Homeward Bounders (was Re: Bujold Bibliography in Haiku)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Sep 15 07:50:38 EDT 2005

Colin replied to my:
>> So it's a made-up town with bits from all over, really, which I don't find
>> entirely surprising.

>Indeed. But rereading it I find we have another Scots name besides
>'Macready' and 'Jamie': his surname, 'Hamilton'. And come to think of
>it, I am dubious that 'Graham' (Elsie's husband) would have been used as
>a given name outside a Scots family in the 19th Century. So I'm sticking
>with my Scots element.

Graham was the youngest Macready boy, and I don't think there's any doubt
about the Macreadys being a Scots family.  The other two Macready boys were
called John and Will, good English names both.  There's some assimilation
going on there, I think.  English names for the first two, and then a Scots
name for the youngest.

You missed a trick, by the way: "Elsie" is usually derived from "Elspeth",
which was the Scots form of "Elizabeth".  And "Margaret" was often used by
Scots, on account of Saint Margaret (and all you had to do to get sainted
in Scotland at one point was be related to Saint Margaret, or so it
sometimes seems).  So that's another two Scots names in the Hamilton
family, and Jamie's brother's name, Rob, might be Scots as easily as
English (see the Bruce).

"Bits from all over" surely might include two families originally from
Scotland!  (DWJ's husband being a man of Scots ancestry whose family were
living in and near Lancaster during the 19th century, why not?)  I agree
with you that the combination you've come up with does imply a Scots
enclave, but I can't really see why there shouldn't be such in a Lancashire
town.  There was work for engineers in the Industrial North, I'd've
thought, and engineers are traditionally Scots, not to mention dour, and
they'd probably have families some of whom would not follow their fathers'
trade.    Furthermore and to boot, the corner shop often seemed to have a
canny Scots owner, and what about all those gardeners?  They must have come
equipped with kith and kin sometimes.  (Jamie's mother wanted him to stay
at school and become a doctor: very Scots of her, medicine being another
profession the Scots went in for in a big way and education being something
they took great pride in.)

Given parts of my own ancestry, I tend to the conclusion that the English
*thought* they took over Scotland, and the Scots allowed them their
illusion whilst quietly taking over England by stealth and industry.

Graham as English forename (not relevant to a Macready, but still)...
Bearing in mind the number of Scots who moved south from the early
seventeenth century onwards, what with Jamie the One-And-Six and all, I'd
be surprised if Alexander, Bruce, Colin, Douglas, Graham, Ian, Kenneth,
Neil, and other such Scots names were not in reasonably common English
usage by 1870 or so when Graham Macready was being named.  Perhaps not all
over the place like Henry, John, Peter, Richard, Stephen, Thomas or
William, but not unusual enough to mark the man who carried tham as being
Furrin, unless by surname.  I'm not about to start going through parish
registers to see what I find, and even if I were to do so there'd be no way
to establish the Scottishness or otherwise of a family with the surname,
oh, Bell for instance.  :-)


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