I just love this picturesque description of my Great Great Grandfather James Law who was born in Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1811:
“… it might with truth be said that no stronger or more robust, more firmly-knit, or finely-built man walked its streets. He stood 5 feet 10 inches in height, straight as an arrow, with large, massive brow, broad and high, above which the auburn hair bristled like a hedge-hog in full defensive panoply—hair it was which by no process of combing would lie flat, and usually disdained any covering.“
His auburn hair “bristled like a hedge-hog in full defensive panoply”! Imagine his eyebrows! My own are starting to get “Scottish” now that I’m older. No one is auburn-haired in the family that I know of so we must have lost that along the way, down the generations.
It’s not often you find a such a vivid description of an ancestor. A photocopy of the first half of one chapter from “A Village Propaganda” published in 1889 has been in our family archives as long as I can remember. I never read it that closely before. I can’t source the book anywhere. It seems to have been lost to time. I feel blessed to have this wee bit of it to cherish and pass down.
James Law came to Canada with his wife, Helen Massie, and their six children and his sister Margaret Beattie. Two of those six children married sisters, the daughters of Samuel Burnett and Margaret Gerrie. James and Helen and three of their children are buried at Winterbourne Presbyterian Cemetery in Winterbourne, Ontario. Samuel Burnett and Margaret Gerrie are buried there too. Their gravestones are old and some are broken or knocked akimbo. It’s a graveyard I’d like to visit, wander through.
I’ve learned so much about my family since I got interested in genealogy. The things my parents never told me is now a much more extensive list than before. They knew some of the secrets, but not all. They didn’t know where James and Helen were buried. Not a secret, just a fact lost to time. Lots of those.
It’s all about the babies. They come when they come. Not when you are ready for them. Same then as now.
 From: Chapter X: The Rhynie Class and Its Alumni, “A Village Propaganda” by David Douglas, published Edinburgh, 1889.