Monthly Archives: June 2013

On 30 June

Only one event again today: someone who lived on the same Kilmarnock street from marriage until death.

30 June 1885
Birth of Agnes McCrae Downie at Kilmarnock, daughter of Samuel Downie and my great aunt Sarah McCrae. (She was the niece of my grandmother, Helen (Nell) Strachan nee McCrae). In 1891 and 1901 Agnes is with her parents in Kilmnarnock, her father Samuel a hammerman then labourer born in Ireland, and by age 15 she was a mill worker. Agnes married Samuel Craig McCulloch on 23 October 1908 at Riccarton, and they both gave their address as 36 New Street, which is next to Riccarton Parish Church though all the old houses are now demolished. Samuel MCulloch was a coal miner. A tree on Ancestry has two children for them: Sarah born 1909 and Rebecca born 1910. In 1911 and again in 1921 Samuel McCulloch sailed to New York, the first time to go to Canton, Massachusetts and the second time to go to Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He returned to Riccarton both times and there is no evidence that Agnes and their daughters ever went to the US. The passenger lists for both journeys give Samuel’s nearest relative as his wife Agnes of New Street, Ricccarton. Agnes McCulloch nee Downie died age 72 at Kilmarnock and her husband Samuel died in 1958 age 84. A tree on Ancestry says he died at 33 New Street, Kilmarnock, so it looks as if they’d lived on the same street ever since their marriage.

On 29 June

Again there’s only one event to report on today.

29 June 1817
Birth of Elizabeth Adam at Stevenston, Aryshire, daughter of Francis Adam and my ggg aunt Margaret Haddow. I think Elizabeth must have died in infancy: Francis Adam collier and Margaret Haddow are in the 1819 minister’s census for Stevenston, with children Margaret, Robert, Ann and Catherine – but no Elizabeth.

On 28 June

Another quiet day in ancestor land. A good day for the Brits at Wimbledon, though – so it’s now “Come on Laura and Andy!”

28 June 1795
Baptism of Sarah Firth at Royston, Yorkshire, daughter of Joseph Firth and Hannah Fisher and my gggg aunt: her sister married William Green of Worsbrough. As she has a sister also named Sarah, born in 1811, I assume the Sarah born in 1795 died in childhood.

Longside Kirk Session Minutes: Christian Hutcheon compeared

As I knew my ggg grandfather’s wife Christian Hutcheon had had an illegitimate child before her marriage to William Fraser, I was expecting to find it mentioned in the Longside Kirk Session Minutes – and sure enough, it was. She was compeared on 23 March 1823, and the father of the child, John Bisset, was also compeared and admitted he was the father. John Bisset sounds as if he was an agricultural labourer, and therefore moved from farm to farm, and was in the parish of Old Deer by 23 March 1823.

Hutcheon & Bisset A

This was very shortly before Christian gave birth, as her son John Bisset was baptised on 11 April 1823 at Longside.

Christian and John Bisset did not marry, however, and in December 1824 she asked to be absolved: interestingly there is no mention of a fine this time.

Hutcheon & Bisset B

Both her appearances in the Kirk Session Minutes, and the OPR baptism entry for her son, say Christian was from Innervedie. This was her parents’ home and was where Christian was born; the 1820 burial entry for her father also mentions Innervedie. It is close to Nether Kinmundy, where Christian’s future husband William Fraser was most probably brought up, and is not far from Mosside croft, where Christian and William Fraser were to settle.


Mosside Croft is to the south-east of Nether Kinmundy and Innervedie, at the other side of the moss.

Christian Hutcheon married William Fraser on 17 January 1828, at Longside, and there is no evidence there was a baby was on the way at the time! Her illegitimate son John Bisset is a farm servant in 1841, near Ellon, and is with his mother and stepfather in 1851, at Mosside croft, a pauper formerly ag lab. Nothing else found, and no death certificate, so it’s most probable he died between 1851 and 1854.

On 27 June

Only one event today: a distant Aberdeenshire ancestor. And I’m up to date again.

27 June 1747
Baptism of Isobel Keith at Crimond, Aberdeenshire who was born at Kirktoun, Crimond, the daughter of James Keith, mother not named. I think she is the Isobel Keith who gave birth to the illegitimate Agnes Bruce (see previous post): if so, then Isobel is my ggggg grandmother. The 1781 baptism entry for Agnes Bruce, who was baptised at Crimond, gives her parents as Andrew Bruce in Cruden now deceased and Isobel Keith, and states that Agnes was “begotten in fornication”. The sponsor was John Farquhar in Little Bilbo. In 1784 there is a marriage of Isobel Keith and James Wylie at Crimond, but no baptisms of children of this couple have yet been found.

Longside Kirk Session Minutes: naughty gggg grandparents!

The Longside Kirk Session Minutes proved to be fruitful: that particular kirk session was clearly very keen to track down and deal with couples who indulged in pre-marital sex. Given that such couples were fined, I’ve always thought that the zeal with which this was done but the kirk sessions was only partly an attempt to “improve” the behaviour of parishioners: the financial contribution it made, especially to the Poor Box, must have been a major incentive. The fines were not insubstantial – possibly a few week’s wages.

While trawling through the Longside minutes in the reading room in Edinburgh, I noted down any mentions of surnames that appear on my family tree: Hutcheon/Hutchison, Logan, Bruce, Matthew, Watt, Sangster, Fraser, Williamson/McWilliam, Booth and Morgan, all made an appearance from the mid 1700s to the 1830s. I didn’t get any further than that, although the number being compeared for fornication was reducing by then. As the number of illegitimate births wasn’t decreasing – in fact it was probably increasing – it seems that the kirks were becoming more lenient by then, or simply couldn’t keep up with the number of cases. I have yet to go through my family tree to see whether the ones I made a note of relate to people on my tree, but I suspect a number of them do.

But in the minutes for 1800 there was one case which very obviously was my ancestor. On 20 April 1800, Agnes Bruce was interrogated by the kirk session for being unmarried and with child, and gave the father’s name as Alexander Hutcheon. They are my gggg grandparents. I see it as they were simply being human.

Hutcheon & Bruce A
Click on the image to see it at larger size

They were then both called before the kirk session on 4 May 1800, and Alexander did the gentlemanly thing and admitted he was the father. Then on the 15 June they were absolved from guilt upon payment of a fine of 10 shillings each.

Hutcheon & Bruce B
Click on the image to see it at larger size

From this I now know that Alexander Hutcheon, born 1777, was a tailor at Kinmundy, which is where my ggg grandfather William Fraser was possibly brought up if he lived wit his mother when he was a child, and in 1800 Agnes Bruce, born illegitimate in Crimond, was at Parkhill, just up the road – she may well have been working as a farm or domestic servant.

Agnes and Alexander married on 26 July 1800 at Longside, and their first child James was baptised on 6 September 1800. They tended to get babies baptised within a few days of birth back then, so he was probably born late August or early September, so Agnes would have been about 5 months pregnant when she was first compeared in April. Agnes and Alexander went on to have a large family, with Alexander Hutcheon dying in 1820 at age 43 and Agnes dying in 1866 at the age of 84.

Their daughter Christian then made an appearance in the minutes in 1823 when she gave birth to an illegitimate son – more of that tomorrow.

On 26 June

Only two events today, so I’m catching up quickly. A dramatic start to Wimbledon is proving a distraction, though there was a bit of a lull this afternoon due to rain.

26 June 1720
Baptism of Elizabeth Rock at Worsbrough, Yorkshire who was my ggggggg aunt. She was the daughter of Abraham Rock, collier, but her mother was not named at her baptism. Nothing further found for her.

26 June 1817
Baptism of Jean Keith at Longside, Aberdeenshire, daughter of George Keith and Jean Simpson. In the 1841 census she’s an agricultural labourer in Longside parish working for farmer Robert Cassie. Later that year she married my gggg uncle James Booth, although I can’t find an OPR entry for their marriage. He was a labourer, and in the census for 1851, 1861 and 1871 they’re at Nether Kinmundy, where several of my ancestors lived. By 1881 they’d taken over a 6 acre croft at Redbog Road, Longside, which is very close to both Nether Kinmundy and the Fraser croft at Mosside. Jean (also Jane) died in 1895 at age 78.

On 25 June

Only one event, for someone who may have died in infancy.

25 June 1796
An unnamed male child was baptised in Kilmarnock, son of my ggg grandparents Robert Marshall and Agnes Logan. Given the lack of a first name it’s impossible to trace him, and it probable he died in infancy. Baptisim without a name can indicate that the baby wasn’t expected to live.

On 24 June

Still trying to catch up: today is a real mixture.

24 June 1758
Birth of gggg uncle William Wilson at Stevenston, Aryshire, son of James Wilson and Agnes Smith, and sister of Jane Wilson, who was the great grandmother of Jean Haddow who married my great grandfather Joseph Strachan. He may be the William Wilson who married Margaret Gordon at Stevenston in 1758: if he is they had 6 children baptised, in Irvine and in Stevenston. A clue that this could be the right couple is that they called one of their daughters Amelia, a name that runs throughout this side of my family tree. Nothing else known as he seems to have died before the 1841 census.

24 June 1798
Baptism of Hannah Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of my ggggg uncle John Green and Mary Addey. Unfortunately I can’t find anything else for her, so it’s possible she died in infancy.

24 June 1810
Birth of ggg uncle Haggerty at Glenbuck, Ayrshire, son of Joseph Haggerty and Jean Orr and sister of Margaret Haggerty who married my gg grandfather Robert Strachan. Hugh Haggerty married Janet Muir at Dundonald in 1837, and in the 1841 census they are at Fullerton Street, parish of Dundonald, but which would be thought of as Irvine these days. He was a coal miner and he and wife Jean had a young daughter, plus an 8 year old sister of Jean Orr living with them. Hugh must have died in about 1849, as in 1851 his widow is living with her mother, Ann Muir, and is muslin sewer and pauper, with 3 children. Hugh’s daughter Jean married Stewart Shirkie and migrated to the USA where they founded the successful coal business family of Shirkie.

24 June 1854 (born about 1832)
My gg aunt Margaret Fraser was born about 1832 in Aberdeenshire, either in Longside or Cruden, although no baptism can be found for her. She was the 3rd child of William Fraser and Christian Hutcheon. She grew up on the family croft, called Mossnook in the 1841 census, and in the 1851 census she is house servant to the Rennie family at Mossnook. In 1854 she married William Dickie, and they are at Auchleuchries, Cruden in 1861, William Dickie an agricultural labourer, and have 2 children plus a lodger. In 1871 they are at Dudwick, Savoch, Old Deer, William Dickie is a crofter of 7 acres, and have had another 4 children. By 1881 however, they have moved to North Mains of Boddom, Peterhead, where William is a general labourer. 3 more children have arrived and 5 children are still living with their parents. Margaret Dickie nee Fraser died in 1887 at the age of 55 at Boddom, of cardiac disease.

24 June 1854
Birth of James Hutcheon or Hutchison at Longside, Aberdeenshire, son of Alexander Hutcheon and Margaret Hutcheon and grandson of my gggg grandparents Alexander Hutcheon and Agnes Bruce. James is with his parents in 1861 at High Street, Longside and in 1871 is a farm servant at Rora, Longside. In 1877 he married Catherine Campbell at Longside, and they are in the 1881 census at View Field Cottage, Banff with a daughter, and James Hutchison is a domestic gardener. Catherine died, however, and in 1887 James married Sarah Leask Kennedy at Macduff, Banff and she became stepmother to James’ 3 daughters. By 1891 they had moved to Prospect Terrace, Kintore, James still working as a domestic gardener but with no children of their own. In 1901 their address is Muirland Cottage, Kintore, James is still a domestic gardener, and they have living with them an adopted son born in Methlick. I haven’t researched James any further.

On 23 June

A few days to catch up on, so I’m hoping not a lot happened over the next few days. But there’s a very important event today – my oldest known Strachan direct ancestor.

23 June 1749
Birth of my gggg grandfather Thomas Strachan, who was baptised at Muirkirk, Ayrshire on 2 July. The entry in the OPR says “1749 Strachan, Thomas. Bastard son of Thomas Strachan and Agnes Patrick was born 23rd June and baptized on the 2nd July in the kirk.” However, there is no proof that this is the same Thomas who married Susannah Alexander in Irvine in 1771, although it seems highly likely. Susannah Alexander was born near Muirkirk (Birnieknowe, parish of Auchinleck) and Thomas and Susannah named one of their daughters Agnes, although not their second born as you’d expect if they’d stuck rigidly to the Scottish naming pattern. Their first 8 children were baptised in Irvine, where Thomas Strachan was a coal miner, and then the family moved to Gorbals, across the river Clyde from Glasgow, and most probably worked at the Govan coal pits. Their 2 youngest children were baptised there. There is a burial entry at Gorbals on 23 May 1812 for Thomas Strachan age 70, which gives a birth date of 1742, but ages were by no means accurate in those days. However, some of his sons were back in Ayrshire well before 1812, with his son Robert getting married in Riccarton in 1803, so it possible Thomas and Susannah returned to Ayrshire sometime after the birth of their youngest child in 1795.

23 June 1802
Birth of Ann Fraser in Cruden, son of Andrew Fraser and Jean Walker. Andrew Fraser was my ggggg uncle as he was the brother of the William Fraser who was the father of illegitimate William Fraser born in 1805. In 1835 she married William Mutch at Peterhead. In 1841 they are Dee Village, Oldmachar with 2 young children and William is a tilemaker. Can’t find them in 1851 but in 1861 they’re at Nigg, Kincardineshire at the Torry Farm Brickworks where William is a brickmaker. With them are two daughters, a grandson and 9 year old lodger. They’re still there in 1871, with a granddaughter and two lodgers. By 1881 they’ve moved back to Peterhead and are at the Downiehills Brickwork Cottages, William formerly a brick maker. Ann is still at Downiehills in 1891, a widow and annuitant, living with her niece and carious members of the extended Mutch family – all the men ate brick makers. Ann Mutch nee Fraser died in 1893 at the age of 91, of old age, at Downiehills.