Wow! I'm Scottish!
I found this discovery very interesting, to say the least, and it has set me upon a journey of discovery about the Scottish people, our heritage, our history, and about Modern Scotland, its culture, politics, and people.
Okay, I understand some Scottish-Americans can go a little overboard with the whole heritage thing. Sometimes I hear such similar views are not always held by common Scots of today - that American Scottish culture is quite different than modern Scottish culture IN SCOTLAND. But that is okay. Just because we might be distantly related doesn't mean we all have to agree on and do everything the same. Scots can consider us their strange American relatives - LOL. Regardless, Scottish-Americans can easily make up for any lack of interest modern Scots might have in Old Scottish History and heritage. So if you are a Scot in Scotland I'm sure you will find some humor or humour 🙂 in the cultural differences between Scottish-Americans and Scottish-Scots. 🙂 And if Scottish-Scots don't like it, just remember there are more of us than there are of you - LOL. That's actually true, but just joking around. Truly we don't mean any harm, any offense, or wish to make Scottish-Scots feel uncomfortable, but as you can see when it comes to some Americans and their Scottish heritage we can have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. That could also bring up a whole another conversation about exactly which culture: highland, lowland, coast (several), isles (several), east, west, city, country, and/or modern versus classical. But I will leave that topic for another day.
In 2018, I learned in detail about my Scottish ancestry. I always heard in the family that I had Irish and/or Scottish blood, but did not know the details. After digging through my uncle's genealogy research and doing my own historical research, I learned that my family were among the ruling families that founded Celtic Ireland. Later they founded the Kingdom of Dál Riata (Northern Ireland and western Scotland). Later they founded early Scotland and in later centuries united the Scotland we know today. Can you say Wow! Yeah, it hit me like a truck.
Although related to King Robert the Bruce, my Scottish ancestors were a part of the ruling family that first united Scotland into a nation before the time of the famous Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. My family were from the Houses of MacAlpin, Dunkeld, and Canmore. This includes being a direct descendant the first King of Scotland, Kenneth MacAlpin, and also of the famous King William the Lion (where we get the Lion Rampant symbol from in the Scottish Royal Flag). It also goes further back to people like Fergus Mor and further back to the High Kings of Ireland. Yes, So I have had an interesting time discovering that I am a direct descendant of Scottish Royalty, but in reality I remain an average person like everyone else. We are all the same in God's eyes.
I found a very colorful family history. After King William "The Lion" my family line continues though his daughter Margaret DeScotland who is married off to an English Baron Eustace de Vesci, settling in Northumberland (a part of Scotland at the time). Two other daughters of King William were also married off to English barons, so it appears also with my great grandmother, these marriages were possible attempts to make peace in this contested borderland area between Scotland and England. Eustace de Vesci was Lord of Alnwick at Alnwink Castle. He was one of the 25 Barons who signed the Magna Carta. He was in the Holy Land Crusades with King Richard the Lionheart (of England). In 1291, a cousin and a grandson of Eustace and Margaret was a competitor for the Crown of Scotland along with another famous Scotsman, Robert the Bruce. From there my family marries into the Forester Clan of Northumberland, Governors of Bamburgh Castle from 1200 to 1700. Another direct descendant of note includes Sir Thomas Widdrington (MP in House of Commons and Speaker in 1656).
Around 1680 my Scots-English family leaves for America via Maryland and Virginia, then in 1700 they settle in North Carolina before the greater Scottish migration of the 1700s started. There were 3 groups of Scots who migrated to America in the 1700s: Lowlanders, Highlanders, and Scots-Irish/Ulster-Scots from Northern Ireland. While Scots may have come to America from different regions and at different times, their migration and settlements in America show similar patterns. This flood of all varieties of Scots, eventually ended up settling most in the southern Appalachia Mountain areas of Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Scottish Americans played critical roles in the Colonial governments and in the American Revolution itself, during which the British Army met its most ferocious opposition in North Carolina, home to the largest concentration of Scottish Americans.
The Scottish in the "The South" Southern States of America
The Pipes were always calling...
Interesting enough, when I was a teen, not even knowing that I was Scottish at that time, I learned how to play the Scottish (Great Highland) bagpipes because I had a love for their sound that cut to my soul. Since then I've always loved to listen to Scottish bagpipe music so much so I've always considered the Scottish bagpipes the heavenly instrument instead of the harp. Hey, that's how I always viewed it. It's an instrument if played right with the right song can still easily bring tears to my eyes.
In America, especially the South, we have a rich Scottish culture with people promoting classical Scottish heritage, pride, and music - probably more so than in Scotland itself. That is why it was easy for me to find Bagpipe lessons to learn in my local area.
As a young adult, me and a brother joined the local Highlands and Islands association. So it is not as if 2018 was my first taste of the Scottish culture. From a teen into young adulthood, I had always been very curious and attracted to the Scottish culture. It was easy to get immersed into it with the help of the local Scottish association and others in my local area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Wikipedia Article).
So, in 2018, it was like coming home again to a familiar place. And this is where I started this website, to share my experiences in re-connecting with the Scottish culture and connecting for the first time with Modern Scotland.
LISTEN to Dave's Sounds of Scotland Station on Pandora. A mix of modern and classic Bagpipe and Celtic folk music.