Monthly Archives: April 2013

On 30 April

Today: an ancestor who migrated to the USA, another early death from TB, and a fun coincidence of names, with a Fraser on the Strachan side reminding me of a Strachan on the Fraser side.

30 April 1789
Birth of Elizbeth Oxley at Barnsley, daughter of William and Elizabeth Oxley and therefore my gggg aunt. I don’t anything else about her as nothing came up on a quick look, and I haven’t yet had the chance to do any closer research.

30 April 1839
Jean Haggerty born at Dundonald, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg uncle Hugh Haggerty, a coal miner, and his wife Jean Muir. Her father died when she was about 10 and in the 1851 census she and her mother are muslin sewers and paupers, which means they received parish relief. In 1857 she married a miner called Stewart or Steward Sharky, although for whatever reason he’s named Thomas on the marriage certificate. Jean, or Jane as she was also called, was working as a domestic servant at the time. In 1861 they’re living at Benslie Square, Kilwinning, the home to many on my family tree, with their eldest two children. Then in late 1869 Jean sailed to the USA with her children and widowed mother, to join her husband who’d gone there earlier the same year. The family are in Van Buren, Clay, Indiana in 1880 with 8 children: Stewart Sharkie is a coal miner, as are the three eldest sons. Stewart did well for himself, and by 1900 is a coal operator and the family are living in Clinton, Vermillion, Indiana. Stewart died in 1901 and afterwards Jean lived in Terre Haute where her sons had become owner managers of several coal companies. Jean Sharkie nee Haggarty died in Terre Haute 1919 age 80. There’s some interesting info online including about the Shirkie family, as they were known in America, at

30 April 1839
This is the first time I’ve had two people on my tree born on the same day! Barbara Morgan was born at Cruden, daughter of Arthur Morgan and Margaret Robb and therefore granddaughter of my ggggg aunt Isobel Sangster and her husband Peter Morgan. Barbara lost her mother when she was about 7 years old, and her father remarried in 1849. In 1851 Barbara, age 11, is at Tillymaud, Cruden, where her father is a farm servant, with her father, stepmother and 4 younger siblings. Sadly, her father died in an accident in 1860. In 1861 Barbara, a domestic servant, is still at Tillymaud along with her younger brothers, all farm servants for Alexander Gray. She married Peter Smith in January 1862 at the Parish School, Cruden, but sadly died later the same year of consumption (tuberculosis).

30 April 1848
Birth of Ann McGavin Strachan at Dreghorn, daughter of my ggg uncle Monro Strachan and his wife Janet Jamieson. Sadly, she had died by the time of the 1851 census.

30 April 1927
My aunt Jeannie Haddow Strachan – sister of my father and named after her grandmother – married William Harper at Dovercourt Road, Toronto. Jean, as she was known, had migrated to Canada in 1921. She had been working as a domestic servant and Bill, as he was known, worked in the rubber industry at the time of their marriage. They had a son Colin, my cousin, who is now a keen follower of this blog. Interestingly, William Harper’s mother was Helen Fraser, and my maternal grandfather had a sister called Helen Fraser who married Alexander Strachan and therefore became Helen Strachan.

On 29 April

Five births today, but I know very little about all of them. There is always more research to do!

29 April 1781
Mary Alexander, my ggggg aunt, was born at Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, daughter of James Alexander and Helen Burgess. She was the sister of Helen Alexander who married Peter Watt, and who were the great grandparents of Helen Hay, the first wife of William Fraser and the mother of my grandfather James Fraser.

29 April 1810
Baptism of Sarah Green at Worsbrough, daughter of John Green, a bleacher, and his wife Mary. Sarah weas the granddaughter of my ggggg grandparents Joseph Gren and Alice Rock, but I haven’t yet researched her any fuirther.

29 April 1837
Birth of James Findlay at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire son of David Findlay and Susannah Strachan and grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan. Unfortunately there’s very little to say as he died in infancy.

29 April 1847
Birth of James Findlay at Dundonald, Ayrshire also son of David Findlay and Susannah Strachan. He died at the age of 15 at Riccarton. Quite weird that the two James’s should be born exactly 10 years apart.

29 April 1933
My half grand uncle Thomas Fraser married Margaret Scott Tocher Gibb at the Manse of Cruden, Aberdeenshire. He was a marine labourer at the time his marriage. Thomas died in 1978 at Ellon, and his widow lived until she was 90.

Next “story of” Strachan page on its way

I’ve started typing up my notes about Robert Strachan born about 1808, my gg grandfather, his two wives, and his (gulp) 15 children. Given the size of the family this won’t be completed overnight, but will be here shortly. I thought I’d try and get as much Strachan information up as I can now that my Canadian relatives are following this blog. However, I’ll be going down to Barnsley to walk in the footsteps of my Green ancestors later this week, and will be taking my camera, so shall try and do a photo story when I get back: lots of old coaching inn will no doubt be featured.

On 28 April

Only one birth to report today, of a 1st cousin 3 times removed.

28 April 1822
Birth of Catherine Adam at Stevenston, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg aunt Margaret Haddow and her husband Francis Adam. I’d not researched her beyond knowing her birth, so had a look to see if anyone on Ancestry had done some decent research, and fortunately someone had, and I also found her in the census. In 1841 she’s with her parents, father a coal miner, in Stevenston with a lodger John Dean, a coal miner, and also a Dean family living next door. In 1 May 1841 Catherine Adam married John Dean – who I assume was the lodger and had been the boy next door – and in 1851 they’re living at Kenneth’s Row, Corsehill, Kilwinning. I’m beginning to wonder if anyone lived in Kenneth’s Row that I wasn’t related to! It’s an address that crops up over and over again. No children for John and Catherine, though, and they remained childless. In 1861 they’re at Dalziel, Lanarkshire, but were back home in Stevenston in 1871. In 1881, age 67, John Deans has changed occupation and is a game keeper, which is certainly different to coal mining and an understandable change at his age. Catherine died in 1888 at Stevenston, aged 65.

On 27 April

Four events today: a possible 6-times-great grandfather, Ann Strachan’s unlucky marriage, a coal miner’s daughter who became a nurse to a minister’s family, and the death of a great grandmother.

27 April 1749
Marriage, at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, of George Sangster and Jean George. They would be my gggggg grandparents if they are the grandparents of Janet Sangster who gave birth to the illegitimate William Fraser in 1805. Then again, my gggggg grandparents could be George Sansgter and Margaret Knox who married in Cruden in 1750. Sadly, the baptism of John Sangster in 1754 only gives his father’s name, and I’m not even sure that’s the right John Sangster! So the Sangsters are still something of a muddle.

27 April 1873
Ann Strachan married Henry O’Neil at the Roman Catholic Chapel, Saltcoats. She wasn’t a Catholic so Henry must have been, and was probably Irish, or from Irish parents. Ann Strachan, born 1841, was the daughter of Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle, but both died when Ann was very young and she’d been brought up by her uncle Henry Strachan and his wife Annie. When she married, Ann was 30 and a domestic servant at Harbour Street, Saltcoats, and Henry was 40 and a lodging house keeper of the same address, so it looks as if Ann was working for him. Sadly for Ann, her husband died only a year after they were married, so it was a very short lived liaison.

27 April 1874
Birth of Mary Findlay at Loudon, Ayrshire, the daughter of Hugh Findlay and Margaret Miller and therefore great granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and his wife Mary Monroe. I’d not done any research on her previously, apart from her birth, so have just had a look online – can only get to 1901 without having to spend a lot of ScotlandsPeople credits, so that’s as far as I went. Her father had been a coal miner, but in 1881 was a grocer in Monkton & Prestwick, which he didn’t do for long and by 1891 he was a colliery manager in Kilmarnock. Mary, age 26, is no longer with her family in 1901 as she is a domestic nurse in Edinburgh with the Macauley family. George Macauley was the Minister of Pilrig United Free Church with a wife and 4 children, and he was born in Irvine, Ayrshire so it may have been an Ayrshire connection through which Mary got the nursing job. Also in the household was 18 year old Annie B Miller, housemaid born Dreghorn, who is probably a relative of Mary’s as Annie has the same surname as Mary’s mother.

27 April 1912
My great grandmother Mary Ann McInerney (or however it was variously written) died in Kilmarnock. She was 75 and died on her own, at her home at 33 High Street, Kilmarnock, so the informant is the Procurator Fiscal (Scottish equivalent of a coroner). Her name is given as Mary Ann McNearney or McCrae, widow – she was married to my great grandfather John McCrae. Her parents are correctly named as John McNearney and Sarah McNearney ms Marshall, both deceased. I’ve been able to trace her mother’s Marshall line but not her father’s – all I know is he was John McInerney from Ireland, and died between 1848 and 1851.

On 26 April: a murder by stabbing

Only one person to report today but he’s interesting: a sailor who was murdered in South America, and whose father had been a butler to Sir Alexander Wallace.

26 April 1833

Birth of John Skeoch Goble at Glasgow. In 1855 he married Janet Spiers Strachan, daughter of my ggg grandfather John Strachan and his second wife. An 1855 Scottish certificate is always a lucky find, as it was the first year of official registration and they went overboard on the information they collected. Officialdom quickly had second thoughts so after 1855 certificates are less detailed. But marriage certificates in 1855 give the birth date and place of the people being married, which is how I found out John Skeoch Goble’s birth details. He was a sailor living in Irvine, and Jane Spiers Strachan was living on the same street (and possibly at the same address).

John Goble turns up on a Certificate of Competency for Second Mate in 1860, giving an address of Halfway, Irvine. In 1861 his wife Janet Goble is at Halfway, Dundonald (which borders Irvine so will be the same address as on John’s certificate) living with her mother Jane Strachan widow age 67, a pauper. No John Goble but he was probably at sea. There’s another Certificate of Competency for John Goble for First Mate in 1865 with an address of 14 East Houston Street, Glasgow.

Next event is the birth of Janet Strachan Goble in 1868 at Cathcart, Renfrewshire to John Skeoch Goble and Janet Spiers Strachan. In 1871 Janet Goble, seaman’s wife, and her daughter Janet Goble are at Waterside, Dundonald along with Matilda Gilkison, who is John Goble’s married sister, and John Goble age 78 formerly a butler, who is John Goble’s father. So that sent me on a detour to find out more about John Goble, butler.

In 1851 John Goble senior was butler to Sir Alexander and Lady Wallace at Lochryan House, which is just north of Stranraer so not all that far from Irvine. John Goble senior had been in the army and is in the roll for the Battle of Waterloo – as is Sir Alexander Wallace, who is on the same Waterloo medals page as the Duke of Wellington, and later reached the rank of General. Sir Alexander Wallace was from Ayrshire and as John Goble was born in London, it could well be Sir Alexander who took him to Scotland. Sir Alexander died in 1857, and in 1861 John Goble is at North Frederick Street, Glasgow, age 67 and a gentleman’s servant – I’ve no idea to whom as he is head of his own household, with no-one living with him.

Back to John Skeoch Goble, son of John the butler, although there is little more to say. He died on 20 August 1871 when he was stabbed at Demerara, British Guiana, South America. A sad ending. His widow Janet remarried in 1877 to pastry chef George Robertson. She was born in May so there’ll be more about her in a month’s time.

On 25 April

Sailing to Canada yet again, and the not very easy life of one of my gg grandmothers.

25 April 1841
Baptism at St Mary’s Barnsley of Margaret Oxley, my gg grandmother and daughter of Thomas Oxley and Sarah Grist. Margaret’s father died when she was young and by 1851 she is living in Worsbrough with her widowed mother, who is receiving parish relief, along with several siblings and a lodger. The family had moved back to Barnsley by 1861 and in 1862 Margaret married my gg grandfather Joseph Green, cabinet maker, who came from Worsbrough. (They were the parents of my great grandfather Joseph Green who is in today’s photo.) By 1871 Joseph and Margaret are living in Worsbrough and have 2 children but had moved back to Barnsley by 1881 with their growing family – 7 children in all, with Joseph continuing to work as a cabinet maker. But in 1911 Joseph Green, age 70, is in the Gawber Road Workhouse, most probably due to ill health as he died the following year, and Margaret was keeping house for her daughter and a nephew. She also died in 1912 age 71. It doesn’t look as if she had the easiest of lives, but one of her daughters didn’t marry and is with her mother in every census, and the two of them seem to have brought up one of Margaret’s grandsons.

25 April 1930
The ship Duchess of Bedford sailed from Greenock destined for Quebec. On it were my grandmother Helen Strachan nee McCrae, my father Robert Strachan, my aunt Helen Aitken nee Strachan and her two children, all going to Toronto where several of the other Strachan siblings had settled. None of the 1930 contingent settled, however, as they returned to Cambuslang the following year. The beauty about detailed passenger lists is they give you the address of whoever they are going to join, and also the address of their nearest relative in Scotland. So I know where my aunt Mary McBride nee Strachan was living in 1930 as well as where relatives were living in Toronto (some of the latter were at Bloor Street, West Toronto).

I now know what my great grandfather looked like

Today I had a lovely long and chatty lunch with a relative I haven’t seen since I was a young girl so we had much to catch up on. Amidst the family story swap we shared old photos we’d inherited, so at long last I have a photo of my great grandfather Joseph Green. Here he is, with my great grandmother Charlotte Green nee Senior. Joseph died in 1925 at the age of 57, so this must have been taken not long before he died. He died of cancer and, looking at the photo, I wonder if this was taken when he was already ill. The location is a mystery as it’s not familiar to me but is most likely to have been taken in Leeds.

Joseph and Charlotte Green

On 24 April

The beauty of doing this every day is you never know what you’re going to find. Today I was reminded that I haven’t done enough research into my Neilson ancestors, plus I found a rarity – a male Strachan born in the 1800s who wasn’t a coal miner.

24 April 1804
Baptism at Govan, Renfrewshire of Agnes Neilson, niece of the Agnes Neilson who married my ggg grandfather John Strachan. The Agnes born in 1804 was the daughter of John Neilson and Catherine Spiers. I haven’t researched her apart from trying to find a marriage, but there were a lot of women called Agnes Neilson getting married at the right time in both Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and I haven’t yet worked out which could have been her.

24 April 1862
Andrew Strachan was born in Dreghorn, Ayrshire, son of Samuel Strachan and Margaret Sampson Reid Jamieson and therefore nephew of my gg grandfather, and one of the few Strachan sons not to go down the mines. Andrew was in Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire by 1881, working as a draper’s assistant for his sister’s husband. He married Annie Terris in 1886 at West Calder, Midlothian, and by 1891 was living in Leith, Midlothian, with children born in Glasgow and Ayr, and was working as a clothier’s salesman. The family then moved to Cowdenbeath, Fifeshire where Andrew was a draper. He died in 1944 at Leith, at the age of 82.

24 April 1976
A cousin’s granddaughter was born at North Shields, Tyneside.

Genealogy: a bad weather interest?

I’m aware I’ve done very little with my genealogy notes for well over a week, and there’s a good reason. It’s spring at last and the weather has been dry and fine, so my time has been taken up with gardening, horse riding, helping out at the rescue centre and just getting outside and enjoying the feel of fresh air. Which has made me wonder who else does a lot more online research, note sorting and reading when it’s wet and cold outside. The only reason I’m inside this afternoon is it’s started raining!

These days, there’s so much that can be done from the comfort of your own home, close to a kettle for those frequently needed cups of tea. (Stopping for a cuppa is a great way to gather thoughts and idea, I find.) It’s a brilliant way to spend a cold and wet winter day.

However, I’m hoping for fine weather towards the end of next week as I’m off down to Barnsley to meet up with a second cousin and fellow genealogist to be shown around my Green family haunts, which happily means doing a bit of a pub crawl as they were innkeepers. It’ll be good to get out and about again instead of sitting in front of a computer screen.

It’s also spurred me on to start planning in earnest for my summer trip to Scotland. I’ve not been up there for ages, and the last time I went was in the middle of winter, so I can’t wait too see my ancestors’ places in (hopefully) fine weather.