Alastair McIntyre

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

Lots as I run the website www.electricscotland.com which is all about the history of Scotland and the Scots at both home and abroad. I probably have more information on the Scots Diaspora than any other web site.

Yes of course the Highland Clearances were one reason but many left to better themselves and their families. Right now some 800,000 Scots live in England [Govt. Stats] so you can see how much emigration is economic.

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 South West Ontario in Canada.

I wanted to do some research in the US on the Scots Diaspora. I went there for 3 months and spent time in New York, San Diego, St. Louis, Salt Lake City as well as time in West Virginia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. I was heading back to Scotland when it was suggested I take a trip to Canada in 2004. That ended up spending the next 6 months in Canada staying with friends of my web site. I spent time in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, a one day trip to New Brunswick then time all over Ontario and Quebec and also British Columbia. At the end of my six month trip I’d so enjoyed my visit that I applied for a work permit. I came back to Scotland, sold my house and came back to Canada. I have since got Permanant Landed Status and now am a Canadian citizen. My money goes much further in Canada than it did in Scotland. For example I have detached home with 3 bedrooms, 2 reception rooms, 1 and a half baths, office, a three room basement, a huge walk in attic, garage and back garden. Guess what that cost? 36,000 GBP. What would that get you in Scotland?

In my opinion Canada is more Scottish than Scotland. Scots played a huge roll in building the country.

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

All my ancestors are Scottish but my parents did work overseas for many years.

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

Huge… absolutely huge and all over the world. There is no country in the world that you can’t find important Scots contributions.

A Falkirk man opened up trade between America and China. Another Scot was the first to do a translation of Chinese into English. His work is still quoted in Universities of today.

Scots played a huge roll in building Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Our Scots missionaries played a huge roll in Africa and the Philippines, We were also significant contributors to Russia and throughout Europe.

We were huge in business ventures but also in Religion, Agriculture, Education. And of course we created Golf, Curling, Baseball and influenced ice hockey.

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

I thought that this demonstrates that you can’t go anywhere in the world without finding a Scot.

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