Monthly Archives: May 2013

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.

On 21 May

A reminder that there are a few coal miners on my two Yorkshire trees, so I have coal miners on the family trees of three out of four of my grandparents.

21 May 1792
Baptism of Jean Hay in Tarves, Aberdeenshire daughter of of my gggg grandparents Alexander Hay and Margaret Daniel. And that is all I know about her at the moment, as she has a very common name for that location and if she did marry, I don’t know which marriage is hers. There’s a puzzle attached to her, though, as there was a second baptism on the same day, to the same parents, of a child who wasn’t named. Was there a twin who wasn’t expected to survive?

21 May 1903
Baptism of Gladys Slee at Thornes, Wakefield, Yorkshire, daughter of John Slee and Lilian Burton and a descendent of my ggg grandparents William Green and Sarah Firth. Sadly Gladys died in 1904, age 1, at Basford, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Her father was a coal miner.

21 May 1947
A first cousin was born in Leeds.

On 20 May

Amazing – a nothing day today. That doesn’t happen often with my family tree.

On 19 May

Today: ancestors who migration, one to the USA and two to Canada.

19 May 1829
Birth of John Howat at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire eldest son of Peter Thomas Howat and Janet Strachan and grandson of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelley. A coal miner, naturally, John Howat married Margaret Bain, a widow, in 1860 in Dreghorn before migrating to USA with their children in 1869. They went to Illinois, where they were to be joined by quite a few relatives from both the Howat/Strachan and the Bain sides. The US census shows them near Braidwoodm with John working as a coal miner.

19 May 1865
Birth of Thomas Fraser at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, son of Robert Fraser and Chrstian Ogden. He was descended from Donald Fraser and Margaret Sharp, whose son William Fraser is the suspected father of my illegitimate ggg grandfather. Thomas Fraser grew up on the farm/croft next door to the Fraser croft at Mosside, near Hatton. There’s a Thomas Fraser age 15 born Cruden in the 1881 census, a grocer’s apprentice in Ellon, but I’m not sure if he’s the right one and he’s proved to be elusive after that.

19 May 1902
Birth of Margaret Robertson, baptised Maggie Bella Grant Fraser, at Mosside Croft, Hatton, Aberdeenshire, illegitimate daughter of my half gg aunt Margaret Fraser. Her mother married Robert Robertson not long afterwards. At the age of 18, Margaret migrated to Canada and went to Winnipeg to join her aunt. In 1923 she married Charles George Greig at St Boniface, Manitabo. They had a daughter and Margaret died in Winnipeg in 1996.

19 May 1919
A Strachan cousin was born in Ayrshire before migrating to Canada with her parents: her father was my father’s eldest brother.

On 18 May

Today includes an ancestor who married a comedian. I’m sure plenty of my ancestors were comedians, but this is the only one who earned a living from making people laugh.

18 May 1763
My gggg aunt Agnes Marshall was born in Kilmarnock, the daughter of Alexander Marshall and Agnes Gibson. She might be the Agnes Marshall who married William Syme in Irvine, but also she might not be.

18 May 1809
Birth of Elizabeth Fraser at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, daughter of who I suspect is my ggggg uncle Andrew Fraser and his wife Jean Walker. In 1841 and 1851 she’s unmarried and living with her parents at Brickworks, Peterhead, and in the household is her uncle William Fraser who I think is my gggg grandfather who had been in the army. Also in the household is Elizabeth’s two illegitimate children. By 1861 she’s the head of the household at South Turnpike, Seafield, a crofter of 2.5 acres, and her Chelsea Pensioner uncle is still living with her, along with assorted family members including a grandson. She was the informant at the death of her uncle in 1864.

18 May 1833
Birth of Mary Georgina Green at Sonning, Berkshire, daughter of my gggg uncle Samuel Green and his wife Mary. Her father was a licensed victualler and moved about rather a lot. In 1841 the famil are Baldwin street, City Road, London. Georgina, as she was known, is a servant to a licensed victualler in Marylebone in 1851, and in 1860 married widower and comedian Thomas Edward Wharton at Marylebone. Frustratingly, I cannot find them in the census after their marriage and given the occupation of Thomas it would be interesting to know what happened to them. However, there’s a death for Mary G Wharton born about 1834 registered in Wandsworth, London in 1914.

18 May 1835
Birth of Ann Strachan, daughter of Peter Strachan and Ann Houston, at Kilmarnock, Aryshire and granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. They lived in Kilmarnock and Dreghorn, and after leaving school Ann worked as a hand sewer. She married cola miner William Gold in 1857 and they lived in Hurlford, and had children. Ann died age 39 in 1875 of congestion of lungs and paralysis of right side. Her husband remarried.

18 May 1845
Birth of William Souter Morgan at Cruden, son of Arthur Morgan and Margaret Robb and grandson of Isobel Sangster, my ggggg aunt. He was with his parent at Tillymaud, Cruden in 1851 and again in 1861, although his father had died by then, a cattleman working for farmer Alexander Gray. Willliam married Jane Aitken in 1865 at Longside, who had aleady given birth to two of his children, and in 1871 he’s a farm servant at Lochside, Cruden with his wife, 4 children and his brother. The family, with more children, are at Collie Hill, Cruden in 1891, at Little Tillymaud, Cruden in 1891, and at Kennedy’s Buildings, Cruden in 1901 with their younger children, 4 grandchildren and a boarder. Then in 1911 William Morgan, farm servant, is an inmate at the Asylum, and he died in 1917 at the Royal Asylum Aberdeen in 1917 of acute bronchitis.

On 17 May

Mainly a focus on deaths today, for ancestors where I don’t have an exact birth date. Plus a is she mine or not ancestors, and a WW2 death.

17 May 1773
Birth of Cecilia Hutcheon at Longside, Aberdeenshire father James Hutcheon, mother not named. What I can’t be sure of is whether she is the daughter of my ggggg grandfather James Hutcheon or some other James Hutcheon. To confuse matters further, she married at Longside in 1795 to a James Hutcheon. So she might belong to my Hutcheon line or she might not. Though if not, no doubt her line would link to mine going further back in time.

17 May 1877
Death of Robert Strachan age about 70 at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning, my gg grandfather. No baptism record can be found for Robert, but he was born in around 1807, son of John Strachan and Agnes Neilson, and as his parents were moving around at the time – to and fro between Lanarkshire, Stirlingshire and eventually back to Ayrshire – it’s a guess as to where he was born. But when he was about 7 years he family were living in Riccarton, Ayrshire, which is where he’d have started working in the coal mines, before they moved to Shewalton Colliery. Robert’s mother died when he was about 18 and in 1828, when he was about 21, he married Margaret Haggerty, also from Shewalton Colliery. In the 1841 census they are at Shewalton with 8 children aged from 14 to 8 months. They had another child in 1842 and then moved to Kilwinning, where Robert’s wife Margaret died in 1848, in the same month as Robert’s brother Peter. This was probably during a typhus or cholera epidemic. Robert married Susan Cran in 1850, had 6 more children (making 15 in total) and lived in Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning for the rest of his life. He died in 1877 of chronic bronchitis and was buried in Brigend Cemetery. More about Robert Strachan can be found on his page under the Strachan tab.

17 May 1918
Death of James Fraser in Aberdeen, my ggg uncle and son of William Fraser and Christian Hutcheon. His baptism entry in Cruden OPR says he was born and baptised in August 1847 but doesn’t give a date. He is at Mosside croft with his parents and siblings in 1851 and 1861, but can’t be found in 1871, then in 1880 he married Margaret Glennie at the Waverley Hotel in Aberdeen, and his occupation is tailor manager. His address was Hatton and she was of Yonderton near Hatton, so it would be interesting to know why they married in Aberdeen. James and Maggie are in Hatton in 1881, with a 1 year old daughter, and James is a tailor. He remained a tailor in Hatton for some time and had 7 children. In 1911, however, the family are in George Street, Aberdeen and James is a tailor maker, with two of his daughters working for him. He died there in 1918, not long after his wife died.

17 May 1944
Found online: Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. Ballantyne, Private, Alexander Marshall, A/3083, Royal Canadian Regiment. 17 May 1944. Age 31. Son of James M. and Agnes Ballantyne; husband of Margaret Ballantyne, of Galt, Ontario, Canada. Grave Ref. V. J. 23. Alexander must have been descended from Thomas Ballantine and Susanna Strachan, whose son John Ballantine migrated to Canada in 1867.

Music to “Jeanie Strachan”

One of today’s featured ancestors is Munro Strachan, who was a Pipe Major with the Scots on Tyneside. He wrote and arranged music too, and searching online I found the music to a piece he wrote called “Jeanie Strachan” – which I’m assuming he named for his daughter. I thought I’d post it here as it means my cousin Colin in Canada now has music bearing the same name as his mother.

Jeanie Strachan music