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TITLE
Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Rosalind McClean
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_06_ROSALIND_MCCLEAN_Q_04
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Rosalind McClean
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
41046
KEYWORDS
conferences
emigration
lecturers
audio
audios
humanaspect

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As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad.

Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Dr Rosalind McClean answers the question:

'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?'

'New Zealand became a well-known entity in New Zea-, in many Scottish- By the 1860s many Scots had a, somebody they knew, a neighbour or a relative had gone to New Zealand, that was true for nearly all of Scotland apart from some of the remote Western Isles, perhaps, but in the 1840s, twenty years earlier, it was an unknown entity, and it's surprising how many went to New Zealand when it first became a British colony in the, in 1840, and there was a great deal of fear, especially on the part of women who were going.

There's many stories. For example, getting into the boat way up in Easter, Eastern Sutherland, in a place called - east Caithness, places like Brora, to go down to the ports. I mean down to, down to Edinburgh. Not Edinburgh. I just can't remember the name of the port.

Interviewer: Leith?

Yes, down to Leith to get the boat down to London, because there weren't many ships from Glasgow in those days. Stories such as the young father jumping on the little boat, and grabbing the baby, and sitting on the boat to make the wife come with him, when she's farewelling her family. And so I've collected many of these stories for wom-, about women's reluctance in those days, even though many of the networks about New Zealand increasingly came through women who didn't necessarily migrate. But there's one anecdote that really does strike me that's about a woman called Mary Anne Archibald, from Forfarshire. Quite a lot of people came from the region of Angus in the 1840s because the linen industry was declining and they had lost their jobs. Her husband was a flax dresser. But they too had got assistance to get the boat from Leith to London, and on the way to London she had a miscarriage at quite a far stage in pregnancy, on the boat, and when she got to London she had a collapse. I know that because there are medical records in the New Zealand country records and she was sent to a lunatic asylum. And there's a note from her husband saying that he wants to go to New Zealand anyway, and he's going to take the children, and he's never going back to Scotland. And that's what he does; he leaves his wife in the lunatic asylum with the promise that he'll send money for her when he can, and off he goes with the children.

And the, the hos-, the ships' lists makes it seem as though she died and that's what the records seem to infer, because there's a two year old called Mary Anne as well. But it's the two year old that dies on the voyage, not surprisingly. But the mother is taken back; the Brechin Poor Law authorities come down and get her, because they're responsible, and she's taken up to Brechin and she works there for two years, and I found a letter from her. And it actually almost makes me cry when I think of it; I don't know whether she wrote it or whether she dictated it to somebody, but you can hear her voice. I have a friend, a Scottish friend in New Zealand, who's read it for me into a tape, and you can hear it. The spelling is phonetic and you can hear, she's saying, 'I want to get a passage on the Marner'. The Mariner was a ship, and even though she doesn't know her husband's address, she says, 'I can't write to him. I don't know his address', she has enough understanding of how to play into the processes in the 1840s, two years afterwards, to get herself some assistance to get out to New Zealand. No help from the family. She applies to the secretary of the New Zealand company who's in Edinburgh - Mr McGlashan - and she says, 'Will you help me?' You know, she says, 'I've been working, nursing a woman and I've pleased, but I want to see my family.' And she creates a situation for herself to get out to New Zealand to find her family. And she's eventually reunited with them. And that, that story just amazed me - that, that facility for a woman to go through that, and yet without family help to organise her own passage, for a four month journey to find her family again.

So, those sorts of stories really touch me, and also the way that connections happened. I've found a number of stories where a goldminer will be roving in New Zealand, and he'll meet somebody from the same village, and in his, he'll, he'll tell this person, 'Do you know what? I've heard from my mother, and she's heard from her sister in Edinburgh, that your mother at the prayer meeting was praying for you, and saying, please could she hear from her son in New Zealand because he never wrote, and would the Good Lord look after him?' And then from that prayer in the prayer meeting the messager goes from Edinburgh to Ayrshire, to New Zealand, and the man gets told about his mother praying for him. And I thought, 'This is a world', you know, 'before the internet, before telephones, and people not even writing messages still getting through.' And that intrigued me, about those processes of connections at that huge distance that operate a hundred and fifty plus years ago, between people in New Zealand and in Scotland, so it doesn't surprise me that emigration takes off when those sort of networks happen.'


BIOGRAPHY

A graduate of the Universities of Dunedin and Edinburgh, Rosalind McClean is a lecturer at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. In 2004, as a member of a team of New Zealand and Scottish scholars, she received a prestigious Marsden fellowship to study Scottish migration and settlement patterns in Aotearoa New Zealand and to investigate the legacies of this migration. Her academic work is informed by her experiences during the 1990s, when she travelled extensively, living with her young family in various locations in the Middle East, Europe and North America. She has worked for a charitable trust and as a freelance writer, and remains an advocate for migrant and refugee rights.

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Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject? - Rosalind McClean

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

conferences; emigration; lecturers; audio; audios; humanaspect;

Am Baile

Scotland's Global Impact

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad. <br /> <br /> Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Dr Rosalind McClean answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'Do you have an anecdote which highlights the 'human' aspect of your specialist subject?' <br /> <br /> 'New Zealand became a well-known entity in New Zea-, in many Scottish- By the 1860s many Scots had a, somebody they knew, a neighbour or a relative had gone to New Zealand, that was true for nearly all of Scotland apart from some of the remote Western Isles, perhaps, but in the 1840s, twenty years earlier, it was an unknown entity, and it's surprising how many went to New Zealand when it first became a British colony in the, in 1840, and there was a great deal of fear, especially on the part of women who were going. <br /> <br /> There's many stories. For example, getting into the boat way up in Easter, Eastern Sutherland, in a place called - east Caithness, places like Brora, to go down to the ports. I mean down to, down to Edinburgh. Not Edinburgh. I just can't remember the name of the port.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Leith?<br /> <br /> Yes, down to Leith to get the boat down to London, because there weren't many ships from Glasgow in those days. Stories such as the young father jumping on the little boat, and grabbing the baby, and sitting on the boat to make the wife come with him, when she's farewelling her family. And so I've collected many of these stories for wom-, about women's reluctance in those days, even though many of the networks about New Zealand increasingly came through women who didn't necessarily migrate. But there's one anecdote that really does strike me that's about a woman called Mary Anne Archibald, from Forfarshire. Quite a lot of people came from the region of Angus in the 1840s because the linen industry was declining and they had lost their jobs. Her husband was a flax dresser. But they too had got assistance to get the boat from Leith to London, and on the way to London she had a miscarriage at quite a far stage in pregnancy, on the boat, and when she got to London she had a collapse. I know that because there are medical records in the New Zealand country records and she was sent to a lunatic asylum. And there's a note from her husband saying that he wants to go to New Zealand anyway, and he's going to take the children, and he's never going back to Scotland. And that's what he does; he leaves his wife in the lunatic asylum with the promise that he'll send money for her when he can, and off he goes with the children. <br /> <br /> And the, the hos-, the ships' lists makes it seem as though she died and that's what the records seem to infer, because there's a two year old called Mary Anne as well. But it's the two year old that dies on the voyage, not surprisingly. But the mother is taken back; the Brechin Poor Law authorities come down and get her, because they're responsible, and she's taken up to Brechin and she works there for two years, and I found a letter from her. And it actually almost makes me cry when I think of it; I don't know whether she wrote it or whether she dictated it to somebody, but you can hear her voice. I have a friend, a Scottish friend in New Zealand, who's read it for me into a tape, and you can hear it. The spelling is phonetic and you can hear, she's saying, 'I want to get a passage on the Marner'. The Mariner was a ship, and even though she doesn't know her husband's address, she says, 'I can't write to him. I don't know his address', she has enough understanding of how to play into the processes in the 1840s, two years afterwards, to get herself some assistance to get out to New Zealand. No help from the family. She applies to the secretary of the New Zealand company who's in Edinburgh - Mr McGlashan - and she says, 'Will you help me?' You know, she says, 'I've been working, nursing a woman and I've pleased, but I want to see my family.' And she creates a situation for herself to get out to New Zealand to find her family. And she's eventually reunited with them. And that, that story just amazed me - that, that facility for a woman to go through that, and yet without family help to organise her own passage, for a four month journey to find her family again. <br /> <br /> So, those sorts of stories really touch me, and also the way that connections happened. I've found a number of stories where a goldminer will be roving in New Zealand, and he'll meet somebody from the same village, and in his, he'll, he'll tell this person, 'Do you know what? I've heard from my mother, and she's heard from her sister in Edinburgh, that your mother at the prayer meeting was praying for you, and saying, please could she hear from her son in New Zealand because he never wrote, and would the Good Lord look after him?' And then from that prayer in the prayer meeting the messager goes from Edinburgh to Ayrshire, to New Zealand, and the man gets told about his mother praying for him. And I thought, 'This is a world', you know, 'before the internet, before telephones, and people not even writing messages still getting through.' And that intrigued me, about those processes of connections at that huge distance that operate a hundred and fifty plus years ago, between people in New Zealand and in Scotland, so it doesn't surprise me that emigration takes off when those sort of networks happen.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> A graduate of the Universities of Dunedin and Edinburgh, Rosalind McClean is a lecturer at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. In 2004, as a member of a team of New Zealand and Scottish scholars, she received a prestigious Marsden fellowship to study Scottish migration and settlement patterns in Aotearoa New Zealand and to investigate the legacies of this migration. Her academic work is informed by her experiences during the 1990s, when she travelled extensively, living with her young family in various locations in the Middle East, Europe and North America. She has worked for a charitable trust and as a freelance writer, and remains an advocate for migrant and refugee rights.