A Man’s Place

There’s a lot of talk today about identity: gender identity, sexual identity, national identity. Identity strikes at the heart of who we feel we are, but it is also shaped by the mores of the day, so it’s possible to study it historically.

Alexander Forbes from Rogart clearly had a strong Christian identity. Photo: Elizabeth Ritchie.

A few avid followers of this blog might vaguely recall a couple of posts on gravestones and how they could be used to think about people’s identity. Well, out of that research I wrote a much longer piece for ‘Genealogy’ journal on how places helped to form a man’s sense of identity in the nineteenth century.

One type of place-based identities I discuss is an identity which is bound up in the British Empire. A superb example here of a family from Golspie Tower who relocated and developed strong identities grounded in Canada West (now Ontario), Yorkshire and Australia. These were the key things that Donald and George Sutherland wanted noted about them and their sister on the gravestone which they paid for. Photo: Elizabeth Ritchie.

The article just got published this past week so I enclose a link here for anyone who might be interested. Feel free to skip the literature review and methodology (or indeed any other part!) There are a good few examples from Dornoch, Golspie, Rogart, Ardgay, Tain and surrounds. It has been great fun justifying my enjoyment of wandering around graveyards while trying to figure out something about what went on in the minds and hearts of people from a very long time ago.

Here’s the link: https://www.mdpi.com/2313-5778/4/4/97

Who can resist a wander around a graveyard on a sunny evening? Creich, with the Dornoch Firth in the background. Photo: Elizabeth Ritchie.

Can anyone identify the graveyard in the header – at the top of this post?

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