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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z for Zetland and Zeppelina

A-Z of Family History Sources & Stories 
Join me on this A-Z journey to explore the fascinating records

that can  enhance your family history research and writing.

We have reached the end of this year's A-Z Challenge and here is where my  inspiration ends too, as I  am struggling with the Z letter and am repeating two stories using the Z theme.

ZETLAND  - is  the old name for the Shetland Isles, the northern most isles of Scotland, situated 110 miles from the mainland and closer  to Bergen in Norway than to Edinburgh.  Early Shetland was was occupied by Pictish peoples. They left no written history but ancient  towers called brochs, carved stones and beautiful silver objects. From about 800 AD, however, the Pictish peoples were either displaced by - or absorbed into - waves of immigration from Scandinavia as the Vikings expanded westwards.
Shetland remained under Norwegian control for around 600 years. Their rule ended as the result of a marriage treaty in 1468  when King Christian I of Norway mortgaged Shetland to the Scottish crown to raise part of the dowry for the marriage of his daughter Margaret to King James III of Scotland.  James went on to annex Shetland to the Scottish crown in 1472, though the Nordic influence has remained strong on the islands.

This  tragic island tale below  came from my cousin Stuart who was researching his Smith ancestors.  "On Unst, Shetland, Peter Smith and his wife Mary had five children - three boys and two girls. The elder two boys, William aged 14 and Francis 10 years old, both died on the same day - 14th March 1919."

On researching  further, it was found that both boys  had drowned whilst they were trying to rescue their pet dog from a lochan, near their house.  

ZEPPELINA  I have no Zebediah, Zadok  or Zaccariah, Zara, Zena, Zelda,  Zipporah or Zandra in my family.  However I did come across the name of ZeppilinA in  "The Sunday Chronicle"  for  26th September 1937.

This quirky item bore  the intriguing headline    "Zeppelin was Her Stork" and told how Zeppelina, celebrating her 21st birthday, was named after a German Zeppelin which crashed near her her home in Essex on the day she was born in 1916


This A-Z challenge has been a very stimulating  blog prompt to follow and great fun.  It has been amazing to read how different bloggers have interpreted each letter.  

Thank you to everyone who has  taken time to comment amidst their own busy schedule.

One thing is certain - we have all approached the challenge with Zeal, and Zest to reach this Zenith!  


A-Z Challenge 2015 - Theme Revealed:  Family History Sources & Stories

A for Adventure, Archives, Ancestry and Anecdotes 
B for Bibles, Business, Blogging and Black Sheep
C for Certificates, Censuses and Church Records 
D for Deaths, Directories, Dictionaries and Diaries 
E for Epitaphs, Emigration, Electoral Rolls and Ephemera   
F for Funerals, Feisty Females and Farming   
G for Gazetteers, Glossaries, Genuki and Geneabloggers 

H for Honour, Humour and Heirlooms
I for Illegitimacy and Irregular Marriages
J for Jobs and Jewellery
K for Kirk Session Records
L for Letters, Leisure and Local  
M for Mortcloths, Militias, & Much More

N for Newspapers and Names
O for Occupation Records
P for Poor Law Rcords
Q for Questions, Questions

R for Reconnecting and Research 
S for Scottish Records  
T for Tributes, Timelines and Travel
U for Unusual, Unforgettable, Unlucky - and Uniforms

V for Verses and Vicissitudes
W for Wars, Wills and Weddings
X for Experiences 
Y for Youthful Memories
Z for Zetland and Zeppelina 


  1. If Zetland is a repeat, I confess I don't remember it. And Zeppelina certainly had a great story to tell.
    Congratulations on surviving once again!

  2. Zeppelina is a most unusual first name. I think the Edwardians and their immediate successors seem to have been keener to celebrate local happenings with the names for their children. For example the New South Wales births deaths and marriages has a nifty interactive tool you can explore the popularity of names and I tried Melba (as in Dame Nellie) - peaked about 1920 - see http://www.nsw.gov.au/about-nsw/popular-baby-names . Unsurprisingly no matches for Zeppelina :) but the tool only covers the top 1200 names.

  3. Very good! Z is always a tough one, except the year I did my brother in law, Zeke. Unfortunately he wasn't a Cleage so he couldn't make it this year. I wonder if Sallie was ever spelled Zallie?


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