From one group of Sassenachs to another, I think we can all agree that Claire Fraser has stolen the hearts of many. She has quickly become the envy of every Outlander fan and is the epitome of the kind of woman we all strive to be. She helps put the capital S in Sassenach, don’t you think?
Would I go? Would I intentionally step through the stones? And if I did, among other major considerations, what would I wear?
Admittedly Claire Randall’s first time-traveling portal jump back to the 18th Century was a total accident so she had no time for introspection or suitcase packing. Having fallen through time wearing a knee length dress and brogues Claire was spectacularly under-dressed and under-prepared for everything about the strange world she found herself in.
While Claire in her 1940s life used laundry soap and a basic washing machine, her time traveling life did not have such a luxury. Instead, wash day consisted of lots of drinks, hand washing, and urine production.
One of the great pleasures of watching Outlander includes admiring all of the gorgeous costumes and accessories that adorn all of the characters. The knitted wool items have featured heavily, and have definitely caught my eye. As I am devoid of the skill of knitting, I have a great admiration for the talent. I seem to recall hearing once, on a tour of a croft house in the Scottish Highlands, that traditionally all family members in the household would have learned to knit. Because they did not have the luxury of idle time, knitting was a task that was accomplished during times of limiting physical circumstances, i.e. winter, while shepherding, or by those who were infirm. It has caused me to wonder recently; could Jamie have knit Claire’s cowl?
For me, this is a bit of an understatement, as I have found myself getting way off the main trunk of my family tree and involved with following so many teeny, tiny “branches.” It is very time consuming, but also so much fun! The one piece of advice that always holds true while searching for your ancestors is to start with yourself, then work back through your “proven” relationships. If someone in your family told you that you are of Scottish descent, or are related to Bonnie Prince Charlie or even William Wallace, you must start with yourself and work your way back to prove the connection. Or, in my case, while hiking the West Highland Way in my youth, I phoned home and my great-grandmother told me “did you know that your 3rd great-grandmother was born in Scotland?” That was news to me, but years later as my affinity for Scotland grew, I researched my GGG-grandmother and her family, along with many other ancestors with diverse origins and very interesting stories.