Newsletter

Newsletter no. 7 – September 2015

Scotland and the Flemish People

This is the seventh newsletter reporting on progress with the Scotland and the Flemish People project.

Concluding Conference

The planning for the international conference – that will take place on Thursday the 16th of June and Friday the 17th of June 2016 in St Andrews – is well under way. The search for sponsorship of the event has now been completed. We are grateful to the Government of Flanders, the P F Charitable Trust and the Wyfold Charitable Trust for their generosity in supporting the conference.

As noted in our blog dated the 15th of May, the conference will be open to the general public. It will be of interest to academic and local historians, family historians, genealogists, and genetic genealogists. There will be two tracks within the conference so that participants will be able to choose the sessions they want to attend.

A website that will handle registration for the conference is under construction at present and we will notify all readers of our newsletter and blog as soon as it is goes live. An organizer for the conference will shortly be appointed and announced.

Some key speakers have already been identified but there is still time for readers of this note to suggest topics that might usefully be addressed. Please let Alex Fleming (af87@st-andrews.ac.uk) know if you have ideas you would like to share with us.

The Fleming Family Charter Collection

As noted in our blog dated the 13th of March, a Mr. Eric Robinson made a donation to a Toronto library of 60 medieval Charters pertaining to the major Fleming family of Biggar and Cumbernauld. As evidenced by our later blog dated the 7th of May, these charters are already shedding new light on this fascinating medieval Fleming family. The Toronto library has now completed the digitisation of the charters and they will shortly be made available to researchers in the University of St Andrews Special Collections section. Grants from the P F Charitable Trust and the Wyfold Charitable Trust will permit the translation and summarisation of the charters.

The Blog

Since the March newsletter a number of small studies have been undertaken on different aspects of the Flemish involvement in Scotland. The results have been reported on the blog. Topics covered included: research on the Moray Flemings and the relationship between some of the key families in that area; evidence that the Frame and Cant families had Flemish roots; surname formation with special focus on the name Fleming; the Flemings of Pembrokeshire; the Aberdeen Flemings; the Brabanters in Scotland; the links of the “stranger churches” to Scotland; and, as noted above, the Fleming family charters.

The project team would like to thank all the authors who have contributed to the blog over the last six months. We are also grateful to Amy Eberlin and Morvern French, who have diligently prepared the material for posting each week.

We have developed a pipeline of topics for the blog through to Christmas, including a number of family studies. We will then suspend the blog as a vehicle for reporting on research and use it solely to announce new information on the upcoming conference.

The DNA Project

Since Janet Flemming has joined the DNA project as co-administrator, there has been an uptick in the number of people testing with us. Janet is preparing an article for our blog that will be published shortly. This will discuss progress so far with the DNA project and what will happen next.

We still need to attract more people both with the name Fleming (and its variants) as well as those with other names thought to be of Flemish origin.

Please consider taking part in the project if you have not done so already. The DNA test involves a simple swab on the inside of the cheek. We recommend you purchase the 67 marker, Y-DNA test as it will help identify your distant relatives within FTDNA’s extensive database as well as providing data that will help us in our analytic work. The test kit can be obtained direct by contacting Alasdair Macdonald or via the join tab at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland. There is a small discount by ordering through either route (£13-£20 or $20-$30).

Contacting Us

We can be contacted by email at the following addresses, where we would be happy to receive any questions or comments:

Main Project
Dr Alex Fleming: af87@st-andrews.ac.uk
Mr John Irvine: johnwirvine@aol.com
Prof. Roger Mason: ram@st-andrews.ac.uk

DNA Component
Mr Alasdair MacDonald: alasdair.f.macdonald@strath.ac.uk
Ms Janet Flemming: jayjaybird7@hotmail.com

Project Websites

Project: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/ishr/Flemish/index.htm
Blog: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk
DNA: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland

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Newsletter no. 6 – March 2015

Scotland and the Flemish People

This is the sixth newsletter reporting on progress with the Scotland and the Flemish People Project.

BBC and Scotland’s People Publicity

The BBC, in its magazine “Who do you think you are?”, featured the Project in a one page spread in a recent edition. The Scotland’s People website also had a reference to the Project in its February Newsletter. The result has been expressions of interest in the Project from numbers of people around the world.

The Fleming Family Charter Collection

Recently a Mr. Eric Robinson made a donation to a Toronto library of 60 medieval Charters pertaining to the major Fleming family of Biggar and Cumbernauld. They had been in his possession for many decades, having acquired them as a young man from an Edinburgh bookseller. This find is of great interest to academic and local historians as the Charters may shed new light on an important phase of Scottish history. Just how significant the find may be must await their digitisation and translation. This Fleming Family Charter Collection is the subject of a blog posting that will appear on Friday the 13th of March. See http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk.

PhD Research

The PhD research being undertaken as part of the Scotland and Flemish People project is evolving well. Amy Eberlin (now in her 3rd year) is examining the Scottish involvement in trade and diplomacy with Flanders over the period 1320-1513. Morvern French (now in her 2nd year) is focusing on Flemish material culture in Scotland, that is Flemish materials — tapestries, paintings and munitions, for instance — that have been imported to Scotland roughly between 1300 and 1550. Their work is described in more detail in the blog posted on the 20th of February 2015. We are grateful for the support of the P. F. Charitable Trust that has provided partial scholarships for the two
students.

Small Studies and the Blog

Since September a number of small studies have been undertaken on different aspects of the Flemish involvement in Scotland. The results have been reported on the blog. These have included studies on the involvement of Flemish people in different regions of Scotland, including the areas around the Tay and Forth rivers as well as Aberdeen. Other topics have included the impact of the Flemish on Scottish art and architecture, Scottish families that may have Flemish blood (Armstrong, Dowie, Sutherland), the changing borders of Flanders, the historical significance of the Flemings of Biggar, and the trading relationship with Flanders.

The project team is grateful to all the authors who have contributed to the blog over the last six months. We are also grateful to Amy Eberlin and Morvern French, who have diligently prepared the material for posting each week.

There are a number of studies in the pipeline that will deal with issues such as the formation of surnames in Scotland, the branching of the main Scottish families with the name Fleming, and the relationship between various Flemish origin families. Additional Scottish families with Flemish roots are also being examined.

Recent Developments in the DNA Project

We are delighted to announce that Janet Flemming has agreed to join our DNA project as a Co-Administrator. Janet’s interest in genealogy dates back to 1980. She has been an Administrator of a DNA Fleming project at Ancestry and more recently at FTDNA. She is now a self confessed genealogy addict with a consuming interest in all things Flemish! Janet will help us publicise and grow our DNA project.

Following the publicity generated by the BBC and Scotland’s People articles, and the closure of all the Ancestry Y-DNA projects, there was an uptick in membership of our project. However we still need to attract more people both with the name Fleming (and its variants) as well as those with other names thought to be of Flemish origin.

Please consider taking part in the project if you have not done so already. The DNA test involves a simple swab on the inside of the cheek. We recommend you purchase the 67 marker Y-DNA test as it will help identify your distant relatives within FTDNA’s extensive database as well as providing data that will help us in our analytic work. The test kit can be obtained direct by contacting Alasdair Macdonald or via the join tab at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland. There is a small discount by ordering through either route (£13-£20 or $20-$30).

Contacting Us

We can be contacted by email at the following addresses, where we would be happy to receive any questions or comments:

Main Project
Dr Alex Fleming: af87@st-andrews.ac.uk
Mr John Irvine: johnwirvine@aol.com
Prof. Roger Mason: ram@st-andrews.ac.uk

DNA Component
Mr Alasdair MacDonald: alasdair.f.macdonald@strath.ac.uk
Ms Janet Flemming: jayjaybird7@hotmail.com

Project Websites

Project: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/ishr/Flemish/index.htm
Blog: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk
DNA: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland

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Newsletter no. 5 – August 2014

Scotland and the Flemish People

This is the fifth newsletter reporting on progress with the Scotland and the Flemish People Project.

Project Workshop

The main development since the last newsletter (January 2014) was the staging on June 5th of a workshop that brought together experts on Scottish, Flemish and Low Countries history. Also present were specialists in genealogy and genetic genealogy. The event took place in St. Andrews. The workshop helped the project team identify areas where there were gaps in knowledge on the Flemish presence in Scotland. These areas will be pursued in the coming months. A summary of the outcome of the workshop can be found in the blog at: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk.

The Blog

Since the turn of the year the blog has been very active with weekly postings on a range of topics. Following the university’s summer break postings will resume on September 12th. The project team is grateful to a number of authors who have contributed to the blog since January. These are, in order of appearance of their posting: David Dobson, Jim Herbert, George English, Alasdair Macdonald, John Irvine, Peadar Morgan, Charles Rigg, John Ballantine, David Strachan, Chris Robinson and Adam Smith. Mention should also be made of Amy Eberlin and Morvern French who have diligently prepared the material for posting each week.

Over the coming weeks a particular focus of the blog will be Scottish families that, research suggests, may have Flemish roots. If you are a member of a family or are familiar with the history of a Flemish rooted family please contact Alex Fleming at the email address shown below so that we can prepare an article on it for posting.

Regional Studies

Research has been undertaken on the Flemish involvement in a number of different parts of Scotland. The results of the work have been reported on the Blog site. The areas covered to date are Berwick-upon-Tweed, Glenshee, Dundee, Upper Clydesdale and Cumbernauld. Work is underway on the Forth estuary and Aberdeen. Research will also be commissioned shortly on Perthshire.

DNA Component of the Project

Membership of the DNA project has continued to grow. However we still need to attract more people both with the name Fleming (and its variants) as well as those with other names thought to be of Flemish origin.

Please consider taking part in the project if you have not done so already. The DNA test involves a simple swab on the inside of the cheek. There are two levels of test for genealogical research. We recommend you purchase the 37 marker Y-DNA test as the minimum for surname research which may well identify distant relatives within FTDNA’s extensive database. The 67 marker test provides extra data that will help us in our analytic work. The test kit can be obtained direct by contacting Alasdair Macdonald or via the join tab at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland. There is a small discount by ordering through either route (£13-£20 or $20-$30).

Contacting Us

We can be contacted by email at the following addresses where we would be happy to receive any questions or comments:

Dr Alex Fleming: af87@st-andrews.ac.uk
Mr John Irvine: johnwirvine@aol.com
Prof. Roger Mason: ram@st-andrews.ac.uk

Project Websites

Project: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/ishr/Flemish/index.htm
Blog: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk
DNA Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland

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Newsletter no. 4 – January 2014

Scotland and the Flemish People

This is the fourth newsletter aimed at providing an update on progress with our project on Scotland and the Flemish People.

Blog

The blog foreshadowed in the September newsletter is now up and running. New items are added weekly during the university semester. The blog addresses a wide range of issues that have come up in our work to date. The goal is both to inform and stimulate discussion and debate. Topics covered so far are:

– The influence of Mainard the Fleming on the Character of St. Andrews.
– The Queer Folk o’the Shaws: Flemish immigrants in Pollockshaws.
– Flemish Rooted Names in Scotland: the Key Issues.
– John Crabbe: Flemish Pirate, Merchant and Adventurer.
– My Flemish Ancestry (F. Lawrence Flemings account in two parts).
– Crowsteps in Fife: the Flemish Connection (in two parts).

We would like to thank Robin Evetts, John McGee, F. Lawrence Fleming, and Matthew Price for their excellent contributions as guest bloggers.

The link to the blog is: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk.

Doctoral Research

Two doctoral students working on the project are examining the medieval period that was the most significant phase of Flemish involvement in Scotland.

Amy Eberlin is focusing on the Scots who participated, whether as merchants or ambassadors, in Scotto-Flemish relations in the later medieval period. During this period, the relationship between Scotland and Flanders was based upon the wool trade and Scotland’s exportation of its wool to Flanders. Even though the Scotto-Flemish wool trade was the lynchpin of the Scottish economy, little research has concentrated on its importance to the Scots. Her work endeavours to provide a new perspective on Scottish involvement in trade and diplomacy with Flanders by examining the shifts in the control of Scotland’s export industry, and the social networks of merchants and ambassadors. In particular she is examining what happened to trade and cultural exchange after the Flemish were banished from Scotland under legislation introduced in the early 14th century.

Morvern French is working on the cultural connections forged during the period 1100-1550 between Scotland and Flanders, Scotland’s principal trading partner, using material sources as well as the written record. The textual basis for the material findings will comprise evidence from customs records, port books, burgh and guild records, charters and ledgers. The material evidence will be used to create a cultural biography. Archaeological and treasure trove finds, architecture, and pictorial art will also be used to create a fuller picture of Flemish cultural influence in Scotland.

The research undertaken by both students will shed new light on important phases of Scotland’s relationship with Flanders.

Regional Studies

Work undertaken on Berwick-upon-Tweed, Fife, Atholl/Glenshee and Dundee is continuing and it is hoped that we can report on the findings over the next few months.

Paths of Flemish Immigration to Scotland

In the September newsletter it was reported that David Dobson has been engaged by the project to undertake a study of the immigration to Scotland by Flemish people over the period 1550 – 1800. The first results of his work will be posted on the blog later in January 2014.

Events in the Planning Stage

The project will enter a new phase in June 2014 when the St. Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research is planning to host a workshop that will bring together leading academics from Flanders, Scotland and beyond who have an expertise in the relationship between Scotland and Flanders.

An international conference that will showcase the findings of the project is also being discussed but the timing of this is yet to be established.

DNA Component of the Project

A number of people have joined the DNA project since the September newsletter was published. However we still need to attract more people both with the name Fleming (and its variants) as well as those with other names thought to be of Flemish origin.

Please consider taking part in the project if you have not done so already. The DNA test involves a simple swab on the inside of the cheek. There are two levels of test for genealogical research. We recommend you purchase the 37 marker Y-DNA test as the minimum for surname research which may well identify distant relatives within FTDNA’s extensive database. The 67 marker test provides extra data that will help us in our analytic work. The test kit can be obtained direct by contacting Alasdair Macdonald or via the join tab at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland. There is a small discount by ordering through either route (£13-£20 or $20-$30).

Contacting Us

We can be contacted by email at the following addresses where we would be happy to receive any questions or comments:

Dr Alex Fleming: aefleming007@comcast.net
Mr John Irvine: johnwirvine@aol.com
Prof. Roger Mason: ram@st-andrews.ac.uk

Project Websites

Project: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/ishr/Flemish/index.htm
Blog: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
DNA Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland

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Newsletter no. 3 – September 2013

Scotland and the Flemish People

This is the third newsletter aimed at updating you on progress with our project on Scotland and the Flemish People.

Upgraded Website

Our project website (home page at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/flemish/index.htm) has been revamped to allow those with family tree information to share this with us, preferably in the form of a GEDCOM file. Those interested in doing this should go to the Home Page and click on the link titled “submitting genealogical data”. If you have any questions on uploading your family tree please contact John Irvine at johnwirvine@aol.com.

Later this month we will begin a blog that will draw upon the findings of our initial work. The blog will address a wide range of issues and will seek to stimulate discussion and debate. The blog will be managed by the doctoral students working on the project. In the first instance, however, please contact Alex Fleming at aefleming007@comcast.net.

Regional Studies

During the summer a visit was made to Berwick-upon-Tweed with a view to developing a case study on the medieval Flemish in the town. Berwick, which has been part of a tug of war between England and Scotland for much of its early history, had significant Flemish influence during the medieval period not least because of its close trading links with Flanders. Jim Herbert a local historian from Berwick is writing a piece on the Flemish influence for the blog.

Work continues on case studies for Fife and Atholl/Glenshee. John Irvine has also begun to investigate the Flemish in the Dundee area.

Paths of Flemish Immigration to Scotland

Professor David Dobson has been engaged by the project to undertake a study of the immigration to Scotland by Flemish people over the period 1550 – 1800. Professor Dobson has in the past worked extensively on emigration from Scotland as well as on the immigration of Huguenots and Jews to Scotland. Much of Flemish immigration, under the period under review, will have taken place as a result of religious persecution in Flanders that took place in three waves during the period 1560 – 1635.

Progress with the DNA Component of the Project

In the last Newsletter we announced the start of the DNA component of the project that is being administered by Alasdair Macdonald (one of Scotland’s leading genetic genealogists). This project is hosted by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and has already encouraged a number of people to have a DNA test for the first time. Many others who have already had a DNA test administered by FTDNA have also released their results to our project.

Please consider taking part in our project if you have not done so already. The DNA test involves a simple swab on the inside of the cheek. There are two levels of test for genealogical research. We recommend you purchase the 37 marker Y-DNA test as the minimum for surname research which may well identify distant relatives within FTDNA’s extensive database. The 67 marker test provides extra data that will help us in our analytic work. The test kit can be obtained direct by contacting Alasdair Macdonald or via the join tab at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland. There is a small discount by ordering through either route (£13-£20 or $20-$30).

Contacting Us

We can be contacted by Email at the following addresses where we would be happy to receive any questions or comments:

Mr John Irvine: johnwirvine@aol.com
Dr Alex Fleming: aefleming007@comcast.net

Project Websites

Project: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/ishr/Flemish/index.htm
Blog: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
DNA Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland

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Newsletter no. 2 – May 2013

Scotland and the Flemish People

This is the second newsletter aimed at updating you on progress with our project on Scotland and the Flemish People.

Additions to the Project Team

Since the last Newsletter in January two additional members have been added to the project team. In the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at St. Andrews University Dr. Alex Woolf has joined the project. Also, a new Doctoral student has been chosen and will start work in September 2013.

DNA Project

Background: The DNA component to the project, mentioned in Newsletter No. 1, is now up and running. This will be an important complement to the historical work. There are two key issues that DNA analysis could help address. First there are a significant number of potentially Flemish origin families in Scotland (that do not have the name Fleming). In many cases genealogical research cannot trace these families fully back to Flanders. As the techniques of DNA analysis are becoming more refined it is becoming possible to more accurately pinpoint the geographic origins of a family. The other key issue relates to the name Fleming itself. Were all people named Fleming descended from one early Flemish immigrant to Britain or did some families simply adopt the name Fleming when arriving in Scotland?Again, DNA analysis can help shed light on this issue.

Who should join: Our project is focusing on Scottish families that believe they may have Flemish roots. If you have a name that appears on the attached list or if your name is not on the list but have reason to think that it should be, please consider joining the project.

How to participate: The Y-Chromosome is carried only by men who inherit it from their fathers. As surnames in Europe are typically patrilineal in descent the Y-Chromosome can be used to identify men who share a common ancestor. As women do not carry a Y-Chromosome, females who wish to participate require a male family member to participate who bears one of the project surnames.

The DNA test itself involves a simple swab on the inside of the cheek. There are two levels of test for genealogical research. We recommend you purchase the 37 marker Y-DNA test as the minimum for surname research which may well identify distant relatives within FTDNA’s extensive database. The 67 marker test provides extra data and will help us in the analytic work described above. This test may give you an indication of your “deep ancestry” by matching with other participants who have been found positive for advanced “deep ancestry” markers. These advanced markers can be ordered at a later date if required. The test kit can be obtained direct by contacting Alasdair Macdonald or via the join tab at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland. There is a small discount by ordering through either route (£13-£20 or $20-$30).

Administration: The project is administered by Alasdair Macdonald from the University of Strathclyde (Department of Genealogical Studies). He is a leading authority in Scotland on DNA. Should you have any questions please contact Alasdair at scottishdna@strath.ac.uk. Alternatively feel free to contact co-administrator Alex Fleming referenced at the end of this newsletter.

Scottish Regional Case Studies

We are working on a series of case studies in areas where we believe there has been a significant Flemish influence. Our first case studies cover Fife and the Glenshee area of Perthshire. Over recent months we have been talking with the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust about a ruined settlement, believed to be Flemish, in the south of Glenshee. Starting in June the Trust will begin work on the site with a view to determining when the settlement was established, its structure and uses, and provide confirmation that it was indeed Flemish.

If any of our readers have knowledge of particular areas in Scotland where there is historical evidence of a Flemish presence and would be prepared to assist us in the development of case studies, please let us know.

Website

Our new website is almost complete and we furnish more details about this in the next Newsletter.

Contacting Us

We can be contacted by email at the following addresses where we would be happy to receive any questions or comments:

Mr John Irvine: johnwirvine@aol.com
Dr Alex Fleming: aefleming007@comcast.net

Project Websites

Project: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/ishr/Flemish/index.htm
Blog: http://flemish.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
DNA Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Flemish_in_Scotland

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Newsletter no. 1

During the summer of 2012 we publicized the start of the project on Scotland and the Flemish People in various fora and since that time we have been heartened by the many expressions of interest and support that we have received. This Newsletter is the first of a number that we will be sending out during the four year duration of the project. It is being sent to those of you who have asked to be kept in touch with the project’s progress. In this Newsletter we will tell you more about who we are, what our goals are, and what we have done during the first few months of the project.

The Project Team

The project is centered at the University of St. Andrews’ Institute of Scottish Historical Research (“the Institute”) and is led there by Professor Roger Mason.  Two other staff members in the Institute are involved in the work:  Dr. Katie Stevenson and Dr. Michael Brown. One PhD student, Amy Eberlin, is beginning research in the field and a second will be recruited for the start of the September 2013 semester.

John Irvine, currently Chairman of the Scottish Local History Forum in Scotland (www.slhf.org) and a professional genealogist, is also working on the project.  Finally, Alex Fleming, who instigated the work and is an international economist by training (now retired), is helping administer part of the project and is undertaking some of the research.

Project Goals

The goals of the project are to raise awareness of the role played by the Flemish people in Scotland since they first arrived around the 11th and 12th centuries. This will be achieved by undertaking new research on the Flemish, making more widely available the results of existing research, and hosting workshops and conferences on relevant issues from time to time. In due course one or more publications will be prepared containing the results of the work.

Progress so far 

The publicizing of the project on the Scotland’s People website led to responses from over 100 people from around the world.  The communications we received from you all led to:

  • The preparation of a list of possible names with Flemish roots
  • The opening of a dialogue with a number of eminent researchers in the field of the genealogy and history of the Flemish
  • The offer of much genealogical information on Flemish families in Scotland. Links to such information will in due course be provided on a project website that is being constructed at the moment and will be fully functional by the end of winter 2013.
  • The donation of personal historical research in the field by  several people (for which we are very grateful)
  • The offer of help in undertaking new research (including in Flanders itself).

In addition, the following work has been undertaken:

  • We have begun a pilot study of the influence of the Flemish in Fife and the Firth of Forth areas and are grateful for the support furnished by various local Historical Societies and individuals.
  • We are looking into the possibility of working with the  administrator of the Scottish DNA project who has offered to set up and run a Y-DNA study in parallel to our historical work. Potentially it could help confirm whether certain families have Flemish origins.
  • Discussion has begun with representatives of the Lindsay clan on the drafting of a family case study that would gauge its impact on the Scottish economy and society
  • Research within the Institute itself is at an early stage. It is examining existing materials relating to the Flemish involvement in Scotland and is looking at immigrants in the medieval period with a view to understanding the role they played and the societal relationships they developed.

Contacting Us

We can be contacted by email at the following addresses where we would be happy to receive any questions or comments:

Mr John Irvine:          johnwirvine@aol.com

Dr Alex Fleming:       aefleming007@comcast.net