Ties Over the Atlantic

On Monday evening, the Council Chambers were filled to near capacity for the Tasglann nan Eilean Siar’s event looking at those who have ties with the American city of Detroit.

The evening started with a welcome from Councillor Kenneth Maciver who then passed on to local genealogist Bill Lawson who gave a short talk on emigration to North America and Canada.

Then briefly, I spoke about the Society’s records which are held in the Library in Stornoway and of some memorable extracts from the minute books. One such extract was that of the Harris folk enquiring if they were eligible to join. It turned out, after discussion, that the Society decided they were not eligible for membership and that only those from what is commonly known as the Island of Lewis could join. Below is a photograph of that page from the minute book.

The evening then moved on to the panel discussion. The panel was made up of Annie Macleay, from Lower Shader who was born in Detroit but returned home with her parents, Marilyn Macritchie who was born and brought up in the city and who married a Lewis man who was a minister over there and her son, Alec. There was also Murdo Macdonald, who accompanied Kenneth Maciver on his trip to the city a few years back. They all explained their respective stories and evoked many memories for those in the audience of relatives and friends from the other side of the Atlantic.

The evening was a tremendous success and the Tasgann nan Eilean Siar team would like to extend thanks to all the panel members who agreed to take part, Kenneth Maciver for chairing the discussion and Bill Lawson for sharing his vast knowledge with us. A thank you also to the audience who came along to support the evening. We hope to see you all again at more Tasglann events.

If you would like to see more photographs from the Detroit event, see the Gaelic version of this article.

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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