had lived.
Thank you Donna.
Joyce Nicol Edinburgh