Mapping: people & place

My maternal granny’s family have lived and worked around what was known as Forfarshire (now Angus and Dundee) for multiple generations. They, and other members of the wider family tree, have had occupations involved with the weaving trade for as long as records exist (and likely before then).

Many generations of the family have lived and worked in Kirriemuir, famously known as the birthplace of JM Barrie (and Bon Scott). Barrie authored Peter Pan as well as other works based in Kirriemuir, which he renamed Thrums in reference to the strong weaving tradition in Kirriemuir. Thrums are “any of the unwoven ends of warp thread remaining on the loom when the web has been removed”, “such ends of thread collectively” or “a fringe or tassel of short unwoven threads” (Collins Dictionary).

Barrie’s family were also weavers, and they lived close to the Tillyloss area of Kirriemuir at the same time as my ancestors were living there. His birthplace there can still be visited.

The weavers of Kirriemuir often made it into Barrie’s stories, notably the Tillyloss weavers, who – it would seem – were not to be messed with…

Men nearly naked ran past Gavin, seeking to escape from Thrums by the fields he had descended. When he shouted to them they only ran faster. A Tillyloss weaver whom he tried to stop struck him savagely and sped past to the square.

From “The Little Minister” by JM Barrie, published 1891

Find out more about my weaving ancestors, where they lived and when in the interactive map and digital exhibition below. Clicking any of the links will take you to an external site (Mapotic) where you can view redacted certificates for individual family members from national and family records.

Limited location info is shown here for mum and me, for obvious reasons. And census records from 1921 onwards are legally locked for 100 years. (I’m excited for 1921 records being released later in 2022!) Enjoy looking through copies of certificates from national records and family records for forebears no longer with us.

Currently, the information shown focuses on the maternal line from the Powerhouses project.

The digital exhibition includes links back to this website to find out more about the work and explorations showcased. It is hosted by an external site, FrameVR. The space can be explored without creating an account but an account provides more functionality.

The map image at top of page and those within the digital exhibition are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.