Visiting My Ancestral Homelands (Part 1)

I have just returned from two weeks away in Scotland and Ireland, my ancestral homelands.

But first, I should point out that this was not a ‘genealogy trip.’ I did not go to Scotland and Ireland with the intent of conducting any research. Rather, the purpose of the trip was to visit family and friends.

The trip to Scotland was primarily a chance to visit with my youngest daughter, Jenna, who is completing her Masters degree at the University of Aberdeen. It just so happens that Aberdeen is that part of Scotland that my Hadden ancestors lived in for many generations before my great-grandfather, Alexander Shand Hadden, moved his family that included my grandfather John Gaull Hadden to Canada.

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My wife Ellen is greeted by Jenna Hadden at the Aberdeen International Airport on April 27, 2015

The trip to Ireland, Dublin specifically, was to visit friends, former neighbours, who had moved back to Ireland after many years living in Canada.

Those purposes were met and the expectations of them exceeded. And admittedly, I did sneak in a little bit of genealogy. In fact, I was encouraged to do more genealogy related research activities but resisted.

Genealogy for me is more than records and documents. It includes experience and the senses. It was enough for me to walk where my ancestors walked, to see the views that they saw, to touch what they touched and smell what they smelled. I can feel somewhat more connected to them having that shared experience.

Our trip did not get off to good start with flight delays on top of flight delays, rescheduled connecting flights that were rescheduled once again from unplanned destinations. Eventually, through the layers of security checks and passport checks and customs questions, we did arrive in Aberdeen, Scotland. And the look of joy and excitement on my daughter’s face at the airport made the journey worth while.

Over the next few posts, I will share some of the sights and highlights of journeying back to my ancestral homelands.

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