Loralee Hyde: Scottish Connections

Lorimer, Anderson, Lennie

A search for a family tartan

Soon after I started Scottish Country Dancing in 1974, I thumbed through books of tartans (no internet in those days!), trying to locate a clan connection so I could get a tartan sash to wear. No luck, so I chose a Hunting MacRae tartan.

Third from the right, I’m dancing in a Wellington demonstration set in 1991 with my Hunting MacRae tartan sash flying. Dances: Jacobite Ladies, Crown of Kings, Sound of Harris

My father Jim Hyde and my aunt Barbara knew and kept in touch with most of their aunts, uncles and cousins; which was quite an undertaking as their mother, my grandmother Sarah Hyde (née Lorimer), was one of fourteen siblings. They were also aware their mother’s parents had emigrated from Scotland but weren’t sure where their grandparents had been born.

Dad had always loved history; he knew all the details of the intense battles fought in Scotland including the Battle of Culloden. He sparked my growing interest in our heritage and in the early 1970s with help from him and my aunt, I created the first steps of a family tree (done in pencil to allow for numerous rubbings out!) on their mother’s side, the Lorimer family.

My parents explored Scotland in 1978 with my sister Karen. Dad loved visiting the places he’d learned about at school – here he and my mother Tess are at the memorial cairn at Culloden Battlefield.

Now, with so much information available on the internet, I’ve discovered Lorimer is from the Old French lor(i)mier (The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948)), meaning “a maker of bits, spurs, stirrup-irons, and generally of all metal articles of horse-furniture”.

My grandmother Sarah Hyde (née Lorimer) in 1952. She died in 1956 so I didn’t have a chance to talk with her about the Lorimer family history.

Building a family tree nowadays

The internet has opened up a whole new world for drawing up family trees. After my mother died two years ago, I inherited thousands of photos going back to the late 1890s taken by mum, my grandmother and my father. I’m slowly scanning representative images to build a family history.

I could identify many of the people in the photos but realised others might not, so I started developing a family tree online using My Heritage. The main advantage of using an online service is the site automatically constructs the family tree charts as you enter the details of your relatives. Another benefit is the site connects names in your tree with the same names in other people’s trees – enabling you to discover many more branches of relatives! This can lead you down many a rabbit hole …

Four generations ago: Lorimer and Anderson connections

On MyHeritage, I discovered my great-great-grandfather, William Lorimer, was born in 1804 in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He married Jean Anderson from Upper Boyndlie, Tyrie in Aberdeenshire in 1833 and had five children – Alexander Lovie, William (my great-grandfather), Elizabeth, Jane and Joseph.

By 1841, my great-great grandfather William was the main farmer of Smithyhillcock farm in Peathill, Aberdeenshire. He farmed there for the rest of his life. Photo: MyHeritage 2009

Now knowing my great-great-grandmother Jean was an Anderson, I could choose to wear that tartan.

Three generations ago: Researching the name Delany

As a lover of history, my father was thrilled to have a photo of his grandmother Jane Lorimer. He recalled her maiden name as Delany.

Using the power of searching on MyHeritage, I found out my great-grandfather William Lorimer born in 1834 in Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, married Jane Lennie (originally from Stirling, Scotland), in Kaiapoi, Canterbury in 1863. At the age of 20 and described as a domestic servant, Jane had emigrated to New Zealand in 1862 aboard the ship Echunga travelling from London.

Echunga passenger shipping list for the sailing from London (2 Sep 1862) to Lyttelton (24 Dec 1862). A journey of 102 days!

Delving ever deeper into the internet to find out more about the name Delany, I came upon the history of the MacMillan sept of de Lany.Leny/Lennie (a sept is a subdivision of a clan). The spelling of last names can vary in Scotland so de Lany, Leny and Lennie are three variations of the same name.

My great-great grandmother Jane Lorimer (née Lennie) at age unknown. She died in Hawera in 1902 at the age of 58.

How amazing to find out I connect to Clan MacMillan through my great-grandmother Jane’s maiden name of Lennie! And I now have a choice of MacMillan tartans for my sash. I see on the McPhees website a sash of MacMillan Hunting Ancient tartan is available. A purchase may be made soon!

MacMillan Hunting Ancient tartan

Feeling at home in Scotland

During 1979-80, I lived and worked in Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland for nine months. During that time, I travelled extensively throughout Scotland. Although I didn’t go to Aberdeenshire where my great-great-grandfather William and my great-grandfather William were born, I did go through Stirlingshire where my great-grandmother Jane came from and explored Stirling Castle.

How strange I passed through the area where my great-great-grandmother Jane Lennie was born without knowing that part of our family heritage.

Now I know why I’ve always loved Scotland – the music, the dancing and the landscapes – and feel at home there. I was fortunate to return to Scotland for a brief visit in 2019 with my sister Karen, who is also a Scottish country dancer. We’ll be back again one day to visit the land of our forebears.

With my sister Karen in North Queensferry across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh in May 2019 with the Forth Bridge behind us.

from Loralee Hyde
15 April 2020

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