• Family Lore: Fact or Fiction

    November 8, 2012 by  
    Filed under Articles, Family History, Latest News

    After 20 plus years doing genealogy I can safely say that I have yet to come across a family that does not have an amazing family legend – or two – to share.

    Tales of ancestors, who were involved in well-known historical events, descent from famous individuals or claims to medieval castles count among the usual family tales.

    These stories, often long established and deeply rooted, become a part of oral tradition as they are passed from generation to generation.

    My first experience with family lore (many, many years ago) came with a visit from a McCallum relative who had recently returned from a trip to Scotland. Along with the wonderful gifts and souvenirs, she brought back a story of how she had visited Duntrune: the haunted family castle in Argyll.

    My imagination ignited, I sat transfixed as she related the fantastic tale of our ancient family seat, that now, through the luck of birth order in a long distant past, belonged to a distant cousin…or so the story goes.

    The Family Tree Connection

    The cousin in question is 19th Laird of the clan, Robin Neill Malcolm. Who related a tale about the castle being haunted? Although he himself had never seen a ghost or experienced anything unusual, he did say that his parents had.

    In Fact his step-mother refused to stay there alone as it was common for objects to move about in the night.

    The Story

    In the 1600s Duntrune Castle was the home of the Campbells in Argyll. During the wars of that time, the Campbell chief was called away. In his absence, the McDonalds attacked and overtook the castle killing all who had been left behind, with the exception of the piper.

    Knowing that the Campbells would return, the McDonalds laid in wait, hoping to set a deadly trap for the clan chief. However, they did not count on the cunningness of the piper who upon seeing his lords ship returning began to pipe a lively tune, which quickly turned to a dire warning.

    The McDonalds realizing what had happened were angered and in retaliation, they cut off the pipers hands: an act, which ended his life.  To this day, there have been stories of ghostly piping and other unexplainable events.

    The story of Duntrune Castle from the Discovery Kids network:

    In my youth, I loved to relate this story of our haunted castle. However as I grew older and became involved in genealogy I began to question the truth of the tale…and not just the ghost story.

    It was the story of Duntrune which led me to develop a strong interest in finding truths behind family tales and legends.

    Join me Thursday, 15 November 2012, and using the Duntrune case study, you will learn the research skills and techniques needed to help verify whether your family story is fact or fiction.


    Tall Tales & Old Blood – LIVE chat with Ramona Hartley

    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    20:00 until 21:00 in EST

    Hosted by Genealogy Beginner


    Image courtesy of emalcolmjr via Photobucket

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