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  • #16
    Originally posted by bob armstrong View Post
    Hello Rainbow,
    All the Border Peel Towers had spiral staircases built so that right-handed swordsmen could ascend them & have an advantage fighting off attackers. The only Borders family to have towers built to suit left-handers were the Kerrs.
    Some Scots pronounced Kerr as Karr, & it is said the term 'cack-handed' - signifying left-handed, came from that source.
    The few Towers I've visited have all been right-handed re stairs.
    Cheers
    Bob

    I've never been to Scotland. I didn't know there were Border Peel Towers. I will have to google it and see if there are any pictures online. I would love to visit the Towers and see the spiral staircases.

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    • #17
      Hello Rainbow,
      Google the following:

      Gilnockie Tower photograph

      or:

      Kirkandrews upon Esk Tower

      Sadly, many towers were destroyed to stop the reiving families' activities. Also, when peace arrived, the reivers often used the stones from their towers to build farmhouses etc.

      Cheers
      Bob

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      • #18
        Originally posted by bob armstrong View Post
        Hello Rainbow,
        Google the following:

        Gilnockie Tower photograph

        or:

        Kirkandrews upon Esk Tower

        Sadly, many towers were destroyed to stop the reiving families' activities. Also, when peace arrived, the reivers often used the stones from their towers to build farmhouses etc.

        Cheers
        Bob
        Thank you Bob. I found the photographs online and saved them to my phone.
        I want to read up on the Reivers.

        Elizabeth

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        • #19
          Hi Bob. Wikipedia lists more surnames. And they say the reivers were both English and Scottish. A Kerr is on my my mothers fathers side. Bell and Anderson are middle names on my mtdna line. Both my parents have Hall.
          Last edited by rainbow; 19 October 2009, 11:44 PM.

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          • #20
            Get a copy of 'The Steel Bonnets' by Fraser - it's an excellent entree into Border 'activities' !
            Cheers
            Bob

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            • #21
              Originally posted by bob armstrong View Post
              Get a copy of 'The Steel Bonnets' by Fraser - it's an excellent entree into Border 'activities' !
              Cheers
              Bob
              I had already told my mother about the Kerr family having the only left-handed staircase. Today I told her about other Reiver surnames Hall, Anderson, and Bell. She laughed and said we have all of them. I told her about the book you recommended, "The Steel Bonnets". I told her I saw an illustration online showing the reivers wearing Conquistador-type helmets. I told her your name is Armstrong, also a reiver family. She said we are related. The Armstrong family is descended from Siward the Strong Arm. Siward married a daughter of Lord Leofric and Lord Leofric's wife Lady Godiva of Coventry. Leofric and Godiva had a son, Hereward the Banished. I am descended from Hereward. The name had, at some point generations later, been Normanized to de Hayward, and later on to Howard. My mom has two Howard lines on her mother's side.

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              • #22
                My Nannie Kerr was born in 1728, Parish of Carmoney, Ireland (Northern Ireland). I don't know who her parents were.

                It's amazing that I search for three years for info about my unknown 17% Native American (DNAPrint) from my father's side, but just got zero Asian from 23andme, and I wander to this thread and learn more about my mother's Scottish side. I usually discover things by surprise in a roundabout way instead of by my direct determination.

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                • #23
                  Hello Rainbow,
                  Sadly, an Oxford professor has shown that the Siward theory is just a myth. It's a debate that has raged for years amongst Armstrongs. Those who follow the legend tend to ignore the 300 -year gap between Siward & the Armstrong Lairds. Also, Siward died without male off-spring.The truth is, we just can't say WHO our progenitor is. That's one of the reasons I joined the DNA project.
                  As you know, the Vikings were given Normandy, so the Normans who conquered much of Britain were actually Norsemen. The Borders are something of a melting pot: Brythonic Celts, Angles, Danes, Vikings & Scots etc. The Scotti were originally Irish. All very frustrating!
                  Anyway,
                  Happy hunting
                  Cheers
                  Bob

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Hi. I read something interesting today. On www.historic-uk.com I read about a reiver named Geordie Burn. On the night before he was hanged in 1596, he admitted to have "lain with above forty men's wives"! It is very possible that the descendants of many border reiver families are actually descended from Geordie Burn. So maybe we are related thru him. We'll never know. I think it would be interesting to know if there are men from various border families whose YDNA is the same, or a special haplotype. Who knows, maybe the Tittles, Armstrongs, Kerrs, Bells, etc, are genetically Burns?


                    p.s. I will try to get and read The Steel Bonnets. I still haven't read my Shakespeare book.

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                    • #25
                      Hello Rainbow,
                      In our Armstrong DNA project (Y), I have matches at various levels to some 40% of our members - also Armstrongs. However, there are a large number of tests that have no (or few) matches. This isn't necessarily due to NPE's, as when the Scots adopted surnames, as per the Norman model, many simply adopted the surname of the most powerful clan/family in their region for protection. I've read of a Highlander who changed his surname as he went from region to region!
                      Re the chap with lots of conquests: I think most of us males have greatly exagerrated our 'prowess', especially as young men, so who knows?!
                      It doesn't make life any easier for research!
                      Cheers
                      Bob

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by bob armstrong View Post
                        I think most of us males have greatly exagerrated our 'prowess', especially as young men
                        The older I get, the better I was.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by bob armstrong View Post
                          Hello Rainbow,
                          Sadly, an Oxford professor has shown that the Siward theory is just a myth. It's a debate that has raged for years amongst Armstrongs. Those who follow the legend tend to ignore the 300 -year gap between Siward & the Armstrong Lairds. Also, Siward died without male off-spring.
                          Happy hunting
                          Cheers
                          Bob
                          Correction: Siward had a son, but that lineage petered out soon afterewards

                          To: GTC

                          I'm not the man I thought I used to be, while my wife says I was never the man I thought I was!!!

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by bob armstrong View Post
                            Correction: Siward had a son, but that lineage petered out soon afterewards
                            Too few Peters, eh?

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                            • #29
                              Maybe the Armstrong name was continued by Siwards female descendant with her husband taking the Armstrong name. Or a great-grandson took the name. Also, I think the practice of using or interchanging the fathers and mothers name was acceptable. A person could use either parents name. I know that my Matthew Howard, born in England in the early 1600s was actually Matthew Howard Arundell, but he dropped Arundell and used only Howard when he lived in Maryland and Virginia. His sister Anne stayed in England and kept Arundell. She married a Calvert, but a county was named after her and her maiden name. Howards in the US wouldn't match Y line Howards in England but would match Ydna Arundells, if there was the miracle of absolutely no NPE's on both sides of the Atlantic for the last 400 years. But it is still a Howard line regardless.

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                              • #30
                                The experts have shown that Siward can't have been the progenitor. We know that much of the Armstrong history was written during Victoria's reign. She was besotted with her German husband Albert, & at that time anything German was considered to be commendable as a result.
                                The Great War changed that perception, & the hunt was then on to find more indigenous roots.
                                I've seen just about every theory on the family origins, & most writers simply promote their own prejudices. All we can say for sure is that the name first appears in Cumberland in the 1220's, & is in Scotland in the 1300's - all probably from the same root.
                                I think more Y-DNA participation here in Britain & Europe is essential to try to make headway. Let's hope more join the fray!
                                Cheers
                                Bob

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