Book retraces family’s journey from Shetland

SHARE

When two second cousins got together, the result was a book retracing their family history.

The new book, called Da Flittin’ of the Nicolsons from Shetland and the Duthies from Kincardine, written by Kathleen Hill and Diane Miller, was celebrated yesterday at a gathering at the Niagara Falls Cafe.

Descendants of Grace Nicolson and William Duthie were scattered throughout New Zealand, including Gore and West Otago.

The couple migrated to New Zealand from Shetland in 1872.

One hundred and forty-five years later, they have almost 700 descendants.

Almost 126 years ago the Duthie family left Otago and arrived in Quarry Hills, swelling the population with their 11 children.

The two women embarked on a mission to track down information about William and Grace’s 11 children and their families.

“We managed in the end to track down all of the 11 branches,” Mrs Miller said.

The nine Duthie daughters kept in touch after they scattered throughout New Zealand, each writing a letter to one sister who passed it down the line, but this tradition was lost by the next generation.

The 11 branches of the family joined forces to compile the family history.

Da Flittin’ was inspired by the flitting – a Scottish term for changing homes.

The love of the young Shetlanders Grace and William for each other was forbidden in their homeland, so they took advantage of the assisted emigration scheme and eloped to New Zealand, the book recounts.

Margaret Miller, of Gore, had a contribution she had written included in the book, Mrs Hill said.

The book included family stories which painted a picture of how life was.