It’s quite apparent that, although my Dougall family history is now in print, the flow of research and information doesn’t necessarily stop. Therefore the blog is the means to serve up sequels, or postscripts. And probably won’t stop me from some idle speculation ...
|Postcard, undated, West Calder Family History Society|
John Dougall’s main activity was at West Calder village, located about fifteen miles west of Edinburgh. His “activity” as we know it consists merely of three recorded baptisms in the 1750s for his children. Genealogical convention says the distance a man could walk from his home or birthplace in half a day, or sometimes a whole day, is the usual radius in which ordinary eighteenth century folk connected with employment, for marriage, and where they found or established family ties. Fifteen miles sounds reasonable to me for a healthy young man.
Why hadn’t I been thinking that—instead of fleeing from the dire aftermath of Culloden—John might simply have walked away from the religious and political turmoil of 1740s Edinburgh? Would it have been “simple” to do that? A few earlier Dougalls are recorded in the Edinburgh parish of St Cuthbert with no known connections at this time. And there to this day below the famous castle sits St Cuthbert’s—the “West Kirk” of Edinburgh—on the Lothian Road! The National Archives of Scotland has hundreds of items relating to this historic church (CH2/718) including intermittent parishioner lists and examination rolls ... just waiting for a future Dougall family researcher to explore :-)
|St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, photograph by Jonathon Oldenbuck, 2008. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_Cuthberts_Edinburgh.JPG.|
|Sir Walter Scott monument, photograph CDM 2010.|
The whole Heart of Midlothian notion does not raise quite the same ancient tribal thrills in me as a Highland warrior does. Yet, Edinburgh possesses its own unique excitement as the post-mediaeval town of teetering tenements, outspoken populace, and occasionally nefarious mysteries. I am heartened by the wonderful job the folks at Scottish Monumental Inscriptions are doing with West Lothian and Edinburgh cemeteries. There’s at least one Dougall stone in Calton Old Cemetery, Edinburgh. To be continued, bien entendu.