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Dear Friends and Relatives

As the song goes "It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas" There is snow on the ground outside, and it’s below freezing today as we approach the true end of the Century/Millennium.

As we said we would last year, we caught the first plane out of Grand Rapids on 1 January 2000 to go to California to meet up with my sister Ruth, her husband Jeff and niece Samantha. It was a nice change of temperature too, from the Michigan winter to the Los Angeles "winter". Since it seemed many people were either hung over, or scared to fly on 1/1/00 we had two plane flights that were less than half full. Coming back on 4 January was a different story though!! We spent a wonderful 3 days in and around Los Angeles with Ruth and Jeff and Sammy. We also got to meet up with Lisa’s cousin Mary, husband Mike and their children, one of whom is also called Sammie. The two Sammies got on well together and had a great time.

At the end of March my brother Alistair from Australia, arrived for a short visit while en route between computer conferences in Utah and New Jersey. Included highlights were a visit to the Frederick Meijer Gardens to see "The American Horse" — a very large bronze horse based on Leonardo daVinci’s idea for such a statue.

June was our big trip away. We left here on 10 June for 2 weeks in Scotland. The first week of this was in the town of Moffat, Scotland for "The Great Gathering". This was called by Clan Chief Madam Jean Moffat of that Ilk to be the 1000th anniversary of Clan Moffat. About 160 Moffats from US and Canada attended as well as some from England/Scotland. Long distance traveller was Teddy Moffat from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His family has been there for several generations.

During our time there we took a day trip around the Borders, including seeing Sir Walter Scott’s home "Abbortsford", Melrose Abbey and Locherbie. We also had a day trip to Edinburgh and got to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia which is now on permanent display there, as well as going to Edinburgh Castle on the hill above Edinburgh, a walk down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Castle and climbing the 260 something steps inside the Walter Scott Monument. There were also some activities planned in Moffat, including some walking around the town and the hills around the town. The locals in Moffat seemed very happy to see us all, especially when we were spending money I guess. We both bought kilts at the Moffat Woollen Mill — Lisa got hers right away, while mine had to be made to order as all men’s kilts are, and then mailed to me in the US.

If you can, see this page on the ClanMoffat.org site for a picture album of this trip.

After the week in Moffat we embarked out with some 20 others on a coach tour of "the Highlands" and some other interesting sights and sites. We got as far north as Aberdeen, Culloden, and saw Loch Ness, Isle of Skye, lots of fog on the hills and some hills.

When this ended we rented a car to go touring on our own in Berwickshire where my Moffat ancestors had come from. Without too much searching we were able to find the farms where GGG grandfather George Moffat had worked including "Blackerstone" where GG Grandfather William was born in 1829. We found the church at Oldhamstocks where GG Grandfather William Moffat married Ellen Shiels Houliston in 1857 shortly before departing for New Zealand. In Swinton, we found the church where George’s ancestors were buried, including my GGGGG Grandfather John, and his son John (George’s father), and the headstone for their grave.

Here
lies the body of
John Moffat who
died 23 Oc. 1781 age 62
Also his spouse
Margaret Moffat
died July 19th 1811 aged
96 years also their son
John Moffat who died
8th Nov 1829 aged 82 years
Also of Jane Bogue his
wife who died 22d April 1838
aged 80
ERECTED
BY THE FAMILY IN MEMORY OF
THEIR PARENTS:
JOHN DEWAR, WHO DIED 9TH APRIL 1878, AGED 85 YEARS
ALSO, JANET ROSS, HIS WIFE
WHO DIED 24TH DECR 1877
AGED 75 YEARS

ALSO,
JAMES DEWAR WHO DIED
28TH MAY 1760, AGED 35 YEAR
ALSO, ELIZABETH KIRK, HIS WIFE
WHO DIED 26TH JANY 1784
AGED 84 YEARS
CATHERINE DEWAR, WHO DIED
28TH FEBY 1908, AGED 78 YEARS

After a couple of days in this area we headed back north to Perthshire and Culross where the Dewars (my father’s mother’s family) had come from. In the church yard at Culross Abbey we found the headstone for GG Grandfather John Dewar and his wife Janet Ross, and GGGG Grandfather John Dewar and his wife Elizabeth Kirk. Interestingly the Minister at this Church is a Rev Thomas Moffat!!

The next Clan Moffat Gathering in Scotland is set for August 2005
so if you’re a Moffat cousin, mark your calendars and $tart $aving!!!!

July 4th weekend was spent with the Christensen Clan at George’s place in Northern Lower Michigan for another great get-together of family and dogs.

This summer we managed to finally get organised enough to sell the swimming pool that was out the back of the house when we bought it. So that is gone, along with the large wooden deck that surrounded one end of it. We’re now working on landscaping that area for a patio, but first got sidetracked for a couple of months (with more to come next year) in resetting the foundations of the porch on our house which had fallen by more than 2 inches (50mm) lower than the house. Some very deep holes (6 feet = 1.8 metres) and about 3,000 pounds of concrete are now properly holding up 6 of the 14 posts around he porch, and in those areas the porch is again level, instead of sloped down away from the house. The rest remain to be fixed next year.

The area along the east side of the driveway was finished, including building a large (14’ x 14’ (4.2 x 4.2m)) raised box garden around each of the two large maple trees that were there. We continue the battle against the rabbits and the large rabbits (more commonly called deer) that seem to think we are growing plants and flowers solely for them. One crop that did do well was our raspberries and blackberries. We have some wild raspberries and blackberries on the property that provide fruit early in the season and we also have a small stand of raspberries we planted that provided a really good crop for eating and jam in the latter part of the year up to the first frosts and snow.

In early Summer, and then again in Autumn we became honorary sports parents — "Uncle Roger" and "Aunty Lisa" to Jeremy. He’s the son of a friend of Lisa’s from her work and we’ve been spectating and supporting his different sports for years. He’s now into his final High School "Senior" year and this Autumn played on the Senior Football team, and will finish up next Summer with Baseball. After that who knows — maybe he’s good enough for a College (university) team somewhere.

October saw us searching around for a new car to take advantage of a generous "year end" rebate offer from General Motors in combination with Lisa’s staff discount, and the large amount of earnings we’d accumulated with the GM MasterCard. We ended up with a 2000 GMC Jimmy with almost every electric option possible, so have joined the ranks of those driving an SUV. Now when we have visitors we can offer them something better to ride in than the back seat of a sports car. We still have the 1994 Camaro, but sold the 1984 Camaro to a friend from the Genealogy Society. October also saw Lisa promoted at Delphi (used to be part of GM, but is now a separate company) to 7th Level.

We continue to be involved in the local Genealogy Society, and now both serve on the Board of Directors of it. I’m running a computer here at home for them that is connected to the internet full time with a number of different databases on it http://data.wmgs.org. The largest has nearly 340,000 death notices from local newspapers listed in it, and our Society provides copies of those death notices to people who request them. I’m also running the Web site for the Clan Moffat Society http://ClanMoffat.org, and early in 2001 we will have our own "Roger and Lisa" web site available from the same computer. This will be at http://LisaAndRoger.com. We "own" this address, but so far aren’t using it. (someone else had already registered RogerAndLisa.com).

Thanks for being reader # 1,587 to see what we've been up to in 2000