THE seven times great grand daughter of one of the Scottish soldiers who escaped death in Durham in the 17th Century has visited an exhibition telling his story.

Jean Paradis, from Naperville, near Chicago in the US, discovered her link to the story of the Scottish soldiers while researching her family history.

The 61-year-old is descended from William Furbish, one of the soldiers captured at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 and marched to Durham Cathedral.

While about 1,600 men died in Durham and were buried in a mass grave at Palace Green, Furbish was one of a number sent to the US as an indentured servant.

Furbish, who was born in Aberdeenshire and was 19 at the time of the battle, served the full term of his indenture at a mill at Oyster River and after his release married and had seven children.

Mrs Paradis, who can trace her family history back to colonial times, visited the Bodies of Evidence exhibition at Palace Green Library today, with her husband Armand.

She said: “I grew up and I knew the story but I didn’t know I was related to it.

“It was actually very easy to find my connection to William Furbish. I went to the Harvard library and put in my grandparents’ names and it all just came up.”

She grew up in Saugus, Massachusetts, and is also descended from three other Scottish soldiers, James Taylor, John Clark and Duncan Stewart, who were all transported to the US after their time in Durham.

She added: “The Scots who came to New England stuck together. There was a benevolent society in Boston which helped them out and there was a lot of traffic between Maine and Massachusetts.”

She has been studying her family history for five years and after discovering her connection to the Scottish soldiers, got in touch with researchers in Durham in April and arranged to come and see the exhibition.

She added: “I’m so impressed with what has been done here and how much detail and effort has gone in to connect the whole story.

“It’s been wonderful. There’s so much to see.

“There are so many things that, for whatever reason, ger swept under the rug. Now this footnote is no longer a footnote which is nice.

“William’s story is worthy of being told. His story is interesting and I’m glad it is being told.”

Curator Julie Biddlecombe-Brown said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have had Jean here.

“We have had maybe ten to 15 relatives visit and each time it is a huge privilege.

“This place is so pivotal in their family’s history. If those ancestors hadn’t been sent to Durham they couldn’t have been sent to the States so it’s a really poignant place.

“People have found it really moving to be here because their ancestors survived to be a part of their history.”

The exhibition, which runs until October 7, was created following the discovery of two mass burial sites in Durham in 2013.

The remains of up to 28 of the skeletons were excavated and extensive investigations carried out to find out who they were, how they lived and died and what became of those who survived.

A series of talks are taking place about the excavation and exhibition. The next one is on Monday, at 6pm, when Caroline Wilkinson will talk about the creation of a 3D image of one of the soldiers.