I’ve discovered two world-leading physicists in or near my family tree (so far). They were both total surprises. Neither is an ancestor: they are modern contemporaries: F. Duncan Haldane and Stephen Hawking.Continue reading “My two best physicists: Haldane and Hawking”
The family of my great uncle Dr David McKenzie Newton (1881-1916) seem to deserve their own blog post, separate from his own story told in “Broughty Doctor Dies at Smyrna“. His elderly father was a well-known Dundee shipmaster, ship-owner and/or master mariner, associated with the clipper Pendragon. His elder brother was a mechanical engineer. There may also be a connection to the Edinburgh Pillans family. It’s a nice set of ingredients that I’ll try to bake into a Dundee cake.Continue reading “The Newtons of Monifieth”
So far, Noisybrain is full of “privilege”. This is what I think about it.
At the bottom of this posting is a list of recommended people’s family / history stories chosen in part because they differ from my own initial postings here. First, a surprisingly long discussion:
- The modern meaning of privilege (with an aside about institutional patronage and those angry, annoying, patronising internet cartoons and discussions).
- A genealogical perspective, both specific and general, on why this topic is so relevant and helping in augmenting and interpreting the bare binary bones of family tree ancestry: family history people are generally pretty interested in the loss and acquisition of privilege down the generations.
- A nod to the much broader genetic or population perspective.
- The Scottish context, with a little history of the Highlands, Lowlands and Ireland, and a reminder that there are a variety of the ways in which an ancestor’s lack of privilege plays out for their descendants. Obviously us Scots are not all the same, but less obviously privilege can vary a lot even within a single family.
- A change of perspective, to the continuing diversity in privilege within contemporary Scotland, with a focus on the “Glasgow Effect”, one of the negative legacies of our economic and social history (which seems set to continue).
- A brief reminder that one of the national legacies of the British Empire and European colonialism has been, from a global perspective, Scotland’s relative privilege.
- A conclusion that reminds us there is diversity everywhere, even in a homogeneous family, while stating the obvious fact that there are far more extreme examples, and that it’s the latter that are more important in contemporary society.
- The links to blogs, books, podcasts and so on. Continue reading “Inheriting privilege”
Ebeth Scobbie married at 28 and was widowed at 33. As Mrs Ebeth Newton, she married again at 46, to a successful and well-regarded Edinburgh solicitor, Robert Galloway, also a widow. He was 69. Their wedding in 1930 was at Greenbank Church (near Robert’s home) in the south of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland.
I assume Ebeth and Robert found happiness with each other – they had just each lived through a dozen or so years of widowhood, right through the 1920s. I wonder if their ages were a big talking point back then: there was a 23 year age gap, which I assume was unusual. Is that Angus (Robert’s son) scowling in the background?! Or does just he just have a serious face? Well, Angus was just 11 years younger than Ebeth… and they were in the same generation, given that they had both “seen action” in the war. Maybe he was uncomfortable.Continue reading “Morningside Wedding, Morningside Funeral”
At the time of his death, Dr David McKenzie Newton had been a medical missionary for around a dozen years, and was the superintendent at Beaconsfield Memorial Hospital. It seems he also had a wider role, being identified also as “the college physician” by Smyrna’s International College in Paradise near Smyrna, an American educational institution which had been run by missionaries for 25 years.
His death (30 May 1916) from typhus, a family of bacterial infections carried by lice, aka “jiggers”, was probably caught in the course of his work tending patients, including Turkish soldiers, and due to the terrible conditions discussed elsewhere. His death was reported in contemporary newspapers and reports, and the aftermath was the subject of governmental communications (hence, luckily, preserved in the National Archive), as the Church of Scotland (his sponsors) and the families of David and his widow Ebeth attempted to help her in her perilous situation (see here).Continue reading ““Broughty Doctor Dies at Smyrna””
Grace Williamson’s wartime diary started at the end of October 1914, as she arrives back in Smyrna in Turkey to set up a Maternity Hospital. Within a few days:
So now the long dreaded war is upon us and what will become of us?
Who knows, one can’t help feeling a sort of unknown dread.