Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Press Release -Who Was The First Scot in New Brunswick?


EDITOR: This is the press release announcing the winner of the “Who Was The First Scot in New Brunswick contest”.  

Who Was The First Scot in New Brunswick? 

(Fredericton, NB – December 11, 2013) - The pioneering Scottish lumberman, shipbuilder and politician, William Davidson, was barely 25 years old when he settled near Miramichi in 1765. Davidson is generally credited with being the first Scot to settle in New Brunswick, but was there a Scot who came before him? The New Brunswick Scottish Portal Project launched the contest “Who Was the First Scot in New Brunswick?” on January 24, 2013 asking the help of the general public to answer that question. The contest ran from Robert Burns Day (January 25th) to Saint Andrew’s Day (November 30th). The person or persons who provided proof of an individual or family who moved from Scotland to New Brunswick prior to 1765 would receive either a $500 contest prize or a tablet.

On January 24tha press conference to announce the details of the contest and featuring the great-great-great-great-grandson of William Davidson, Mr. Brad Sturgeon of Fredericton, was held at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick in Fredericton. 

The Scottish Portal is an initiative of several Scottish cultural organizations in partnership with the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. The Portal will be a virtual showcase of the Scottish settlement and experience in New Brunswick and has been in development for more than two years.  

One of its major features will be a searchable database of the 1851 and 1861 census, focusing on Scottish-born immigrants to the province.  Other highlights include searchable land grants and teachers' petitions, passenger lists, family and community histories as well as publications, oral history interviews, and membership lists from the various Scottish organizations dating back to the settlement of the province in the late 1700s.

The advisory committee for the project received three entries for the contest from around New Brunswick. However the winner clearly was the submission received from Chris Robbins of Hanwell, New Brunswick.  Mr. Robbins submitted documentation proving that Andrew Forrester, a Scottish military officer connected with the settlement of New Scotland (1629-1632), located at Port Royal, came to the mouth of the Saint John River in 1632 capturing the French Fort there. Ever so briefly, Andrew Forrester was in what would become New Brunswick in 1632. With that entry from Mr. Robbins, William Davidson has been de-throned and Andrew Forrester now wears the crown as the first Scot to come to New Brunswick. To learn more about Scottish Portal project please visit

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For further information, please contact:
Dan Taylor
Chair, NB Scottish Portal Committee (506-470-2385 or

Koral LaVorgna
Project Manager, NB Scottish Web Portal (506-261-4744)

The New Brunswick Scottish Portal Project is a committee of the New Brunswick Scottish-Cultural Association. The committee is overseen by an advisory Board consisting of representatives from around the province. To learn more about the New Brunswick Scottish Portal Project please visit


Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall 2013 Portal Update

Who Was The First Scot in New Brunswick Contest-Update
We only have two weeks left before the "Who is the First Scot to New Brunswick?" contest comes to an end.  Depending on what we find from the entries (three to date) and the documentation  that accompanies the entries, William Davidson could very well be dethroned as the first Scottish settler to New Brunswick and in doing so will change history in New Brunswick.  The winning entry will receive either a tablet or $500.00 and a place in history and a special place in portal.   We here at the project are very excited to see outcome of this contest!

Project Update
 Well we are happy to report the project is 50% complete.  This means that Phase I and II are complete and the 1851 and 1861 census has been completed and now the data is just being verified for errors.  We were very fortunate to have three summer students this past summer who made considerable head way in the research for the project.  As a result it has brought the project back on schedule.

We also want to put out one last call for profiles of people from your family history you would highlighted in the portal.  All we need is the story and a picture of the person (if you have one).  We want the portal to tell the story of the everyday people.

Over the next few months the advisory committee will be turning its focus to the design of the actual portal and the narrative/story of the Scots who came to New Brunswick and their stories.  The narrative will once and for all show the province how Scottish immigrants impacted and shaped this province we know today. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

NB Scottish Portal Project-August 2013 Update

This update of the NB Scottish blog is taking a little different twist this time around and you will see why. Yesterday (August 15th) was Acadian Day in New Brunswick.  It is interesting to note Acadians as we know are what we call kissing cousins of the Scots, Irish, Cornish, Welsh and Manx.  The majority of Acadian descendants come from the Brittany area of France, and as we know Brittany is the Celtic part of France.  As a matter of fact Brittany and Wales have a lot in common.  We are all from the Celtic tree just different branches.

So from a Scottish organization or project we have not ill thoughts towards our Celtic cousins. As matter of fact, our hats go off to the group for their hard work and dedication to their cultural and language.  We could learn a lot from our cousins.

Acadian Day is always very interesting to analyze the reaction.  It is very interesting to watch how the politicians from all parties reacted to the day.  It was also interesting to see how the media reacted to the day.  It is even interesting see the Premier of the New Brunswick issue a statement for the day just like it was New Brunswick Day. 

When you compare days like Saint Andrew’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day or Saint David’s day to Acadian Day the provinces politicians don’t flock to those celebrations like they do for Acadian day.  On Facebook it was a steady stream of politicians updating their status to say they were on their way to a celebration close by.   So it is interesting to note that on Tartan Day which is a provincial declared day the people of Scottish descent don’t even get a special message from the Premier talking about how important our contributions are to the province.  I guess we have not contributed to our province!

Then if you take the NB Highland Games and Scottish Festival which is the official provincial Scottish gathering.   We are very lucky if we get a junior MLA let alone the Premier or a Minister. Oh and lets not just look at the politicians but let’s look at the people of Scottish descent.  There are people in the city of Fredericton who are of Scottish descent who can’t even brother to come down to the games and support the event.  Then there are the ones who walk by and stand there and listen because, and get this they would have to pay to get in!  But of course there are the extremely cheap ones who wait for  those few minutes just before the closing ceremony where they might get a deal and not pay full price to get in or if they are really lucky get in free.  They just think events like this just happen.    Do you see the differences, we are our own enemies.

Now let’s take a closer look at things.  Here are two pictures I would like for you to compare.  The first one is of the flag raising ceremony at Fredericton city hall last night (August 15, 2013) and the second picture is of the flag rising at Fredericton city hall on August 6th.   What a difference in crowds, support, excitement and attention.   We can’t even support our own events and celebrations!

Flag Raising Acadian Day August 15, 2013
Flag Raising Tartan Day April 6, 2013
Getting back to the purpose of this blog and that is to update you on what is going on with the portal. I will look at the support received for the NB Scottish Portal from the Scottish community in New Brunswick and the government as a whole.  From a government perspective it was like pulling teeth to get funding, although in the end the province did come through in the tune of $30,000.00.  Even the Feds came through with funding for a summer student.  But when you look at individual support received, well, let’s just it has been a little disappointing.  We have been able to raise almost $7000.00 from individuals throughout the province over a two year period and another $8,700.00 from the different Scottish groups. In some cases there are Scottish groups that have not given anything and others who have given thousands.   Then there is the society representative at the last Advisory committee who lets the committee know we can’t have anything in the Genealogy tent about the portal because it is not what the tent is for?????  I am still having a hard time to get my head around that one because the portal is a tool that will help people research their genealogy.  The best part the person when advising the committee was so sincere in their explanation.   Oh I almost forgot about the individual who would not renew their membership to the NBSCA because we asked government for assistance.  That person said he doesn’t believe in asking for hands out from government.  But yet that person has never donated to the portal.

It all boils down to one thing; we complain that our kissing cousins get all the money and attention.  But you know what; it is our fault because we are our own worst enemies.  We are a culture of complainers and winners.  We rather not support our own and complain about the others that support theirs. It takes so much less energy to do so and even less effort.     So there is our winning for the month and so with that said and although it is a day late doesn’t mean we don’t mean it.   Bonne FĂȘte des Acadiens! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Scottish Portal Update - Phase I

Portal Tasks Completed/Under Construction

Web Design (Look and Feel) - Ginger Design has been engaged to design the look and feel of the website. Images associated with each section need to be submitted in order to facilitate the design process. The design component will follow once more of the Portal “content” is ready.

1851  and 1861 Census- Has been completed and is awaiting for the New Brunswick Archives to upload data to the Portal.  The 1861 Census - This component, the essential Portal “content”, was expanded to include all available parishes and counties for 1861. All counties are being processed, with five of the smallest counties ready to submit to the PANB to be imported into the database.

Community Place Names – In total about 250 community place names have been extracted from the PANB database and is ready to upload to the portal. 

Planned Communities - The two communities, Kincardine and Stanley, are part of this section of Phase I. This will require only a link from the PANB website, with a page designed by Ginger Design.

Biographies - More than a dozen Biographies, representing different geographic areas of the Province, have already been submitted to the Portal Advisory Committee, with more on the way.

Education Resources - To make the Portal accessible to university and public school classrooms, an Education Resource section has been added to Phase I. There is already a game developed, with a number of resources and lesson plans under construction for the Portal.

Once again thanks to all those involved with the project either through financial donations, or volunteer/work efforts. The rest of the year is looking up and we hope to have more good news next update.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What A Difference Three Months Can Make- June 2013 update

In our last update in April we issued an urgent appeal to the general public for financial assistance because the NB Scottish Portal Project was in danger of coming to an abrupt due to  the lack of support from the general public and the different levels of government.  The committee was down in the dumps due to the fact that funds
were running out.  We were hitting brick walls when talking to government and in some cases government department  were giving us the runaround.  The last 12 months have been very frustrating to say the least.
2013 Appeal Update
Push the time ahead by 3 months and things have changed for the better.  We have received overwhelming support from the general public in providing us the necessary funds to keep going.  In the appeal launched in April we shared with everyone our target for 2013 was $8000.00 from the general public.  Since April we have raised $4000.00 and the money continues to arrive daily.  What outstanding support from our supporters from around the province.  We have 7 months to go to raise the remaining $4000.00 and reach our goal so keep it coming.  If we are able to keep this pace up we will have raised more than half the monies need to finish the project.    
Government Funding Update
We are also very happy to report that we have been successful in receiving a total of $20,000.00 in grants from the province of New Brunswick.  This is much needed monies that will help us completed Phase I and moved into Phase II.   We are still working with our representatives from the federal government to secure funding.  We are cautiously optimistic that funding will be found.
Summer Students
On top of receiving $20,000.00 from the province of New Brunswick.  We have also received approval of one student for 8 weeks through SEED.  We have also received funding through Young Canada Summer Jobs for a student for 10 weeks of employment.  On top of this we have also hired another a third student using our own funds for the summer.  That represents over 100 man hours towards the project! 
Major Project update
In the next few days we will be providing an over all updated on the project miles stones and what has been completed in Phase I and what has been started in Phase II.  This will be the first major status update since 2012, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Urgent Appeal Update

It is time to give a quick up date on how we are doing with our urgent appeal request that was issued last month.
Our goal is to raise $8000.00 from private donations over the next three to four weeks. The funds are needed to help the project continue.
 To date we have been able to raise $2000.00.  We thank everyone who has made a contribution towards this project.  As stated before there is no such thing as a small donation.  We have received donation as small as $3.00 and as large as $300.00.    However, as you can see we have  a little ways to go before we  reach our goal and to save the project.    We once again call upon everyone who is of Scottish descent to make a contribution to this important project. Can we count on you>?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

NB Scottish Web Portal Urgent Appeal to People of Scottish Descent

Dear Fellow supporter of all things Scottish; 

One in every six people in New Brunswick claim Scottish descent, making those of Scots heritage the fourth-largest cultural group in the province.  The Scots who came and settled here have been an integral part of the region’s history and development, but their story has never been told in its entirety – until now. 

The New Brunswick Scottish Portal is a planned online gateway to the history of all things Scottish in New Brunswick.  As a “virtual exhibit,” the New Brunswick Scottish Portal will encompass all the major themes of New Brunswick Scottish history, including such topics as immigration, settlements, censuses, land petitions and land grants, teacher petitions, passenger lists, biographies of individuals and families, cemetery transcriptions, and more.  Perhaps most importantly, however, this Portal project will include an Educational Resource that will allow New Brunswick teachers to have direct access to material for educational units and in-class projects, so that students will learn the story of our Scottish ancestors – a topic not often explored in the classroom due to lack of ready resources.

Already one year in the making, with three phases that will be completed over a three-to-four year period,  the New Brunswick Scottish Portal will once and for all tell the story of the Scots who came to New Brunswick and made the province what it is today.  Although every effort to tap federal and provincial funding will continue to be made, it has become very difficult to secure the necessary funding of $80,000 required to complete this project.   

This is an urgent appeal for financial support.  Without generous contributions from people like you, the New Brunswick Scottish Portal project simply will not exist.  If you believe it is important for us to tell the story of our past to our children and their children, then you must donate to this worthy cause.  Time is of the essence.  Every contribution – be it in the amount of $25, $50, or even $100 or more – will help ensure that the stories of our ancestors will not only survive, but continue to be told for generations to come. 

Please act now.  Spread the word of the New Brunswick Scottish Portal project to your friends and family, and respond as generously as you can.  The stories of our ancestors and the education of our children are relying on you.  Time for this project is simply running out.  It will die withoutfurther financial assistance. 

Thank you in advance for your generous support.  I look forward to hearing from you.  


Daniel Taylor,
New Brunswick Scottish Portal Advisory Committee


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 2013 update

 NB Scottish Portal Project-February 2013 update
For first time visitors to the Scottish Portal Project I encourage you to visit the Portal project centre  to learn about the project, what it is all about and what it means to you, your family and your ancestors.

Government Departments Discriminate Against Scottish Groups
We need to be proud of our heritage instead of hiding it!
We have had a very disappointing couple of weeks when it comes to Government Funding.  Over the last 6 to 8 months we have applied for different grants through both the provincial and federal governments only to be turned down.  In one case an application that was sent to ACOA where the criteria was not posted and it was at the discretion of the panel or committee reviewing the application who gets approved and who is turned down.  

Like this statue if we don't act we are going to left out in the cold!
What is unfair is how government spends millions of dollars to support the Francophone culture and heritage and pretty much nothing towards the Scottish heritage or for any culture for that matter.   Now please don’t get us wrong with what we are saying.  It is great that Francophone groups and community receives this kind of support and funding.  However the bottom line here is there has to be a better system where monies are equally distributed across all groups not to just one culture.   After all Heritage Canada wants Canadian’s to celebrate their history and past but it can’t be just one past and history.

We Need Your Help To Keep This Project Going!
As a result of the lack of government support, we have had to step up our fundraising initiatives again and turn to the general public and our supporters to carry Portal project through to the end.  To date we have raised a little over $30,000.00 out of the $80,000.00.  However, we are now running out of funds to keep the project going and we haven’t even finished Phase I.

So the urgency is there for help from the people of Scottish descent! If three hundred people (300) were to give us $25.00 each that would be $7500.00 that would help with Phase II.   If each person that is a member of a Scottish group in New Brunswick gave $25.00.  The project would have enough money to complete Phase II.  You can find out more about the project phases at the portal centre and if you would like to give to the Portal project you can do so by visiting the donation centre

New Brunswick's Scottish History Needs To Be Told
Without this project the story of the Scots who came to New Brunswick will never be shared with the world.  The Scots like many other immigrants who came to New Brunswick built this province through good times and bad times.  They worked very hard to make this province as wealthy as it was.  We owe it to the people who came before us to tell this story for future generations and to preserve this story.   History is important because if you don’t know about your past you certainly don’t have a future.   Look at the Scottish community map there were a lot of communities that were built by Scots.  Can we afford not to tell this story.