Monthly Archives: March 2013

On 31 March

31 March 1774
Baptism of Robert Hunter at Stevenston, Ayrshire, son of John Hunter and Margaret Barr, making him my gggg uncle as his sister Margaret married Robert Haddow. There’s not quite enough evidence to prove it, as there were several people called Robert Hunter born in Stevenston at around the same time, but I suspect this Robert Hunter married Margaret Haddow and was a coal miner in Stevenston. If so, it means Margaret Hunter married Robert Haddow and Robert Hunter married Margaret Haddow. A bit of a tangle, to say the least! I have yet to unravel it.

31 March 1866
Colin Shearer Haddow born in Kilwinning. His father, also Colin Shearer Haddow, was the son of my gg grandparents John Haddow and Amelia Murphie. The Colin born in 1866 died in infancy, as his next youngest sibling was also named Colin Shearer Haddow. The use of the Scottish naming pattern does make for a confusing family tree at times!

31 March 1920
Hamilton Kirkwood of the 219th Field Company (Glasgow) Royal Engineers was demobilised after having enlisted in 1915. His war record has survived so I know he served in France, received a skilled rate of pay as an iron moulder, and had a scar on the roof of his nose. His grandmother Sarah Marshall was my gg grandmother and his mother Ellen was the half sister of my great grandmother Mary Ann McInerney (a surname no-one at the time was able to spell).

Over in Aberdeenshire and down in Yorkshire they all had a quiet day, which is just as well.

On 30 March

30 March 1794
My ggg aunt Jane Haddow was born in Stevenston, daughter of Robert Haddow and Margaret Hunter. Nothing else found on her, though I haven’t looked very hard yet.

30 March 1850
Birth of my half gg aunt Janet Strachan at Kilwinning, daughter of Robert Strachan and his second wife Susan Cran, who arrived four months before her parents got married. Ah well, people are only human! Janet Strachan married Thomas Docherty in Kilwinning in 1872 and, after the birth of several children, migrated in around 1888 to Pratt City, which was a coal mining district in Alabama, USA. After Thomas died Janet married James Grant, a widower who also came from Kilwinning, and she died in Alabama in 1929.

30 March 1911
Birth of Dorothy Irene Athorn in Barnsley, daughter of my gg aunt Hester Green who was the sister of my great grandfather Joseph Green. Dorothy married Ernest Atkinson Dyson in Barnsley in 1932 and lived until she was 92.

Online sources if you have Scottish ancestors

Thought I’d mention a few web sites I’ve found excellent for padding out the detail of my Scottish ancestors’ lives.
National Library of Scotland’s digital gallery – access point to historical maps of Scotland, Post Office directories, gazetteers of towns and parishes, plus lots of other fascinating stuff.
Statistical Accounts of Scotland – a very good read to get a feel for where your Scottish ancestors lived. The Old Statistical Reports were published in 1791-1799 and the New Statistical Reports in 1834-1845.
Brilliant site if you have Scottish coal mining ancestors. Lists of mines, copies of housing and other reports, and an index of coal mining deaths and accidents
Access to Scottish historical tax rolls from 1645 to 1831.

On 29 March

29 March 1812
Ann Green was baptised at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of my ggggg uncle John Green, a bleacher. I’ve not yet found out at what happened to her – the records aren’t exactly abundant for back then.

29 March 1828
Agnes Fraser Morgan was baptised at Longside, Aberdeenshire. She was the daughter of Peter Morgan and Isabel Sangster, her mother being the sister of my gggg grandmother Janet Sansgter. I have a soft spot for Agnes Fraser Morgan as it was coming across her baptism that gave me a clue as to what became of Janet Sangster and allowed me to go back in time by several more generations. Finding the link to someone called Morgan also meant I was able to discover that my great grandfather William Fraser and his second wife Helen Ann Morgan were related. In 1841 Agnes Morgan age 13 is a servant in the household of Revd. John Cummings, an episcopal clergyman, in the parish of Longside. Unfortunately I can’t find anything further for her.

29 March 1919
Catherine Milton Fraser, illegitimate daughter of my half gg aunt Jessie Fraser, married William John Michael who was the son of my gg aunt Mary Ann Fraser. So they were half cousins, and the new mother-in-laws were half sisters. Catherine was a baker’s shop assistant and William a quarry fireman, and they lived in Aberdeen. Sadly, Catherine died in 1927 age 29, from tuberculosis, which was the cause of far too many premature deaths on my family tree.

Finding lost cousins

Isn’t it fantastic when genealogy puts you in touch with relatives you’d lost touch with long ago or didn’t even know existed? Like all families, I suppose, mine splintered – two world wars and increased mobility meant a lot of people moved away from what had been home. My family research has made me realise how close extended families were in “the old days”, and I wonder if it’s partly nostalgia for that long gone sense of family and community that draws up to tracing our family’s history.

Today I received an email from someone who shares the same Yorkshire great-grandparents: we only found out about each other’s existence a year or so ago, through an online genealogy site. We’ve both done lots of research and he has the good fortune to live not far from where our ancestors are from, so we’re now planning a “family reunion” to meet and compare notes. I’ve also been in touch with two other people descended from the same great-grandparents, so the Green great-grandchildren have done well at finding each other again, despite having lived such different lives in such different places.

My relation is currently focussing on the Green family’s innkeeping activities in Worsbrough – we seemed to have had a near monopoly on running the coaching inns on the toll roads in that neck of the woods before the railways took over. I can’t wait to find out more.

On 28 March

A rare day – nothing that I know about happened in Britain but over in Canada:

28 March 1922
Margaret Milne, the great-granddaughter of my gg aunt Janet (or Jessie) Fraser got married in Vancouver, Canada, to Alexander George Birnie. Ancestry has her arrival card from 1921: she was a domestic servant born in Hatton and was going to an employer in Vancouver. So it didn’t take long for the marriage market to snap her up.

It is also follower WomagWriter’s son’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday new adult!

Update on which software

2013 Readers Choice Awards in Genealogy – which would be mainly USA voters – went to:

Best Genealogy Software for Windows
RootsMagic followed very closely by Family Historian

Best Genealogy Software for Mac
Reunion won this category by a landslide

On 27 March

It was a busy day on my Strachan family tree. Thankfully, my other trees had a very quiet day.

27 March 1734
John Alexander was baptised at Auchinleck, Ayrshire, son of John Alexander. He may well be related to my gggg grandmother Susannah Alexander who was baptised in Auchinleck in 1752 and married Thomas Strachan in 1771, and who also had a father called John Alexander. However, so far I haven’t been able to find out what the connection might have been between John baptised 1734 and Susannah baptised 1752. I think he was a bit too young to be her father.

27 March 1839
Janet Strachan was born at Shewalton, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg uncle Samuel Strachan and his wife Margaret Sampson Reid Jamieson. I know quite a bit about Janet thanks to a newspaper article that has been posted online – which I’ve put up here under the Strachan tab because it’s so interesting. She married Alexander Lindsay, coal miner, and the newspaper article is about their Golden Wedding celebrations.

27 March 1858
Elizabeth Wallace was born at Stevenston, daughter of William Wallace (no, not THAT one!) and Elizabeth Auld. She married Samuel Strachan, my half gg uncle and son of my gg grandfather Robert Strachan and his second wife Susan Cran. Elizabeth and Samuel went on to have lots of children, which the Strachans were really good at doing. 

27 March 1873
Mary Findlay born Riccarton, Ayrshire, daughter of James Findlay and Mary Findlay (yes, Mary married a relation). Mary born in 1873 was the great granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan, and my family tree software says she is my third cousin twice removed. This explains why I haven’t got round to finding out anything about her apart from when she was born.

27 March 1896
Two days after his 23rd birthday, my grandfather Henry Strachan (see blog On 25 March) married my grandmother Helen McCrae. They were married at the Commercial Inn, Hurlford, Ayrshire and their marriage certificate says Henry was a coal miner of Crookedholm and Helen was a woollen spinner of Readeney Street, Hurlford. The witnesses were Edison McCabe and Jane Anderson, but I’ve no idea who they were, although I suspect Edison is the Edward McCabe who was age 21 and living in Crookedholm in the 1891 census.

Golden Wedding report from 1910

Under the “Strachan” tab (above) I’ve added a page that contains a transcript of a newspaper report from a 1910 issue of the Kilmarnock Standard that I came across online. I assume it was put online by a descendent of the featured couple so, whoever you are, thank you.

The couple are Janet Strachan, daughter of my ggg grandfather’s brother, and her husband Alexander Lindsay (known as Alex). The newspaper article published to celebrate their 50 years of married life gives a lovely insight into coal miners’ lives at the time, and is reassuring in that the picture it paints is of a better lifestyle than we might perhaps imagine. Certainly they worked very hard and lived in houses we’re very glad we don’t have to live in, but there was also a very obvious sense of family and community pulling together and making life as good as they could. And they had time for leisure: Alex Lindsay was a star of the local Quoiting Club and a keen angler, as well as being on a local education committee. They both came from large families, had twelve children and, by 1910, had 42 grandchildren.

Janet’s birthday was today, so when I was looking up “who did what today” she was on the list, which reminded me of the newspaper article.

On 26 March

26 March 1809
Elizabeth Firth was baptised at Royston, Yorkshire, daughter of Joseph Firth and Hannah Fisher. Joseph Firth was my gggg grandfather, and Elizabeth’s sister was Sarah Firth who married my ggg grandfather William Green of Worsbrough. That makes Elizabeth my gggg aunt. I haven’t researched her beyond her baptism so have no idea what became of her. 

26 March 1843
Sarah Ann Green was baptised at St Mary’s Barnsley, daughter of Joseph and Mary Green, bleacher of Barnsley. Joseph was the brother of my ggg grandfather William Green of Worsbrough. No idea what became of Sarah Ann as I have yet to research her.

26 March 1861
Alexander Strachan was born at Corsehill, son of my gg grandfather Robert Strachan and his second wife Susan Cran, making Alexander my half gg uncle. He’s with his parents in the 1861 census at 24 Kenneth’s Row, age under 1 month, but he’s not with them in 1871 when he would have been 10 and I can’t find him anywhere else, nor can I find a death record for him. He’s a mystery.

26 March 1868
Amelia Murphy Haddow died at Lamont’s Row, Kilwinning age 2. She was the daughter of Hugh Richmond Haddow, who married Marian Mackay. Hugh was the son of my gg grandparents John Haddow and Amelia Murphy, so Amelia Murphy Haddow was obviously named after her grandmother. Hugh and Marion had a second daughter in 1874 and named her Amelia Murphy Haddow, to the name lived on. Amelia became a recurrent name on my Strachan family tree: my father had a sister called Amelia, more commonly known as Milly.

Hmm. Doing this is reminding me that there are a lot of people on my family tree that I know very little about, though I’m glad there’s still plenty more research for me to do.