13/08/2014
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Scottish ancestry - From Tasmania to Inverkeilor

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A member of the Tasmania Police Pipe Band has travelled thousands of miles to explore the Tayside community where her ancestors once lived.

Following the recent discovery that her great-great-great grandparents were from the Angus village of Inverkeilor, Sally Cornish, who is a drummer in the Tasmania Police Pipe Band, decided to squeeze in a visit to this part of Scotland between appearances at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

'My maternal great-great-great grandparents, John Hay and Margaret Jolly, married in Inverkeilor Church in 1829,' said Sally, who is from Hobart, Tasmania. 'It was completely overwhelming to be in the village where my ancestors lived over 200 years ago.'

As Sally explored the kirkyard at Inverkeilor Church, she revealed that the church was the scene of a pivotal moment in her family’s history. 'Research carried out by one of my Australian cousins discovered that, according to the Parish records of 1809, John Hay’s mother, Janet Doig, appeared in front of Inverkeilor’s Kirk Session after she confessed she was with child.'

'The records also note the father of Janet’s baby – also called John Hay – had run away to England and that, after she ‘confessed her repentance’, Janet was fined the considerable sum of £1.

'It’s strange to be standing in the church where Janet was publicly shamed for being pregnant, abandoned and alone,' said Sally.


'To look across fields where my ancestors once toiled, see the remains of the cottages where they may have lived and visit the village where they went to church was a surreal experience and something I shall never forget. This visit and the background information I received at the Angus Archives has given such an insight into my ancestors’ lives.'

'I’ve always been so proud of my Scottish roots – and now I’ve seen where my forebears lived, I feel even more connected to my ancestral homeland and to my Hay ancestors.'

Tayroots Family History Day

People from near and far who are keen to find out more about their family’s roots will be able to obtain advice, information and access to a wide range of resources at the Tayroots Family History Day at Angus & Dundee College in Arbroath on 5 September 2014.

Events include workshops and talks and you can find out more at the Tayroots website or tel: 01307 473226.

Back to "Family History" Category

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