On 22 May

A milliner, a migration to Australia, and a fondly remembered aunt who I sadly never met.

22 May 1855
Birth of Mary Hunter Findlay in Riccarton, eldest child of Peter Findlay and Janet Nisbet and great-granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe, through her father and grandmother. In 1861, at age 5, she’s with her mother, grandmother, aunt and brother at Galston Road, so I think they were living in Hurlford. Her grandmother was a spirit dealer. Her father, a collector manager (whatever that may be) who was born in North America, is a boarder with his sister in Hurlford. In 1871 Mary is at the same address with her mother and a servant, and her mother is a public house keeper – she seems to have taken over her mother’s business – and her father has disappeared from the records! In 1881 Mary is still with her mother at Galston Road, but her mother is now a dressmaker and Mary is a milliner, a trade she’s still working at in 1891 when she’s still living with her mother, along with two nieces. Not sure what happened to her after that as I can’t find her in the 1901 census and haven’t yet searched for her death.

22 May 1894
John Rennie was born in Aberdeenshire. Her married Chrissie Gray Morgan, daughter of my great grandfather’s second wife Helen Ann Morgan. John and Chrissie married in December 1922 in Aberdeen by declaration in presence of two witnesses (an irregular marriage, which was perfectly lawful in Scotland at that time), and registered their married the same day. He was a farm servant and there was a good reason for the marriage: Chrissie also gave birth to their daughter in 1922. The marriage was very short lived, as Chrissie died in April tuberculosis in April 1924, and John Rennie migrated to Australia. His daughter was brought up by Chrissie’s mother and stepfather. John Rennie died in Australia in 1950 at age 55.

22 May 1995
My aunt, Jeannie Haddow Strachan, died in Canada at the age of 95. Interestingly, quite a few of her siblings lived to a similar grand age. Jeannie is the mother of my cousin in Canada who follows this blog. Aunt Jean, as I knew her as, and my mother corresponded now and again over the years, even though they never met. I remember when the letter came saying Aunt Jean had died: my mother was very upset as she’d always thought of her fondly.

2 responses to “On 22 May

  1. Thanks Judy; Mom often talked about her Australian family, Colin, Robert, Aida and Dot and hoped to be able to visit. Sadly that never happened. Colin.

    • My father often said he’d have loved a trip to Canada but that never happened either. I’m so glad you got your trip. I’d love to visit Canada, and maybe now I’m retired I can find the time at last.

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