At long last…

At long last…

When you haven’t posted on the blog you love for over a year, you have to think you are the only one in cyberspace who will be reading it ever again.  Maybe I will just be talking to myself.  Nevertheless, it is time to share my sweet journey home again…

This past year has been wonderful.  And extremely busy!  I married the love of the last years of my life on May 24, 2015.  For the sweet ceremony held at our home, we were surrounded by children and grandchildren and Doug’s mom.  Afterwards, we had the reception, buffet dinner and dancing at the clubhouse at his mom’s condo celebrating with more family and friends.  For the most part, it was the grandchildren and us dancing – but it was fun.  It was a blessed time and one we will remember for the rest of our lives.

We have spent a lot of time this past year decorating the townhouse.  Doug finished the downstairs with a family room/office, guest bedroom and guest bath.  It added another 850 square feet.  In the future, I will post photographs of what we have done with the townhouse.

This past year has also involved a lot of traveling!  We have been to the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, Holland, Belgium, England, Ireland and Scotland!  The month-long-trip to the United Kingdom, Belgium and Holland was a dream come true.  I knew I would love Scotland and Ireland…and I did.  It felt like home!  I have spent so much time this past year working on family history – mine and Doug’s!  The future holds a trip to Germany where Doug’s ancestors originated.  We look forward to that as well as returning to Scotland and Ireland.  I am getting close to finding Rev. William McGregor’s birthplace and I’d like to see it in person next time!

Below are a few scenes from our month long adventure….the first installment of a few more to come.

Sitting on the top deck of a double decker bus in London.



Doug got up at 6:30 a.m. to capture the stillness of the water in the canals.  By 8:00 a.m. it is crowded!  Brugge, Belgium.



The canals of Brugge, Belgium at 6:30 a.m.!


On top of the world of London, England, aboard The London Eye!



DOUG climbed all the way to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London!!!



The semi-circular gray/white building was our hotel in Ghent, Belgium. We asked for a room in the “attic” so that we would have an amazing view of the castle just across the street (out of the pic at right). It was wonderful!


Dianne and Doug enjoying the tulips in Holland.

Doug’s grower/exporter friend Piet in Holland entertained us for the day and took us on an up close and personal tour of his part of Holland. The tulips were breathtaking! Thanks, Piet!



My GGGG-Grandfather & the Scottish Referendum…

My GGGG-Grandfather & the Scottish Referendum…

Yesterday was a huge day in Scottish history.  With a fairly close vote, the citizens of Scotland made the historic decision to remain part of the United Kingdom.  No doubt, you were reading about it and following along, as I was, as the votes rolled in.

The McGregor Crest: “Royal is my race”.

My GGGG-Grandfather, Rev. William McGregor, was born about 1732 in Scotland in what our family history legend refers to as “Ossian’s Glen”.  The closest thing that I can find after many years of research is called Glen Coe, supposedly the birthplace of Ossian.  You can read more about the history of it here.  Some of my fellow McGregor descendants believe that our immigrant ancestor William McGregor was born in Perth, but I do not.  At that time in history, the Clan McGregor dwelled in the highlands of Scotland.  They were also a warring clan – defending their rights and property from the likes of the Clan Campbell and others.  The McGregors have a long history of enduring, persevering and overcoming – even to the point of having the use of their name proscribed or prohibited.  It’s a long, involved history and one I am still working on after all these years.

If William McGregor’s father fought in the 1745 to 1746 Jacobite uprising, William would have just been a boy so it’s doubtful that he would have been called upon to fight.   One immigration record indicates that a William McGregor arrived in North Carolina in 1745.  If he had been born in 1732, he would have been just a teenage boy.  Did he accompany his parents?  We know from tracing the ancestors from the present backwards, that our William McGregor became a Baptist preacher who settled in Montgomery County, North Carolina.  I’ve studied the papers from his work as a Baptist preacher which are housed at Wake Forest University.   I’ve been to his home which has been restored because he sold the house and the land to the first physician in North Carolina.  I’ve seen his ancient grave marker as well as the new one which has been placed there.  I want to know more but there are obstacles.  I’ve been to the County Courthouses in North Carolina only to find out that most records burned during the Revolutionary War and/or the Civil War.

As each vote was being cast in answer to the question at the poll:  “Do you want to remain a part of the United Kingdom?”, I wondered what my highland McGregor ancestors would have had to say about it.  Especially after the Battle of Culloden.  Granted, it has been 300+ years and life is calmer in the highlands now.  Still, I wonder.  I have a pretty good idea though!

My goal for the Iowa blizzards this winter is to continue working on this family history…and finally getting the story written!



Above:  Rev. William McGregor’s rebuilt home in Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County, North Carolina.


The McGregor Tartan.


I’ve also written about my McGregor ancestor in an earlier post.

If you’re wondering how he could “only” be my GGGG-grandparent with being born circa 1732, it’s because I am the youngest of 4 daughters, born to the youngest of seven children.  Previous grandfathers were also close to being the youngest in each family.

A taste of Scotland…

A taste of Scotland…

If you’ve been following my blog since the early days of My Southern Heart, then you know it is my dream to visit the British Isles…especially Scotland and Ireland.  My original ancestor, Rev. William McGregor, was a Baptist preacher in Scotland – rare in those days!  I enjoy pursuing the answers to the mysteries about our Scottish ancestors.  Mama’s ancestors were Irish and I’m also on the trail of those early immigrants!  (Most of them were here before the American Revolution which makes finding them in Scotland and Ireland especially difficult.)
Since it doesn’t appear that I will be setting foot in Scotland any time soon, I have started a small collection of Scottish mugs.  It started with one mug, of course, as most collections do.  They are made by Dunoon Mugs in Scotland.  (The only mug made by Dunoon Mugs in England is the one with the cat.)  The mugs I’ve collected so far are either fine bone china or stoneware and have very comfortable handles.  Suprisingly, beverages stay hot in them rather a long time.
I especially like the mugs depicting pastoral scenes in Scotland as this mug does.
Of course, no afternoon cup of tea in Scotland – or Ireland for that matter – would be complete without a delicious scone to accompany it!  Like the one below that I wrote about here with recipe.
I do have a confession though.  
The mugs may have come from Scotland, but the tea came straight from IRELAND!  
Check out the brief slideshow below to see all seven of the mugs I’ve collected so far.

A mystery in Scotland…

A mystery in Scotland…

I wonder if the same thing that makes me wish I’d been an FBI agent is the same deep thing that makes me love a mystery?  Finding clues, sorting them out and solving a mystery is more than just a challenge – it’s actually intriguing.  This time, I’m talking about searching out clues in my family history.  Years ago, my late sister Dot had the dream of finding our ancestors.  I joined her in the exciting search.  It didn’t take a whole lot of imagination to know that with the last name of McGregor, our ancestors had come from Scotland.

We began the journey back through the years and enlisted the help of our other two sisters.  The four of us traveled to the archives of Mississippi and various other libraries.  We wrote many letters requesting information from archives in several states.  Amidst the laughter on each trip we’d take, we discovered answers – in birth records, death records, marriage records, old newspaper clippings and family Bibles.  You would have thought we’d won the lottery when we “proved” a date or name.  There are three large rubbermaid containers stacked next to my chest in my bedroom…filled with several years worth of hard work.  I purposely did not put them in the storeroom for a good reason:  they’re there to remind me that I must finish this family history.  When the snow starts to fall in a few months, I will rejoin and begin the journey back through time once again.

Several years ago, my husband and I were traveling through North Carolina where my immigrant ancestor, Rev. William McGregor, had lived almost 300 years ago now.  There at the foot of Fall Mountain, he built a homestead – complete with a sturdy log house and outbuildings.  He established a large apple orchard.  He “preached in the meeting houses of America”…which had been his reason for coming to America in the first place.   He sold his home and land to Dr. Kron, the first physician of North Carolina.  The house has been rebuilt as an exact replica and is in Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County, North Carolina. 

It was somehow humbling, yet awe-inspiring, to stand on the land of my ancestor, a Baptist preacher from Scotland (there weren’t a lot of Baptists in Scotland at that time).   I stood on the porch of his home and wondered where the answers lie.  So many of the actual records burned in fires over the years according to the archives there in Stanly County.  There are hundreds of his descendants who are searching – as I am.  Supposedly, Rev. William McGregor was born in Ossian’s Glen, Scotland.  Other records indicate he came from the Isle of Skye. 

The mystery lies in Scotland but there is much to prove here first.  This is just part of the mystery that I will be working on this Winter, when the snow begins to fall…


Below:  The front of Rev. William McGregor’s house in Morrow Mountain State Park, Stanly County, NC…




Below:  The  back of Rev. William McGregor’s log house in Stanly County, NC 



 Below:  The back door of Rev. William McGregor’s house…wmmcgregor3

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