Eleven-week-old Jamieson Hilton from California is believed to be the Hamefarin’s youngest visitor.
He will not remember it, but he was presented with a Burra bear on Tuesday by the Hamefarin committee, to the delight of parents Scott and Chika (who is originally from Japan), aunt Amanda Hilton (Scott’s sister) and grandmother Jamie Hilton (Scott’s mother).
Jamie brought her son Scott to Shetland when he was 10 – he remembers the brochs and the fish and chips – and the family feel that baby Jamieson already has a strong connection to Shetland through his Japanese middle name Takeru, meaning persistent or strong (like the Anderson High School motto, Do weel and persevere).
Chika, who comes from Hiroshima and moved to the USA three years ago, said: “I love the landscape, it’s so different from where I come from in Japan although Japan is an island too. But it’s cold, I didn’t expect to wear sweaters.” She was delighted with the Burra bear gift, she said: “I almost bought one.”
And the warm welcome Scott and Jamie experienced first time round has not changed. Jamie, who lives in Colorado, said: “There’s such a warm feeling of home, as I have my cup of coffee in the morning I can almost feel my roots. Everyone we met has been so sweet.”
Jamie’s grandparents were William Goudie, born in 1879 and Edith Jamieson, born in 1890. Although from Shetland, both the Goudie and the Jamieson families lived in Glasgow at the time (William Goudie had been taken in by relatives when his father was lost at sea).
As a young man William Goudie learned about the rubber trade and this took him to America. The Jamieson family also went there and the families re-connected in Rhode Island in 1900. William and Edith later married and their daughter, Betty Jean Goudie, married David Clarke, Jamie’s late father, who started research on the family tree.
During their visit the Hiltons have been catching up with relatives, including the Inksters from Sandwick, related in the Goudie side, and other family members from as far away as New Zealand.
Scott said: “It’s been fun meeting our cousins. And it’s so beautiful here, the rocky bluffs are so lovely.”
His sister Amanda, on her first visit, said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’ve been loving it. It’s so beautiful and so green. In Colarado it’s high desert. And we’ve had such a warm reception everywhere.”
There was such as feeling of home, she said, that “Mum’s looking at the For Sale signs.”
Although she was enjoying the light nights she admitted to feeling slightly cold: “I’ve been buying woollen garments and mittens.”
That was not the case for Scott, however. He did not feel the cold, he said, as their home near San Francisco is often “fogged in and not too hot”.
The Jamieson family came from the now uninhabited isle of South Havra and the visitors were taken there by Bobby Hunter, which Jamie described as an “amazing, wonderful trip”.
Relative Rosemary Inkster from Sandwick, who was also on the trip, said: “It was moving to see Jamie and Bobby with their pieces of paper and the research they’d done into a common ancestor, and to hear Bobby say there should be no romantic image. [Life there] was a hard struggle.”