Walking Down the Aisle in the Footsteps of My Scottish Grandparents
Perhaps you can relate to the sentimental journey I took with my husband to Scotland. This journey had a great deal of symbolic meaning to me.
The wedding of Robert Dunn and Margaret Mackie, my fraternal grandparents were married on June 19, 1882, at the Liberton Kirk church just south of Edinburgh, Scotland. We just happened to visit at a time when this ancient church was celebrating its 200th anniversary!
Upon arrival, we introduced ourselves to two lady parishioners, who took to our story right away. They were eager to hear about our family history connected to their church. We were also interested in learning more about the history of Liberton-Kirk, the Church of Scotland.
This is a very old church, founded in 1143. The present building was constructed in 1815. Liberton Kirk has a wealth of genealogy records from as far back as 1630, including Baptismal, Marriage, Death, War Service, 1693 Poll Tax, and Census Records of 1841-51-61-71 and 1881, all of which are available for viewing.
Soon they took us to see the archives to see a photo of the minister who married my grandparents way back when. So interesting to see the face of the person who married them.
Then, arm and arm with my husband, we walked slowly down the center aisle towards the altar just like my grandparents had done all those years ago. In my mind’s eye, I could “see” my grandmother in her old-fashioned lace wedding dress carrying a bouquet of wildflowers, as she looked forward, meeting the eyes of the love of her life.
There it was… the antique organ that most likely played beautiful hymns during my grandparent’s long-ago wedding ceremony.
Soon after Robert and Margaret were married, they migrated to the United States. Settling in Ventura County, California which was where they purchased a large farm. My beloved father was born there many years later.
Unfortunately, I know little about this farm, its exact location, or when it was sold.
Contiguous to this church is a graveyard with over two hundred gravestones dating back to 1855. For some reason, I find it fascinating to look at these ancient stones and the dates and messages written on them. My husband and I looked for people buried there with my grandparent’s last name, but we did not find any. We did discover tombstones with names of people bearing my father’s two middle names, Balfour and Mackie.
Before departing Liberton Kirk, the lady parishioners asked us to have high tea with them. We were delighted to do so. During tea, they talked on and on about the history and their devotion and dedication to this church. This was a lovely chance to learn more about where my grandparents were married all those years ago.
Looking back…there is great joy recalling and sharing this experience with you Walking in the exact footsteps of my grandparents when they married so long ago gave me a connection that was powerful. There is something extra special about having a chance to play a part in one’s family history.
How about sharing your stories about special sentimental journeys you have taken with your parents or grandparents?