Inverness was beautiful. Such history. I knew that my Great Great Great Grandmother Christine Mackenzie was born in Glenurquhart Invernesshire, but I really didn’t know what that meant. Until now.
Inverness was my introduction to Scotland and I fell in love with this land immediately. A feeling of belonging and mystery and wanting to know more swept over me.
I discovered Glenurquhart was the village near Urquhart Castle, which is on Loch Ness. So we caught a bus there, paid the entrance fees to the Castle and enjoyed the experience, although it was very busy with tourists (fancy that?). I discovered that Urquart Castle was destroyed by the English in the late 1700s before my Great Great Great Grandmother, Christine Mackenzie was born. Perhaps she travelled here to visit the ruins?
Then it was a bus ride to Elgin. This was to be the most important part of my visit to Scotland for my ancestry, unfortunately I didn’t plan enough time here. Another day would have been fantastic.
The bus station was near High Street, and I knew this was where my Great Great Grandfather Jame Ogilvy lived.
We found our accommodation for the night – Moraydale Guest House – beautiful.
From Mum’s Ancestry bible I knew that my Great Great Grandfather, Marie Ogilvie’s father lived at 52 High Street. So after dropping our bags we went off to find number 52 to see if it was still standing. It was …..
I could hardly believe it. Oh Mum, if only you were here to share this moment. All your hard work and here it was – the house that your Great Grandfather lived in, still standing and this is what it looks like today. I took photos with tears wetting my cheeks and breathed in the moment. How amazing was this? I knew there was another address at High Street – 10 High Street that James lived later once his father had died. Investigation found that there are new, modern Council offices where 10 High Street must have previously stood. So, even in a town as historic as Elgin, some houses are sacrificed for the purposes of development. What a shame.
There was a great little pub “The Drouthy Cobbler” down the laneway next to 52 High Street, where we had a drink and found out about John Shanks aka The Drouthy (likes a drink) Cobbler who, with his bare hands cleared the ruins of Elgin Cathedral and then was appointed the caretaker of the Cathedral “The jewel of the North”. This pub was a real find and a great story.
Later that night, a deeper study of Mum’s Bible found that I was wrong. 52 High Street was not where James Ogilvie lived with his parents, this is the first house that where he lived with his mother after his father had died. He first lived at 49 High Street with his parents, which is where his father John died prematurely, aged 32, when James was only 4 and his younger sisters were only 3 and 1. What a tragedy to happen to a young family. I knew that tomorrow, as well as visiting the local Births, Deaths and Marriages office to see if I could find out any more about John’s death, I needed to find 49 High Street and see if that too, was still standing…..