Leslie McMichael

What do you know about the reasons for emigration from Scotland?

During the industrial revolution from 1880-1920 and with the increase of passenger ships leaving Scotland, emigration for economic reasons was much easier.

If you live overseas yourself, where do you live and can you say a few words about your personal Scottish diaspora story?

I live in the United States, in the state of Idaho. My great-grandmother Elsie Lawrence was born in Turiff, King Edward Parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1888. She was the youngest of 10 children. Her parents were Alexander Lawrence and Ann Murdoch.
Andrew, one of her older brothers left Scotland to bring a shipment of Angus cattle to Montana. In 1909 at the age of 21, she left Glasgow via ship arriving in New York City. My great-grandmother Elsie was only planning on visiting her brother in Fort Benton, Montana for vacation. Elsie met her future husband William Jefferson Brown in Montana and never returned to Scotland again. Her brother Andrew didn’t stay in the United States and returned back to Aberdeenshire. My great-grandmother was the only one in her family of twelve to emigrate
out of Scotland.
When I was a young child, she must of been in her 70s by then, she still had a very thick Scottish accent. She referred to my sister and I as “the girls” and I was embarrassed because I thought she was saying “girdles.”

Have any of your ancestors or members of your family emigrated? If so, where to? And do you know anything about their story overseas?

None. My husband and I would love to emigrate to the Isle of Harris/Lewis when we retire.

What do you think is the legacy of the Scots abroad?

Everyday I’m learning something new the Scots invented. Just recently, learned that Curling was invented by the Scots and the stones used in the Olympic games came from the tiny Scottish island of Ailsa Craig.

Ending with something light-hearted: what did you think when first looking at the image called ‘Piper Kerr and Emperor penguin’?

Pipers have to practice everyday. Having an audience, no matter what kind is a bonus.

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