Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
For 64 years, North Carolina has held its annual Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain. Unfortunately, this year was much different. As we all know, COVID-19 affected the world in a major way. It caused businesses to shut down, flights to be canceled, and people to stay home. This included the Grandfather Highland Games. For the safety of workers, societies, and clans attending the games, it was decided to be canceled. But, this did not stop us from showing our clan pride!
Every year at the games each clan announces their presence in front of all the clans gathered. It was an old Scottish tradition done by the Chiefs of the clans at gatherings for war. This year, the Clan Baird could take part with Commander Richard Holman-Baird to represent us. For the first time in over 300 years, we had a leader to represent us. Yet, as we all know, this was unable to happen. But the Clan Baird is strong, and our unity is like no other. Despite this global pandemic, Clan Baird decided to go through with this ancient tradition. Commander Richard Holman-Baird and Branton Baird, Liaison to the Commander, created a video portraying this unique part of our heritage. Enjoy this short clip!
Saturday, June 27, 2020
A research note by Malcolm Baird, 8 July 2019
I have been re-examining the colourful story of John Logie Baird’s (JLB’s) jam factory in Trinidad in 1919-1920 . It has appeared in his own memoirs  and in later biographies [2,3]. Before leaving Scotland he obtained a British passport dated 18 September 1919; see his picture and signature below.
Some new information has come up about his outwards trip in 1919, 100 years ago.
JLB suffered from bad colds and breathing problems while running his “Baird Undersock” business in Glasgow. He was persuaded to move to Trinidad by Godfrey Harris who had been his neighbour in Helensburgh and a fellow-student in Glasgow before the war. Harris had moved to New York and he sent glowing accounts of the business opportunities in Trinidad. Jam could be made from the abundant and cheap fruit and shipped to Britain where it was in short supply and very highly priced in the shops. Here is an extract taken from p.33 of his published memoirs :.
“I was full of optimism and I set out blithely for the West Indies, taking a cheap passage in a cargo boat so as to keep as much as possible of my capital intact. ... I arrived in Port of Spain after three very unpleasant weeks in a heaving cargo boat.”
This was not the whole story. According to my mother’s memoirs , in about 1917 JLB had met a girl to whom he became deeply attached.
“His health was so poor that marriage was out of the question, and one of the reasons for going to Trinidad was that a warm climate might cure him. What he hoped for was a return to Glasgow with his health restored and his position in business assured. He came back with neither and found that while he was away the girl had married.”
Recent research has established that the girl was Alice Bain (1890-1971), about whom I have written a detailed article . She married another man on 24 September 1920, shortly before JLB’s return from Trinidad.
JLB’s outward travel arrangements in 1919 were somewhat confused. Having obtained his passport on 18 September, he booked passage on the liner “Columbia” due to sail from Glasgow to New York on 22 November. He may have intended to meet Godfrey Harris in New York before travelling on to Trinidad. However, JLB suddenly cancelled his booking on the “Columbia” and instead sailed on the freighter “Novian” (6400 tons) departing from Liverpool on 27 November to various ports in what was then called the British West Indies. This was the unpleasant “heaving cargo boat” referred to in his memoirs above.
The reason for JLB’s abrupt change of booking is not known. It could be that his arrangement to meet Harris in New York fell through at the last minute, or it could simply be the financial saving on the fare. Last but not least was the possibility that JLB had a sudden health problem, such as a chill, and was forced to change his booking at short notice.
It is believed that JLB arrived in Port of Spain in mid December 1919. Earlier in the month there had been serious riots in Trinidad and Tobago, arising from trouble with the stevedores at Port of Spain. At the Governor’s request a troop of marines was landed from a British ship to quell the unrest and there had been two fatalities. This was reported in The Times of 15 December 1919 but, surprisingly, not in JLB’s memoirs. His scribbled notes show that he was obsessed with the business at hand, namely jam-making . There is nothing in his notes to support a recent claim  that he developed television while he was in Trinidad.
I am very grateful to Donald McLean for providing details of JLB’s cancellation of his “Columbia” booking and his booking on the “Novian”.
 John Logie Baird, Television and Me (1941 memoirs). Mercat Press (now Birlinn), Edinburgh, 2004.
[2} Margaret Baird, Television Baird. Haum Publishing, Cape Town, 1973.
 Antony Kamm and Malcolm Baird, John Logie Baird, a Life. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2002.
 Trinidad Express, “Santa Cruz, home of the first TV”, 29 April 2012.
Friday, June 26, 2020
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
On the shield of the Coat of Arms of the James Baird of Auchmedden, there appears a golden boar on a red background. This boar motif or charge, in heraldic terms, is common in almost all coat of arms held by those with the surname Baird. This Lord Lyon has continued this practice by granting new arms to those with the surname Baird with differenced arms, or slightly altered, yet maintaining the original boar.
It is often stated that this charge is in relation to a Baird ancestor saving a King from a boar. This story is not unique to the Bairds. Saving the King from a Boar is a common theme to Campbells, Turnbulls, and Swintons. Several non Scottish Kings have been claimed in similar stories such as Henry VIII in Sutton Coldfield and Charglemagne who both have been claimed to be rescued by a charging boar.
For the Bairds, the boar passant has held a place in the arms of Baird since the late 15th century, if not earlier. The Slains Armorial of 1565 lists Bairds of Posso as having Boar statant on a green field beneath three mullets in the chief. It, the boar, can be seen on George Baird of Auchmedden’s tomb as well. Finally, the 1857 edition of the William Baird of Auchmedden’s manuscript, the arms of William Baird, George Baird, Walter Baird, and Andrew Baird, all showing the same motif.
The 1857 edition, considered to be the closest to the original manuscript, William Baird of Auchmedden gave the origin of this charge as:
King William the Lion was hunting in one of the south-west counties of Scotland, and happened to straggle from his attendants, he was alarmed at the approach of a wild bear, and cried for help ; upon which a gentleman, of the name of Baird, who had followed the King from England, ran up and had the good fortune to kill the bear, for which signal service the King made a considerable addition to the lands he had given him before, and assigned him for his coat-of-arms a bear passant, and for his motto, Dominus Fecit and, if it will contribute to the credibility of this story, one foot of the bear came north with Ordinhnivas' ancestor, and is still preserved, and indeed it well deserves it, because of the enormous size, being fourteen inches long and nine broad, where it is cut from the ankle.
W N Fraser, the editor and most likely the person who transcribed this document from the original manuscript, claimed “this curious relique is in my possession.” In 1847, relying heavily on the a forthcoming manuscript, The Scottish Journal of Topography, antiquities,traditions, &c. &c. No 16 states confirms the story of a Bear and further states that the a bear did attack William the Lion in a forest in the “south-west counties.” The authors of the article claim to have also viewed the actual paw claiming they had “seen this interesting relic….” It further states that a Boar was granted by William the Lion as it was considered “the most honorable of armorial bearings…” although it was bear that was killed.
Unfortunately, especially for Disney and their movie Brave, bears appear to have been extinct well before this event occurred throughout Britain. Bears are listed in the 1880 book British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times by James E Harting. He gives the final extinction around 1000 AD. He also gives an explanation around laws regarding bear hunting in England in the 14th century refuting statements that Bears existed naturally into 14th century. Furthmore, Harting refutes the Gordon family claim that the for killing Bear, the Gordons were granted three bears on their Pennant. Harting claimed that the original latin was an “immanem aprum” or a boar.
However this doesn’t mean that bears were not imported for hunting purposes. Bears were imported according to Harting for the purposes for Bear Baiting. He quotes Fitz Stephen that during the reign of Henry II, during the time William the Lion was a prisoner in England, it was customary to watch “Boars opposed to each other in battle, or with Bulls and full-grown Bears baited by dogs.” These shows continued to the 17th century so much so that the position Master of the Bears was created.
Recently, the Clan Baird Society received the genealogical life work of Capt R.S. Baird. The works spans a fifty year period and includes all of the notes. This is invaluable for clan history and the society. Below is a an account of all of the items in the box.
A private printing of the book Baird of Gartsherrie (1875) in a red binder.
-This appears to be photostatic copy. No date given when this was reprinted.-
The Name and Family of Baird printed by Roots Research Bureau, Ltd. (1984)
-Contains a list of Bairds that immigrated to the United States including bibliography in the same red folder-
Black Folder ( No Name)
Xerox hand written descendants of Thomas Baird and Helen Muirhead
Xerox hand written descendants of James Baird and Mary Frosart(?)
Xerox hand written descendants of William Baird and Janet Forrest
Xerox of Baird of Auchmedden and their descendants with handwritten notes of wives and children
Partial letter from R.S. Baird on books researched on Nova Scotian and Canadian Bairds
Death Record from City of New York for Elizabeth Baird died 1863
Death Record from City of New York for David Baird died 1860
Letter from Saint John Branch New Brunswick Genealogical Society (1984)
-contains a list of Bairds in New Brunswick in in the earl 1800's and contains handwritten notes in three colors on the back-
Census Saint John Census of 1851
Letter from Waterside Farm on Bairds who immigrated to New Brunswick
-Handwritten notes attempting to show descent from the Bairds of Auchmedden-
Letter to Sarah Thorne R S Baird asking to investigate a link between the Bairds of Auchmedden and the New Brunswick Bairds
Letter to RS Baird acknowledging receipt of the letter
Cemetery records on the Property of Otis Bostwick, Wickham, NB containing Baird graves
Letter to R S Baird detailing the areas searched
-Not a lot of success but she sent word of the Earl of Kintore.-
Letter to Sarah Thorne regarding thoughts
Letter to Sarah Thorne regarding thoughts on research
28 letters of correspondence regarding the search for Bairds in NB.
Copy of the Baird and Beard Familes of Fermie Baird Catchings
Copy of Bairds in the North of Scotland by Niall Baird (Palmers Cross, 1990)
-contains a bio of the famous Baird families and the Armorial bearing for each. Includes photos and armorial bearings for 5 Baird familes.-
Copy of Scots Magazine on William Baird o Auchmedden
Copy of the Book The Bairds of Auchmedden and Strichen
Copy of Civil War Times Illustrated with and Artivle on Major General Absalom Baird
Copy of Genealogical Collections concerning the Sirname of Baird
Red Seilhamer Folder
Copy of The Bard Family
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