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.

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