My name is Gary, and I live in West Lothian near Linlithgow with my partner Sasha.
I first became interested in our family name on a visit to Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire when I was a child to visit my late ‘great’ Aunt Jean. We were walking by the Strid, a notorious little killer stream where a future King of Scotland once drowned. As we walked the dogs she told me of a great grandfather who had ran off to America and had a bridge named after him. This intriguing story left a lasting impression on me and led me years later to find out about James Paull Allanach and his forefathers and explore the fascinating world of Donside from where the Allanachs came.
This includes not only stories about the Allanachs themselves but their fellow Glensfolk. For such ‘remote’ Glens with relatively small populations numbering just in the dozens today, Glen Nochty and Glenbuchat have punched well above their weight in terms of culture, music and historical appeal. One such example is the ‘Glenbuchat Ballads‘ which were collated from the songs sung by locals in Glen Nochty and Glenbuchat by the Reverend Robert Scott around 1818. Versions of some ballads have been recorded by people as wide-ranging as Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead!
The Allanach story is an ever-evolving one as more documents come online. I have met some amazing relatives I did not know existed in the course of my explorations, and if you are passing through Edinburgh, I am more than happy to meet up for a pint or two!
My documented lineage
Finally – the Bonnie Lass of Fyvie – one of the songs featured in the Glenbuchat Ballads, covered by Bob Dylan, and here by Iona Fyfe.