Monthly Archives: May 2013

On 27 May

My ggg grandfather, his wife and his brother-in-law were all baptised on 27 May, though different years, which is a remarkable coincidence. Plus yet another coal miner migrated to Illinois.

27 May 1804
Baptism of my ggg grandmother Christian Hutcheon at Longside, birth date not recorded, daughter of Alexander Hutcheon tailor and Agnes Bruce, who lived at Innervedie. In 1823 Christian gave birth to an illegitimate son, John Bisset: the OPR for Longside has “11 April 1823, baptized John Bisset n. son of John Bisset & Christian Hutchison, Innervedie” (n. son = natural son). On 17 January 1828 Christian married William Fraser (who was born almost exactly a year later – see below) at Longside and not long after moved to Mosside Croft, near Hatton, parish of Cruden. Christian had 10 children with William Fraser, and remained at Mosside croft for the rest of her life. She died on 31 August 1874 at Mosside age 70, of enteritis. The informant was her brother Keith Hutcheon who lived in Hatton, and was also baptised on 27 May (see below).

27 May 1805
Baptism of my ggg grandfather William Fraser at Cruden, Aberdeenshire. His baptism entry reads: “27 May 1805 John Sangster in Burnthill presented a child to baptism begot in fornication by William Fraser (as the mother Janet Sangster affirms). The child was baptised and named William. Witnesses John Davidson and William Sangster.” I eventually worked out that the most likely candidate for his father was the William Fraser who was in the 92nd Highland Regiment, and who may well have enlisted at about the time Janet Sangster gave birth to William. If this is correct, then after being shot during the Napoleonic Wars, William Fraser senior lived south of Peterhead, close to Cruden. There seem to be a few connections between the families so William junior seems to have known who his father was. William’s mother Janet Sangster married William McWilliam of Longside in May 1812, when William was almost 7 years old so William may have lived with them at Nether Kinmundy, which is very close to the Longside/Cruden border, or he may have lived with his Sangster grandparents, but William probably worked as a farm servant from as young as 12 years old. He married Christian Hutcheon in January 1828 in the parish of Longside. Apart from the eldest who was baptised in Longside, the children of William and Christian were baptised in Cruden parish and their baptism records indicate William and Christian had taken the lease of Mosside croft, which is between Nether Kinmundy and the village of Hatton, not long after they were married. The croft is now in ruins (or at least was when I last saw it). William remained at Mosside for the rest of his life and can be tracked through the census. In 1841 he is described as a farmer, in 1851 a shoemaker, in 1861 he is a farmer of 2 acres and in 1871 farms 2 acres arable. He and Christian had 10 children, and from at least 1851 until sometime after 1871 they had living with them, listed as a lodger or boarder, John Black, a death and dumb pauper born in Cruden. I’ve yet to work out exactly who he was. In the 1864 Valuation Roll, Mosside Croft is one of five tenants under £4 of small crofts at Yonderton, owner Alexander Philop of Mansion House, Yonderton. William’s wife Christian died in 1874 and William Fraser died 17 June 1877 at Mosside at the age of 72 of cardiac dropsy (heart failure).

27 May 1811
Baptism of my gggg uncle Keith Hutcheon at Longside, son of Alexander Hutcheon tailor and Agnes Bruce, who lived at Innervedie. In 1839, Keith married Barbara King, a widow with 5 children: Keith was 27 years old but Barbara was considerably older. She gave birth to their daughter Barbara 4 months later. In 1841 they are at Tuechan, Cruden, and Keith is a tailor, as was his father. Living with them are Barbara’s youngest son George with her first husband William Craighead, and daughter Barbara. They are still there in 1851, still with 1 child. Barbara died some time between 1851 and 1855. Keith can’t be found in the 1861 census, but he married again in June 1861 to Anne McPherson in Aberdeen, and Keith gave his address as Hatton. In 1871 they are at The Cottage, Hatton, Keith a tailer and letter carrier, with 5 children, and they are there in 1881, Keith still a tailor, and again in 1891 when Keith is a retired tailor. He died in June 1891 at Hatton, at the age 80, from cerebral apoplexy (likely to be a stroke).

27 May 1854
Birth of Samuel Miller at Kilmaurs, Ayrshire. In 1874 at Dreghorn he married Jean Strachan, daughter of John Strachan and Margaret Lambie and granddaughter of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. In 1881 Samuel, his wife and infant daughter Catherine migrated to USA and went to Illinois. Samuel was a coal miner and they lived in Coal City, Braceville where Samuel died in 1894 age 40.

On 26 May

Some frustrating ancestors today, who haven’t left much trace of themselves in the records.

26 May 1773
Baptism of Timothy Fisher at Royston, Yorkshire, son of Thomas Fisher and Lydia Hudson. He was my ggggg uncle as his sister Hannah married Joseph Firth, and their daughter Sarah married William Green of Worsbrough. Timothy married Mary Kaye, from Tankersley, in 1794 and they lived in Tankersley, where they had 9 children. Unfortunately that’s all I’ve been able to find out about him.

26 May 1775
Baptism of Daniel Fraser at Cruden, son of Donald Fraser and Margaret Sharp. If I’m correct in my theory that Donald Fraser’s son William was the father of my illegimate gggg grandfather, then Daniel is my ggggg uncle. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything else for him: he may have died in infancy or childhood.

26 May 1865
Birth of Ann Stewart Strachan at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, daughter of John Strachan and Christina Houston McGill and granddaughter of my ggg uncle Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle. Her father was a coal miner, and she was with her parents in 1871 in Kilmarnock and in 1881 at Kilmaurs, when she was working as a dressmaker. In 1891 she’s a domestic servant for a farming family in Dalry. Ann died in Kilmarnock in 1893 at age 28.

26 May 1860
Death of my gg grandmother Mary McCrae nee Henderson at Kilmarnock. There’s no record of her birth or baptism, but her death certificate – for which her son John McCrae was informant – states her parents were John Henderson labourer and Jean Henderson ms McCrae and she was 57 when she died. This puts her birth date at around 1803. Unfortunately, she’s a mystery. There’s a Mary McCrae in Kilmarnock in the 1841 census, a widow with children age 15 and 10 plus a John McCrae age 6 months, which is the right age for my great grandfather John, but as I can’t find any of them in the 1851 census or find birth records, it’s difficult to say with certainty that it’s the right family. The 1841 family were all involved with hand loom weaving, which doesn’t sound quite right if their father was a labourer and one of the sons became a coal miner. Mary McCrae died in 1860 at 2 Low Church Lane, Kilmarnock at age 57 of consumption (tuberculosis). That her mother was a McCrae and then Mary married a McCrae is confusing, and I can’t help wondering if her son John got some information wrong when he registered his mother’s death. And I suspect the Hendersons came from Ireland.

On 25 May

Today: twins, a London connection and a death in the Poorhouse.

25 May 1857
Birth at Dreghorn, Ayrshire of Catherine Strachan, twin of Susan and daughter of gg uncle Samuel Strachan and Margaret Sampson Reid Johnson. In 1861 and 1871 Catherine is with her parents and siblings in Dreghorn, but in 1881 she’s in Elm Bank, Edinburgh as a maid to Ella Cowan and her sister Mary. As Mary Cowan was born in Haddington, there may be a connection to the husband of Catherine’s elder sister Jeanie, who married David Gillam from Haddington. I haven’t researched Catherine fully, but it looks as if she married James Campbell, who was born in England, in 1885 at Dreghorn. Can’t find them in 1891 but in 1901 they’re at Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire where James Campbell is manager of a fire clay works, and they have a daughter Kate.

25 May 1857
Birth at Dreghorn, Ayrshire of Susan Strachan, twin of Catherine and daughter of gg uncle Samuel Strachan and Margaret Sampson Reid Johnson. She died on 6 March 1858 in Dreghorn.

25 May 1883
Birth of Elsie Maude Green at Chelsea, London, daughter of George Edwin Green and Sarah Maria Sampson, and granddaughter of my gggg uncle Samuel Green. Her father was a gold lace salesman and in 1891 the family, with Elsie age 7, are at 48 Albert Street, Chelsea. Her mother died in 1891 and in 1894 her father remarried. In 1901 they are still at 48 Albert Street but it is now in Paddington, and Elsie, age 17, is an upholsterer’s trimmer’s apprentice. In 1911 she is still with her father and stepmother but they have moved to 63 St George’s Avenue, Tufnell Park and Elsie is a shop assistant for a dyer and cleaners. She died in 1919 age 36.

25 May 1905
Death of my gg aunt Agnes Strachan: there isn’t a birth or baptism record for her but she was born about 1828 at Shewalton Colliery, daughter of Robert Strachan and Margaret Haggerty. Her mother died in Kilwinning in about 1846, and being the second eldest Agnes no doubt then helped at home and with her many younger siblings. In 1850 she married William Kean at Kilwinning. In 1851 Agnes and William are at 8 Crescent Row, Eglinton Iron Works, Kilwinning and William is a coal miner. By 1861, where their surname is written Cain, they’re at 53 Single Row, Kilwinning and have 4 children. They moved to 42 Byrehill Row, Kilwinning by 1871 and had another 3 children, and were still there in 1881, along with a grandson Robert Cain, the illegitimate son of their daughter Rebecca. William Kean died in 1887, and in 1891 Agnes is still at 42 Byrehill Row, Kilwinning but the head of the household is her son John Cain, a coal miner with his wife Mary and 7 children; Agnes age 62 is an outdoor worker. Can’t find her in the 1901 census, though it’s possible she’s the Annie Strachan age 72, living and working as a servant with Elizabeth Dyet age 77 at the Eglinton Arms Hotel, near Abbey Gate, Kilwinning as at the moment I can’t work out who else it could be and the names Aggie and Annie are perhaps easy for a census enumerator to mix up. Agnes died in 1905 at Cunningham Combination Poorhouse, Irvine, of senile debility, which these days we would refer to as dementia.

On 24 May

When you can’t find an accurate birth date, a marriage date will have to do.

24 May 1829
William Grist, my ggg uncle, married Emma Wood at Penistone, Yorkshire. I think this is the right marriage for him, as I know he married an Emma. As I can’t find a birth or baptism record for him, this marriage date will have to be his blog event. William Grist was born about 1804, to Henry and Ann Grist, and according to the census was born in Bentley, which is east of Barnsley and just north of Doncaster. In 1841, William and Emma were at Smithley, which is between Worsbrough and Wombwell, William working as a turner and with 5 children. By 1851 they have moved to Blacker Hill, near Worsbrough, and William had become a grocer and flour dealer, their eldest son is a smith, and two younger sons are grocers. They also had two coal miners living with them as lodgers. They’re at the same address in 1861 but William gives his occupation as iron turner, and living with them are daughter Eliza Cook and granddaughter Epsy Cook. By 1871 they’ve moved to Nether Hoyland and their granddaughter Epsy is still with them. William Grist died in 1880 age 74 according to his death registration.

24 May 1981
Birth of the grandson of one of my Strachan cousins in South Shields.

On 23 May

Only two events today, both Strachans going back as far as that branch of my family tree can go.

23 May 1779
Charles Strachan was baptised in Irvine, son of Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander and therefore my gggg uncle. He would have been about 6 years old when the family moved to the Gorbals. No further records for him have been found: there is no marriage record for what could be him in the OPRs and he does not appear in the 1841 census, when he would have been 62. There is no death record for him in Gorbals OPR.

23 May 1812
Possible death of my gggg grandfather Thomas Strachan. I say possible because there’s an entry in Gorbals OPR that simply says “1812 May 23 Thomas Strachan age 70 decline.’ Thomas had moved to Gorbals in the early 1790s. Most of his sons had moved back to Ayrshire by 1812, but I’ve no idea whether Thomas accompanied them or not. In 1812 he would have been about 63 if the 1749 birth date is correct (which it might not be), but ages tended to be very approximate in those days – and an age at death was whatever the person reporting the death said. So the death in Gorbals could well be him, but there’s a chance it for another Thomas Strachan.

Genealogy: something good to spend your money on

I don’t mind spending money on genealogy. It’s an interest I choose to do and I don’t expect others or the government (which means tax payers) to subsidise my hobby. But you do need some money to do it properly. I shudder to think how much I spend with ScotlandsPeople – I don’t keep a running total as it would scare me! Plus there are lots of great books, which I’m addicted to anyway and so can rarely resist, and subscriptions to a couple of genealogy data-based sites. Plus travel costs if you get out and about.

Today I’ve just ordered some books online, so am looking forward to their arrival. I’ve run out of credits on ScotlandsPeople and need to buy more. I’ve just joined the Family History Society of Buchan. Last week I booked hotels for my trip to Aberdeenshire in a month’s time – when the cost of petrol, meals and other bits and bobs is added in it won’t be the cheapest holiday ever, but for me it’s definitely preferable to a week on a crowded beach somewhere else.

Anyway, I’ve retired now and worked hard for a lot of years to build up my nest egg. It’s time to spend it my way!

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.