|UK-Based Clan Website|
It's a bit constipated (i.e. a semi-regular log) to be called a true blog, but I thought I'd stick a blog on here anyway.
I'll only post items relevant to the search for information regarding the clan, which is why it will only be updated every now and then.
Latest posts will appear at the top of the page, so scroll down to see earlier entries if you're really that interested!
I've been having a play with Google Maps and have discovered that you can generate your own maps and embed them within a website so, guess what - I've made an interactive map for this website, showing the locations of people on the mailing list, and the locations of people shown on the Watson Family Trees pages. Looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself! Take a look, let me know what you think, and let me know if you want your or your ancestors' details included!
I've noticed that there's other websites out there offering DNA testing and have been taking a look at a few of them today. Most require you to pay for their own test before you can upload your DNA data, but one that stands out is Ysearch, which allows you to upload DNA results obtained elsewhere for free, together with your gedcom file if you so wish.
I uploaded my DNA to Ysearch and freakily it was an exact match for a chap in Norfolk - unfortunately, when I tried to contact him through the site (also free), his email address bounced! Oh well, you can't always win - and at least my results are now online in two places, potentially doubling my chances of other matches!
Received an e-mail from ancestry.com today to tell me that my DNA test results are now available, so I logged on to take a look. Turns out that my haplogroup is Q, meaning that my ancestors where the New World Explorers, the group of migrants that moved from Siberia across to the Americas and are the descendents of today's native North and South Americans. I'm assuming that a few stragglers must have headed West at some point, hence my being in Blighty!
Used the facility on the website to search for DNA matches, and found a couple of people on there that share a common ancestor with me within the last two or three hundred years, so I've sent them messages and am awaiting their reply! Will be interesting to see if we can slot our trees together!
Okay - the DNA testing kit from ancestry.com arrived yesterday, so I've taken the three mouth swabs required and posted them off today. Results will take around four weeks, apparently - should be fun to see what they say!
I've decided to restructure the site menu to draw out the pages relevant to researching family history - that seems to be the main reason that people visit the site, so hopefully it should make navigation a little easier. If anyone has any feedback on the change, let me know via the contact page!
Note that I've also added an entry for "Requests for Help" to post requests for help that I receive. Take a look and, if you think you can help with one of the requests, let me know and I'll forward on your information! If you have a request, drop me a line and I'll post up the details.
This should be interesting - I've just ordered an advanced paternal DNA test from ancestry.com. I'll let you know how I get on - if it's suitably impressive, I shall probably order one for my father-in-law, who's keen to investigate rumoured links to pre-revolution Russian aristocracy!
Well, it appears that The Gathering was a big success - over 47,000 people from at least 40 countries turned up!
Okay, as you may have guessed by my recent absence from this page, my sounding out of the 1911 Census website has been going rather well! I've really warmed to the site, and have been conducting thorough research of all my paternal ancestors. Another exciting, recent (and rather controversial) development is the addition of Streetview to Google Maps. I've been using this, in conjuction with the 1911 census results, to wander around my ancestors' neighbourhoods and to take a look at which of their various dwellings are still standing - and it's most addictive!
Another exciting development occured recent when Sir Simon Watson, 6th Baronet of Earnock, contacted me through the site. He has been researching his family history, and that of his family's arms. His great grandfather, Sir John Watson, was a man of some standing, being one of Scotland's largest coal masters and Deputy Lieutenant of Lanarkshire. The family arms are rather striking, and bear more than a passing resemblance to the arms of the Chief of the Watson Clan, so they obviously drew from them for inspiration! I'll post more details on the people and places page at some point but, until then, here's a picture of a rather lovely water fountain that Sir John erected in Hamilton (10th picture down), and a story about Sir Simon unveiling a monument originally installed by Sir John in Earnock.
Finally for this post, thanks to Roger Watson Ferris, who drew my attention to The Gathering, an impressive-looking event in Edinburgh that aims to bring together members and affiliates of all Scottish clans worldwide. I've checked, and there is no group attending on behalf of Clan Watson this year. It's too late to organise anything this year, but I'm tempted to attend the 2010 event, depending upon where in the world I happen to be at the time, of course! If anyone else is interested in going, or anybody is thinking of organising a more formal Clan Watson presence, please let me know and I'll help out with the organisation or promote your efforts as required! Must admit, the idea of going as a formal representative of Watsons worldwide, albeit as part of a Clan that is currently "dormant", is appealing!
An exciting (for me, at least) development today - the first batch of data from the 1911 England and Wales census has been made available online on the 1911 Census website. It's pay-per-view, but this site provides tips on maximising the productivity of the free search function, as well as information on how to get a 10% discount on pay-per-view credits. I'll certainly be checking out the site over the coming weeks, and will report back when I've had the chance to give it a good going over!
Many thanks to Dan Stevenot of Canada, who recently contacted me through the website with some exciting news about an old book he was given at Christmas. In The History of Scotland by William Drummand of Hauthornden there is reference to "the Clans, Whattones and Camerones" in the year 1426. I've not seen the name Whattones mentioned as one associated with the Watson clan before, but it may well be a variant of the spelling of the name. Interesting if so, as the Camerons and the Watsons are not usually associated with one another. I will post a transcript of the excerpt that Dan has sent me soon on the Clan Watson History page, and you can read the relevant text for yourselves. It's certainly something that merits further study, I think! If anybody thinks that they can add further insight, please don't hesitate to contact me!
One of my colleagues today sent me a link to the Family Search website, a site run by The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and which provides free access to transcribed 1881 British census information (which I've not found anywhere else). It also covers the 1880 US census and the 1881 Canadian census, as well as a fair amount of global BMD data, so is well worth checking out. The only slight niggle I have is that the site only gives you transcribed data, not copies of original documents, so you are relying on the people that transcribed the data to have got it right!
I've recently found a most excellent website (dude). FreeBMD is an ongoing effort to provide free, digitised data on all England and Wales births, deaths and marriages from when records began in 1837. It's brilliant for throwing up new leads, and I've become quite addicted to dumping huge quantities of search result data into spreadsheets. I've wasted many a lunchbreak reorganising, combining and comparing results and have managed to advance (probably not the correct word, as I'm going back in time) my knowledge of my family history to the tune of several generations.
FreeBMD also has a sister site, FreeCEN, which aims to digitise all England and Wales census information. Although of some use, the data is quite patchy - it has, however thrown up a fair few leads. Another sister site, FreeREG aims to provide free access to parish registers - I've not used it yet, so I can't comment on how useful it is as present.
I also have to admit that I've finally found a use for the 1901 Census website, one of the sites that I dissed way back on 19 January 2007. The way to make the site useful is to dig out a load of BMD information for free from FreeBMD and then to use 1901 Census to find corresponding census information in batches. 1901 Census is, it has to be said, fairly useless for BMD information, but it is great for census returns for every census from 1841 to 1901.
So there you have it: FreeBMD is great for BMD info but weak on census info, and 1901 Census is rubbish for BMD but great for census information.
One day I'll get round to activating my three free months' membership to ancestry.co.uk and will report back when I do. It may well be that the cost of annual membership is actually a bargain in comparison to the regular £5 payments that keep slipping out of my bank account since I've realised the usefulness of 1901 Census! If anybody has anything to report on Ancestry membership, please let me know via the contact page.
I'm still sifting through the large amount of data that I've collected in this recent burst of genealogical activity, and will post up family tree information once I've confirmed a few leads. So far, I've traced two of the non-Watson branches of my dad's side back to Ireland, and the Watsons themselves back to 19th century Kent. Where the trail will lead me next is anybody's guess, but it should prove interesting (to me, at least)!
Clayton Cannaday, who runs the The Official Clan Kennedy Association website, but is also a member of Clan Watson International, contacted me today through the contact page. He's put together a nice little website that pulls together some of the information from the various Watson websites out on the internet (much like I've been meaning to do on here for ages!), and is also launching a project to encourage Watsons the world over to unite with the common aim of furthering research into all matters Watson.
Sounds like a great idea to me, and is nicely compatible, without any overlap, with the new Grand Watson Family Tree idea that I launched last week (what is it that they say about great minds...? )! Thinking about it, the forum could be extremely useful in that respect, too - I'll speak to the Clayton about chopping and changing a few of the topics to make them relevent to both of our aims. Watch this space, and don't forget to sign up using the contact page if you want to be kept updated!
I've decided to lose the Historical Watsons page and have instead replaced it with a page that will list a few people and places connected to the Watson name.
I'll populate as and when I get time, but if anybody's got any suggestions, feel free to send them in via the contact page!
A big thank you to Mark Watson of Dorchester (that's in the UK ), who's sent me details of his Watson ancestors. I'll be keeping them on file, and if anybody else feels so inclined I'll do the same. It would be nice to think that this could be the beginning of a grand project to construct a massive Clan Watson family tree - with a bit of luck, if enough people send in their details, we can start to join some of the trees up!
Could be fun and, you never know, if you submit your details you might find out that you've got relatives alive somewhere in the world that you never even knew existed!
If anybody's interested, and wants to send in details, they can do so through the contact page - if I get enough data I'll start to post the resultant trees on line, although I won't make details of any living relatives public unless specifically asked to. Anyway - use the contact page if you wish to send me your ancestral details and we'll take it from there!
I've just discovered that rootsweb, a website I'm aware of but don't really use much (other than being subscribed to their Watson-linked mailing lists) has a facility that allows you to submit a website - so I've submitted this one. Will keep an eye out and see if it pops up in their list of sites sometime!
Yay! First member of the forum that isn't me! Welcome Kaliwatson! Anybody else want to join us?
Well, well, well. These past few months I've been a semi-regular visitor to the Scottish History Forum, but I've just been banned! My crime? Apparently, I remind the forum owner of somebody that he once had a falling out with!
Let's start from the beginning, shall we? I signed up at the forum a few months ago and was seriously impressed by the amount of historical information on there. Honestly, their resident historian really, really knows his stuff. Looking back now, I should have just lurked in the background reading the articles, and never should have posted to the forum. Unfortunately, one of the users, who seemed to have a passionate hatred for the English that extended well beyond the definition of racism began to post antagonistic and factually incorrect statements about the British, to which I responded. This unleashed a torrent of abuse from said individual. The forum owner was so worried about this troublesome poster scaring away newcomers to his site that he contacted me directly to explain that action had been taken against him, and practically begged me to give the forums another chance.
This I duly did, and continued to use the forum. Unfortunately, I then made the mistake of posting again, in response to a pro-independence post that was based on 30 year-old data. Apparently, something about my post, which was rational and non-derogatory, upset the forum owner, who then (rather bizarrely, I thought) gave me three days to admit to being called Brian or face a ban. As this is not my name, and never has been a user name of mine, I politely declined, wished my fellow forumers well, and promptly got the chop.
So, there you have it. A great forum, but you need to tread carefully. Sign up and read the articles, sure, but don't ever, ever feel tempted to post lest you fall prey to the Python-esque paranoia ("Admit your name's Brian, or else!") that lurks just beneath the surface. Oh - and tell 'em you found their site via mine, and that I say hi!
Ah - what service! Got home from work to find a birth certificate for my father's father awaiting me! Now that I've got the names of his parents, the next step will be to head down to the Family Records Centre and search for their wedding certificate. I'll start by the assumption that they did the (then) traditional thing and got married a year or two before my grandfather was born!
Spent a while searching the net based on the information on the Clan Watson of Canada website and found thePeerage.com, a rather splendid website that contains a wealth of information on the peerage of Britain and royal families of Europe, including lots of information on the descendents of the last chief of Clan Watson. I've entered it all into ancestry.co.uk and Genes Reunited - if anybody knows how to enter two independent trees in the latter without having to open a new account for each one please get hold of me through the contact page to let me know how! I've also entered the data into Family Tree Maker and generated a .pdf file that you can find on the Clan Chief page.
A rare productive day! I've loosely arranged to meet up with a 10th cousin of mine (on my mother's side - hooked up with him through Genes Reunited) in the London Family Records Centre in the new year. In the meantime, I thought I'd check out their website - and it's pretty good. I've ordered online the birth certificates of my father's father and of his parents, which should hopefully allow me to hit the ground running when I get down to the centre!
I also sent an e-mail to Elaine at Clan Watson International asking if she had any more details of the search for the last chief's descendents. She replied rapidly, as usual, and said that it's not actually members of "her" society that have been conducting the search, but members of the Clan Watson Society of Canada. She's had contact from them in the past, but everything's been quiet for some time and she's had no joy in contacting them recently. Armed with this new information I headed straight for Google and after a bit of a search tracked down Jean Watson, the secretary-treasurer of the Clan Lamont Society of Canada, Scot of the Year 2007 and, most importantly, apparent founder of the Clan Watson Society of Canada. I sent her an e-mail and heard back within an hour or so. Jean sent me a link to the fledgling Clan Watson of Canada website, which the society is just starting. The main information on there at the moment is exactly the information I've been looking for - details of their research into the last registered clan chief and his heirs! I shall present a distilled version of it on here sometime, but for the latest developments make sure that you check their website!
Have at last started to make some progress on completing the website. I've started off with the links page, partly in the hope that it will make the website a bit more useful, and partly because it should increase the site's visibility in search engines (although it currently comes out near the top of the first page on Google and Yahoo).
I'm going to try to make some headroom on the history pages next, but will also update the homepage to reflect the fact that I've been in contact with Clan Watson International and am now aware that they are still functioning! I'm also going to see if I can get some information on the society's current activities, especially the search for a new chief, and will report back here if I hear anything interesting!
Hmmm...this whole Scottish independence thing is starting to worry me, y'know. The Scots, or at least the SNP, have been kicking up quite a fuss about it for some time now, and I guess it was only a matter of time before it caught on south of the border. First, the SNP started proclaiming how much better off Scotland would be if it was independent from England, and they evidently struck a popular chord if the results of the last elections for the Scottish parliament are anything to go by. They've got this fantastic idea that they'll lay claim to all of the oil in Scottish waters and sell it to the English to keep their economy going. Two problems with that, of course: 1) most of the fields are owned and operated by international companies, and 2) the oil ain't gonna last for ever. Anyways, the amount of noise that's been made up there about going independent is now starting to get heard loud and clear in England. The English media have responded by pointing out that Scots receive a lot more tax payers' cash than they pay into the system, whereas for the English the inverse is the case. They link this to the fact that Scottish MPs can vote on English matters whereas Scottish matters are decided in the Scottish Parliament, where English MPs have no say whatsoever. Scotland has a lot more Labour MPs (57) than Conservative (1), so the ruling Labour party obviously don't want to change the current distribution of tax-and-take as they'll undoubtedly lose votes and hence MPs, and at the moment the increasingly unpopular Gordon Brown needs all the votes he can get!
I can only see three ways out of this muddle, really: 1) the Scots go independent - which I think would be a very bad move for Scotland. Oil revenues won't last for ever, and once they're gone Scotland will either have to ask nicely to become part of the UK again, or more likely will be forced to join the Eurozone, 2) MPs voting rights are rejigged so that only English MPs can vote on English matters, which would end up with more parity in UK tax-and-take by increasing the tax spend in England and hence reducing the flow of cash into Scotland, or 3) English MPs get a say in Scottish matters, which would also lead to more of a tax-and-take parity by reducing the cash flow to Scotland.
Point 2) would probably end up with a gradual creep towards Scottish independence anyway, and point 3) is essentially an admittance that devolution didn't work and would mark the start of a reintegration. I guess from the day that the UK government decided to devolve "the regions", this kind of situation was inevitable. I think my favoured outcome would be an end to devolution and a reintegration of the Scottish parliament into Westminster. Scotland would still be able to function as a distinct and proud entity within the UK without losing its identity, as it has done for 300 years now. I really do think that Scotland and its people will suffer enormously should they pursue the path to independence; the only money I think they'll be able to take from their oil fields will be in tax revenues, and these will steadily drop as the oil dries up. Raising taxes to compensate for lower production isn't a sensible option, as it will lead to the oil companies deserting the area prematurely to concentrate on their reserves elsewhere.
Of course, you also have to ask what the social implications of full independence would be. Would passports be required to cross the border? Would it still be easy for Scots to work and live in England and English to work and live in Scotland? And would it make it harder for people like me to try to trace their Scottish ancestry?
I think that there's still a lot more questions than answers at the moment, but now that the can of worms is opened it's not going to be possible to just put the lid back on. What's going to happen over the next few years is anybody's guess. It really is rather a terrible pickle!
Not had a great deal of time to further my search into my paternal blood line, cos this whole work thing has been keeping me irritatingly busy over the summer! I have, however been keeping in semi-regular contact with Elaine from Clan Watson International and one of the insights that she's provided is that some members of the society have indeed managed to contact the current nearest living decendent of the last chief - and remarkably he has absolutely no interest whatsoever in getting involved with the clan! So, I guess their search continues...would be fascinated to know how it's going, so if anybody knows get in contact using the contact page!
Found an e-mail address for Elaine Watson Qualley, who runs the Clan Watson International website, so I sent her an e-mail asking a few questions. Heard back within a few hours - she's registered me as a member, and is sending out my membership card! Top service, I say!
Just realised that I've been blind all these months since I first started this website - the name of the last recorded chief is given on quite a few websites, and all of them point to the same reference. His name was James Watson, Esquire, and he's described as "direct male line from Richard Watson of Saughton, to be described as: Chief of the name in Scotland" in the books of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Edinburgh, Scotland, Vol. 2, Folio 178, 1818.
Wonder if I'll be able to find him in all the records I've been filtering from scotsfind.org...
Finally got round to sorting out the web diversion service for www.clanwatson.co.uk, which I own. Henceforth, this website will be found under that url, so repoint your favourites if you've got a link to this website in there!
I've also registered this website with Google, so hopefully sometime soon it will appear in the results when people search for Clan Watson related items.
Night shift on an oil rig, and I'm bored. So I've been playing on various family history websites trying to find information on the names on my new list.
Things I've quickly come to realise:
Entered all of the names given to me yesterday into ancestry.co.uk. And genesreunited.co.uk. And Genepro. Disappointingly, my new family tree didn't instantly link to every Watson since time began.
Spent the day at my folks having a belated Christmas kinda thang. Got a nice bit of paper from my dad with as many relatives marked on it as he and the remainder of his side of the family can remember. Not much in the way of dates or locations, but it's certainly the best start I've had to date.
My birthday and, of course, St. Andrews Day. One bit of good news to bring a little cheer to an otherwise miserable day in the middle of the North Sea is that my father has got some family tree details for me. Mental note to self made to remember to get them off him when I see my folks in the new year.
Suffering work overload one night (I currently work two-week stretches of 15-hour+ shifts 7-days a week) I started to idly surf the internet on Watson-related searches. As luck would have it, I found a most excellent website containing all sorts of juicy historical records of Scots from ages past. I started to flick through these, and noticed a fair few Watsons cropping up. I became instantly addicted to combing the records for mention of the hallowed surname, and by the end of the night had put together a spreadsheet with a healthy number of entries containing details of Watsons as I came across them, in a by-now methodical search.
My current intention, in the absence of data on my immediate ancestors, is to start to piece together the various family trees of the Watsons noted in these records, with the aim of connecting as many of them together as I can. You never know, I might even one day be able to trace my own tree back far enough to pick up one of the threads! I'll also be posting tree fragments on this website as I complete them. Follow the Watson Family Trees link in the left frame to see how I'm getting on.
I became a frequent visitor to Scotland (mainly Aberdeen and Edinburgh), spending a few days every other week up there on business. I took the opportunity to scour bookshops and tourist shops for information on Scottish history and her clans. I picked up a fair stack of reading material that is still gathering dust. Best intentions, and all that...
I've been meaning to start looking into my family tree on my father's side for some time now. With this in mind, I quizzed my dad and one of his aunts about his side of the family just after Christmas dinner. The end result was "we'll have to go away and think about it", which I think is code for "we're drunk and it's Christmas - come back another time".
(10 October 2004, to be precise) I first heard of Clan Watson a few years ago, shortly before a nurse stuck a needle in my arm. I have to admit to previously having had little interest in the clans of Scotland, but that all changed when I went to the doctor's for a travel vaccination and the nurse jabbing me said "Ah - another member of the Clan!". I asked what she meant, and heard mention of the name "Clan Watson" for the first time. Prior to this, I'd always assumed that I was as English as cricket; indeed, my mother's side of the family has been traced back several centuries, and there's only one example of a wedding with a non-Englander (obviously, if you go back far enough, all us Brits are a mishmash of all the various peoples that have decided to invade and pillage this fair land of ours. Except the Welsh, but they're special. Oh - and possibly the Cornish).
I left the surgery with my head buzzing (and my arm throbbing), itching to find out more. I called my folks and told them of my earlier discussion at the surgery. They were a little surprised that I was unaware that the surname Watson was Scottish in origin, and succeeded in make me feel not a little unfoolish. Following this post-jab conversation with my parents, I was forced to concede that I was potentially, at least partly, descended from what I'd always termed the "ginger-haired transvestites north of the border". Oops. My colleagues got particular satisfaction from my discovery but, despite the jesting, I embarked on a quest for more information
My search began, as I suspect many do in this day and age, on the internet. It didn't take me long to find Electric Scotland, which is fairly informative, and then the Clan Watson International website, a site that proudly proclaims "This site was last updated on August 18, 2000".
The pressures of having to work for a living took over at this point, and I put things on hold for a while.
Rather a long while...
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