Saturday, 16 July 2016

On my Scots side .....

Continuing to introduce the cast of characters from my ancestry, my grandfather John Matheson was born to Frank Matheson and Annie Ross in 1884 at Clash Dhu, Rafford, Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland. This was Frank's second marriage. He lost his first wife, Isabella McKenzie, in 1871 following the birth of their third daughter. Frank maintained the family's births, marriages and deaths in his three volume (!) Church of Scotland bible, which was one of my initial sources for my Scotland ancestors.

My Scots ancestors were Highlanders.

Annie (1849-1922) was the third daughter of Alexander Ross (abt 1817- abt 1855) and Isabella Smith (1817-1915) and was born at Forres in Morayshire. Growing up, my mother told us, usually every time we passed Strathcona Avenue in Westmount (a town within Montreal), that we were related to Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal. But honestly, with a name like Smith (!) how on earth will I ever lend credence to that family story? Still, I've learned from experience to never ignore stories passed down.

Scottish records, I have to say, are very difficult to find. I've done searches for both my ancestors and those of extended family and friends. Those that do exist are housed by Scotland's People and available for a fee. But a few years ago, I hit a goldmine of information, discovering the names of Frank's parents and his many siblings, about whom we knew nothing, thanks to Family Search, where I found all their baptismal records. Lots of people shy away from this site, because of it being part of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, but it is so excellent. I've found many solid sources, discoveries and leads on Family Search.

My recent Matheson ancestors were crofters before the industrial age, when the railways became a main source of employment in the late 19th century. My direct ancestors beyond my great grandfather Frank and his parents remain unknown. Were Mathesons at Culloden in 1746? I visited there in 2011. One of the most moving places on this earth. How were my ancestors affected by the Highland Clearances?

The motto of Clan Matheson in English is do and hope. My mother Isobel Matheson Dougherty was very proud of her Scottish ancestry and helped to establish and create awareness of Clan Matheson in North America in the 1970s. One of my brothers carries Ross as a middle name, the other has Andrew as a middle name, both in honour of their Scots ancestors.

The never ending story continues ...

Matheson ancient dress tartan

Matheson crest and motto


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers! You never know what is around the corner in this never ending story. Love to do and blog about family history.

    1. Thank you kindly, Grant. Family history is a wonderful passion, to be sure.

  2. So all the point which as you mention i am totally agreed.
    Thanks for your kind information.