Family histories


Thanks to a chance meeting with someone at a recent CoastWord event, Jane has been in touch with another member of the Begbie family. Kevin Begbie has been researching the family tree, and it now turns out that he and Jane are related. What’s more remarkable is that his researches have unearthed some facts about Jane’s ancestry of which she was unaware. Being born in Armadale, West Lothian, and knowing that many of relatives were also from West Lothian, she was intrigued to find, not long after we moved to East Lothian, that there is a hamlet called Begbie near Haddington. We also discovered several Begbie names in the graveyard at Bolton (where some of Robert Burns’ relatives are also buried, but that’s another story). It turns out that her family were indeed from East Lothian, but had moved to West Lothian, some via Edinburgh, in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. So when we moved here in 2000 she was, in a sense, coming home.

Her family, like mine, were mostly agricultural workers and domestic servants. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that so many Scots worked on the land in earlier times, and that the movement of people into towns and cities was a relatively recent occurrence.

Above are some of her family photos – her father David is in the one captioned ‘1939’. He was another fine singer, and I have fond memories of hearing him sing.

The name Begbie probably derived from the Old Norse name ‘Baggi’, so she probably has Viking ancestry.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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One Response to Family histories

  1. Mandy Macdonald says:

    One of my Latin lecturers at Sydney University, where i was from 1962 to 1966, was Cynthia Begbie. Might there be a link to an Australian branch of Begbies?

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