Post 720: going native…

My Grandmother McKenzie came from East Kilbride, Scotland. Though it is difficult thinking of her as young, these two post cards, sent to her by a sister, are from that time Gram was a woman of 21 and 22. The scenes would have been typical and familiar to her in early 20th Century Scotland, and their messages are the day-to-day things a couple of sisters might write each other to keep in touch.

old postcards

Gram came from a large family of mostly girls. Eleven kids, I think it was, and only one was a boy. I’m sure he wasn’t spoiled rotten! 

Her entire family first came to America in the early 1890s but returned after a short stay when the economy tanked. They’d sail back to America again shortly after these postcards were written. Unfortunately, anyone who can verify specific details is dead, so keep that in mind when you try to compile your own family histories.

The family landed in Nova Scotia. My Gram and her parents moved to Denver, Colorado on the urging of Margaret, her sister, who’d already moved there. Most of the rest of the family moved to Colorado as well, and my mother was born in Denver.

Oh, yeah, “in the meantime, prior to that”: I should mention that my Grandfather  McKenzie and my Grandmother McKenzie met at a Scottish picnic in Denver by some accounts or Nova Scotia by others. Importantly, though, they did meet, then they married after Grampa secured employment with the railroad in Western Nebraska-Wyoming-South Dakota. 

Before that, however, two of the sisters went out of their way to reassure relatives back in Scotland that they hadn’t been affected by the move to the New World, that they were still the same lovely girls the family remembered. They had this photo taken and made into a post card:


 Remembering Gram and her family members I did meet, though, they had wonderful senses of humor so I’m sure the family in Scotland thought it was a hoot! (Or, at least, they hoped it was a joke! 🙂 ) 

39 thoughts on “Post 720: going native…

  1. Oh my gosh! My paternal grandparents were both from Scotland (Edinburgh area). My grandmother’s handwriting looks almost identical to the postcard! It must have been some kind of standardized system. She used to correspond with her sisters and other relatives. When I was little, she read me one of the letters she’d received. It started out with what they had for breakfast and went through the day. Grandma laughed and said that it was a “real, old-fashioned” letter.

    • My Grandmother used to write a cousin who sent single page letters so closely written that they were barely readable…but able to post at the lowest international rate! (Some myths about Scots may be true.)

    • How true! What I find compelling is how personality traits seem to pass through the generations. The quirky sense of humor, for example, seems to be one such thing. I remember the first time I saw a picture of my Great Grandmother on my Dad’s side. I knew her name, but was unaware there were any photos of her. At first, I thought I was looking at my Grandmother’s photo, then the 19th Century clothes gave it away. When I read the caption, I gasped: My Grandmother at the same age looked virtually identical!

  2. Love the pics! I wonder why everyone during that era, who had a photograph taken, ended up looking like a porcelain doll? My mom’s family was from Ireland and my dad’s from Germany and a bit of dutch mixed in there. It is fun to see where your family began. You already know that they were made of tough stuff in order to survive the immigration, settlement, and then thriving. I love connecting the dots. Thanks for sharing a piece of your history!

    • That’s an interesting observation, but it is true. It may relate to the amount of make up (or lack of make up) women wore back then and the fact they tended to stay out of the sun or protect themselves from the sun. Of course, Scottish girls didn’t know what the sun was till they moved to America! Ha! 😮 (So my Grandma might have noted!)

      • I wish I had the opportunity with my grandparents, but save for my maternal Grandparents, the passed away before I was born, and then my maternal grandfather died when I was 6, and Grandma, was in a different country so our time was little together, but what we did spend together was precious!

        • In my family’s instance (both maternal and paternal sides), most people lived out of state and I saw them very infrequently. I wrote some, saw others periodically, but never truly learned as much about any part of the family as I’d like.

  3. What a wonderful story of family history. I have still not been to Nova Scotia, but I am told that it is a nice place to be, and people are friendly. I love looking at the photos of the places.

    • I especially like the revolver. Of course, when they first arrived in Denver, it was a bit wild, so….maybe they told a good story to those they sent the card to go along with the photo, too!

    • Me, too! I think it might have been a bit scandalous to be the one dressed in cowboy clothes,, but I have little doubt that just made it more fun to show the photo around to the good people of East Kilbridge…!

  4. I enjoyed reading your family story. I think I would have enjoyed knowing them. My husband has both Campbells and Stewarts in his blood along with a heavy dose of English. My family has Welsh, English, Irish and French. The Portuguese once asked me where I came from and when I told them they said I was a mixture of races.

    • As the youngest child in my immediate family, I missed out on meeting a lot of the people in these photos and l;earning first hand their stories. Unfortunately, I have half-knowledge of most things. Too bad I didn’t become interested in these things until too late.

      • It’s wonderful to preserve all those fantastic stories throughout time. That’s not the case of my closest family! Fortunately my wife’s family share wonderful stories that go beyond imagination and seem almost unbelievable! I love such stories!

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