Sunday, January 25, 2009

My first Robbie Burns Day.

When your ancestors have been in Canada as long as mine have, it's easy to lose track of where you came from. In this way I'm actually a little envious of people who are more recent arrivals to our fine patchwork of a country — at least they can grab onto a place and identify with it.

I'd been under the impression that I was just a random British Isles mix; "blonde on blonde," to borrow a Dylan album title. White mixed with whiter, with a hint of so-white-you're-pink. However, a conversation this summer with my late grandmother shone a little light on just what type of Celtic roots I might have... apparently the part of the Kellogg clan which came over here to form part of my ancestry (and changed its name to Kelly to evade the authorities) were from the Isle of Skye, in the northeast of Scotland.

On the other side of the family — the part that my last name comes from — has been a little murkier in terms of roots, as my grandparents on that side were older, and my dad's dad died four years before I was born. And while my last name might be misconstrued as being Chinese, I assure you I'm not; it comes from an old northern English word.

The original Anglo-Saxon tribes that inhabited England were dark-haired, though. But after the middle of the 9th century, the north of England was pretty much taken over by fair-haired Danish vikings who barged in and said, "Alright, pricks, we're taking this over now." Since England's thrones hadn't united as of then, they didn't have much choice other than to draw a line and give the vikings everything north of it; it was either that or have the vikings come on south, a-whompin' and a-whompin' every living thing in sight. ('Cept the women-folk, o' course.)

From this, I've been able to piece together that I'm part-Scot and part-Danish (by way of England)... Celtic and Viking. There's a lot of other stuff in there, too — Anglo-Saxon, probably, and likely some Irish in there for good measure. As such, I've felt compelled today, this Robbie Burns day, to pour a little Scotch and contemplate the nature of haggis. Sure it's a pretty revolting dish, but...

...alright, I got nothin'. It's friggin' gross. The scotch, though, is something I could really get on board with.

5 comments:

Eve said...

I had planned on drinking a scotch, but by the time I realized it was RBD I already had a cider in front of me and some stats left to run. So I drank the cider and played Bubble Smasher.

Guess what my ancestry is? Campbell. Yes, that's right, I'm descended from Germans and the only Scots that were assholes.

JTL said...

How was Clan Campbell a bunch of assholes, exactly?

Kelly said...

Read up on the massacre at Glencoe.

JTL said...

Glencoe, Ontario? But that's where my lifelong dentist has his office... just a sleepy little farming town.

harrison said...

My mom's side of the family is from the Isle of Skye too. Although I think they eventually got kicked onto the mainland for stealing everyone's horses or something.