Hello Jill. Greetings from Margaret Stebbing  in Melbourne Australia.

I have been following your videos and interviews for some time now, and I just want to add my support to your work in keeping Doric traditions and language alive. I think the way you have responded to the challenges of living through this pandemic is helpful to us all.  It is a great opportunity to slow down and see the beauty in the natural world and the everyday things all around us, to be really appreciative of our culture and achievements. 

Why am I interested in all this? Retirement has given me an opportunity to visit my family history and appreciate my Scottish and English heritage. I have a family heritage in the Cruden Bay, Slains, Peterhead.Aberdeen area.  In 2018 I visited Aberdeenshire as part of a personal tour of England and Scotland to visit all the places my forefathers came from, to understand their history, to learn about the cultures that shaped my life. Who knew that my mother’s handed down recipe for smoked fish soup was a version of cullen skink. When I visited Shetland I was told I must have family connections there because I have a really fair complexion and “selkie” hair, fine as Shetland lace. 

My great great grandfather Alexander Butters was born in Peterhead in 1830 into a family of Master seamen,leather traders, herring fishermen, small businessmen and fine craftsmen (the family names Butters, King, Bruce, Sangster, Cordiner, Sellar). Alexander’s grandfather Alexander King, a shoemaker, was born in Cruden. We knew little of Alexander’s early life as his arrival in Australia in 1854 during the heady goldrush times was contentious. There is some evidence he deserted the Merchant Navy, served some time on a hulk prison ship, but eventually made his way to the Victorian Goldfields. He was later joined by his two brothers and together they made a modest living using their seaman skills to rig poppet heads on goldmines and installing their custom built machinery.  Through the miracle of DNA testing I have discovered cousins from this family line  in all parts of the world.

So please do keep populating my facebook inbox with your wonderful stories and videos, they are so inspiring.


Margaret Stebbing

Melbourne, Australia

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