From the Registry, I went straight to a
Scotland Shop, a place that sells family tartans and crests. I said to
the shopkeeper: “My grandfather’s last name is Peter! Which is my family
tartan?” Her reply was direct, and authoritative, “MacGrRegorR TaRRtan!”
As I looked at things MacGregor, I remembered my sizable collection of
Mackenzie tartan ties at home, which I would now have to give away.
I called my older brother Joanasie in
Puvirnituq to tell him about my discoveries. Then, I celebrated my
accomplishments with a good haggis dinner. I also took an unhurried look
at each and every page of record, which I had obtained at the Registry.
It was as if to reassure myself that these were not figments of my
imagination. These had been real people, who had lived real lives, in
real places, here in this country. Furthermore, they were relatives!
Our grandfather had given life to our
mother, and through her, to us. These people were flesh and blood and
family. Now that I had the hard documentary evidence in my hands, it
didn’t seem to matter very much that we had never known each other all
our lives. It had taken a lot of determined detective work to get here.
Compared to that, I thought, simply tracking people down is going to be
easy. Such assumptions can be very wrong, however, as I was soon to
A great Grand Reunion in Scotland, perhaps
in the coming spring, weaved itself onto my mind as a possibility. With
children and grandchildren, there are around 70 or more in our clan.
Opposing tensions started seeping into every thought. Where will we get
the money needed to pull this off? On the other hand, who among
government agencies, Inuit organizations, and private sector companies,
won’t want to contribute to such a unique event? How will we keep
sensation-seeking media in check?
Who can help me search for our Uncle
William? One thought said, “There’s two or three people you can trust
who immediately come to mind.” Another said, “Why not hire one of those
ancestor research professionals widely available in Scotland?” Yet
another thought: “Be very careful not to violate your uncle’s privacy
with careless accidental publicity.” This was followed by: “Make sure
you get a good outfit to make the documentary!”
This intellectual roller coaster ride
lasted to the end of the day. But a new day had dawned in my quest to
know where my part-Scottish-ness had come from.