A Highland Croft by Sherry Massey (Sorry scan is
lopsided. In real life everything is perfectly straight!)
Some months ago, I had seen a drawing done by blogger Sherry Massey of "Of Mice and Men and Cabbages and Kings" of a lovely Irish cottage. I asked her if she would do one of a Scottish croft, or cottage, that is a favorite among my Munro family photos. Dear sweet Sherry did this for me, free of charge. I love it all, especially the detailed work she did, such as on the thatched roof, the stone wall on the right, and the Munro tartan border. And note that she added the name Munro above the doorway! It is a drawing that I will treasure forever!
My maternal grandfather, Duncan Munro,
not long after his arrival in Canada.
Those you who have read my blog regularly know I am fanatic about my family history. After writing posts about my maternal grandmother's roots in Norway, and several posts about my maternal great uncles who were killed in WWI, I was told by readers that I am very lucky indeed to have as much information and as many photos as I do of my ancestors and their relatives.
I now realize that our family is truly blessed to have the knowledge that we do. For it's not just my side of the family. Dan knows his maternal grandmother Sudie Sheppard's family history all the way back to North Carolina and Virginia in the 1700s. (I joke to Dan and Kristen that they are descendants of Johnny Rebs.) Kristen could join the DAR but I can't. My people weren't even in the country at the time!
When I am finished working on it, Kristen's family tree will have many limbs. Only two branches have been truncated: that of my Irish paternal grandmother, Hazel Joanna Cody, and Dan's paternal grandfather, Hans Fredericksen.
Hazel Cody's family has been traced back to John and Bridget Cody, born in Southern Ireland in the 1830s. There, the trail ends, and I'm not the least bit surprised. For how many John and Bridget Codys were born in Southern Ireland, County Unknown, in the 1830s?
As for Hans, he had a shady past as a cattle rustler in North Dakota. Dan's Dad was ashamed of him and cut all ties to him, making it difficult to trace his ancestors.
Yes, we are blessed. But it is not luck. It is through the determination and hard work of our relatives that our genealogical records are so complete. A distant cousin of Dan's researched the Sheppard family. On my mother's side, my cousin Kevin has been searching the Norwegian Wangens and my Scottish second cousin Shirley has done a tremendous job searching the Munros. On my biological father's side, my second Cousin Mark has done the work on the Rockey-Cody families.
Grandpa Duncan in his military uniform
My collection is the most complete on the Munro side. So here I present some photos of my relatives from the Highlands of Scotland (some owned by my mom's family, some provided by Shirl) all the while thanking the powers that be that I have them.
Above, my Grandfather Duncan Munro in his "The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire" uniform, complete with sword and kepi helmet. Far from a romantic posting in India, Duncan was safely ensconced in Canada. This exotic-looking uniform is actually that of the much tamer Canadian Rifles. Duncan immigrated to Canada before the outbreak of WWI. As he put it in a much later newspaper interview, he had joined up and was chafing to go off to war when the conflict ended.
My Scottish Great-Grandmother, Hughina Munro
I have to say, Hughina looks like a sweetie, the quintessential grandmotherly figure. She lived to be 95 years old. After her husband died she was left to raise 10 children alone. She lived until 1951, two years after I was born. I don't know if she knew of the existence of an American great-granddaughter, Duncan having died two years before.
My Great-Grandfather, William Munro, for whom no photo exists, was a shepherd known as Willie Go Slow, because of the asthma which restricted his physical activities and led to an early death.
Golspie Football (Soccer) Team
William Munro is second from right in rear
As I mentioned before, I have written extensively about my three great uncles who died in or as a result of the Great War. But before the war, they had quite ordinary lives. Above, a photo of my Great Uncle William's football (soccer) team. What a tall, dark and handsome guy he was. Like myself, he was a journalist. Unlike myself, he was a terrific athlete.
John Alexander "Jack" Munro
I have often lauded Jack, a certified, genuine war hero who was posthumously awarded the British Military Cross for his many acts of gallantry. But before he entered the war, he too, was an athletic, handsome young man about to taste all the fruits life had to offer.
While I've written lots about Jack, I have neglected to write about Jack's Grace. That's what I call her: "Jack's Grace". This photo was found among Jack's effects. It's signed "Ever Yours, Grace". That sounds like quite the commitment to me. Was this jaunty, sporty, Highland girl with the dog and the braids Jack's sweetheart? Would she and Jack have been married had he survived the war? Among all photos in the Munro collection, this one is the most bittersweet to me.
In fact, I have in general neglected to write about the female side of the Munro family in favor of the male side. I hope to recifty that now. How could I leave out Archie's Grace? Yes, another Grace. Grace Williamson Fowler of Edinburgh, married to my Great Uncle Archie. They had immigrated to Canada and already had several children before Archie went off to war and was gassed and captured as a German POW. After he was repatriated and sent to Switzerland to recover, Grace joined him there.
(P. S. Everytime I look at this photo I think that the roof is on fire - see top right - but it must not have been, noting the calm demeanor and expressions of everyone in the photo, a lack of concern certainly shared by the photographer!)