Preparation for a trip to Scotland isn't easy. Especially back in 1998! It isn't fast. It isn't cheap. But man is it fun!!
We scoured the book stores for books and books on the subject along with maps and anything I could grab off the (then infant) internet. We did much research and found what we thought at the time, was the best travel agent and got started.
Every spare dime (quarters, nickels, pennies, and dollars were also included) I would find went into my Scotland Fund. We got people at work into the saving as well - we set up a fund there, too, in the form of a piggy bank of sorts. everyone would put in a quarter here, a dime there, and even a dollar or two now and then. We decided that was our film money (way before the days of digital cameras!). We knew we were going to use a lot of film, I always overshoot. That way, I figure, I'm bound to get that photo. All in all, the work fund money ended up being over $100!!
We bought our plane tickets (non-refundable) so it was then written in stone that we were going! I made reservations at three B&B's ahead of time that I found on Milford (www.milford.com) whose details you'll get later on. So it looked like we were on our way - one way or another!
Time drew near for us to leave and family research wasn't coming up with much. The entire reason for this trip was to find family and that elusive castle. So I found someone locally who enjoyed doing genealogy research for people for fun (Barbara). She came up with this:
Mother's maiden name: Watson
*Sept of Buchannon, Forbes
Grandmother's maiden name: Glass
*Sept of Stuart (not the royals, of course)
Great-Grandmother's maiden name: Dixon
*Sept of Keith
Great-Great-Grandmother's maiden name: MacKenzie
*Yeah, sept of itself!
This last lady, the MacKenzie, as far as we know, came from Scotland with her family and I am the first to go back to Scotland since she first set foot on American soil. It stops there. So I'm stuck, with no more information, I've gone to countless churches to do research and every time its a dead end. Oh how I wish Grandma hadn't thrown that letter away...didn't she know what kind of spirit her granddaughter would posses? The kind of spirit that is down right unstoppable? Oh well, not much more I can do here, isn't there?
I do wish she were still alive to have seen me go. She'd have been so proud. This part is very hard for me, I was closer to my grandparents than my own mother and when they died, a little part of me died with them.
Okay, I gotta move on now. Anyway - the closer time came for the trip, the more and more it looked like this family hunt was going to end up a vacation instead. Darn the luck! Imagine, trading in hours in a dusty old room willed with words that wouldn't make much sense to me doing research that would make me want to bang my head on the wall - for the open fresh air of Scotland! Who could possibly be disappointed?!? Certainly not me!
Not being able to find the family roots (not counting the castle that are related to family history, of course) was a little sad. But nonetheless, I had more fun than you can shake a stick at and then some!!
Next part: Our departure day finally comes!!