On 3 August

Today: one of my gg grandmothers who moved from Aberdeenshire to Edinburgh, and yet another Fraser descendent who died of tuberculosis.

3 August 1929 (born in about 1843)
My gg grandmother Helen Watt was born in about 1843 at Ellon, but no baptism has been found. She was the daughter of crofter James Watt of Tarves and Margaret Symon. In 1851 Helen, age 7, is with her parents and siblings at Old Mill of Shivas, Tarves, on a farm of 6 acres. At age 16, in 1861, she is a domestic servant at Hillhead of Mosstown, Logie Buchan. Then in 1863 she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, my great grandmother Helen Hay (who became the first wife of William Fraser). The birth certificate for Helen names the father as George Hay a farmer’s son, and he can be found in the 1861 census on his father’s farm at East Shethin, Tarves. He was to eventually take over the farm. Helen and George did not marry, however, but in 1868 Helen Watt married John Smith, a farm servant, and in the same year gave birth to a daughter Barbara. Helen, John and Barbara moved to Edinburgh and were living on The Pleasance, at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, in the 1871 census, John Smith working as a carter and Helen looking after 3 lodgers, one of whom was her brother. Helen’s daughter Helen was still with her grandparents in Tarves, and it seems they brought her up. John Smith had died by the time of the 1881 census, however, and Helen and daughter Barbara had moved to Elm Row, on the other side of Calton Hill. They were a few streets away in Drum Terrace in 1891, Helen having taken in two lodgers and Barbara working as a dressmaker. By 1901 Helen was at 4 Marchmont Crescent, near what is now Napier University, with lodgers who were both students – her daughter Barbara had married one of the lodgers who had been with them in 1891, and was at 13 Marchmont Crescent. Helen Smith nee Watt died on 3 August 1929 at Longmore Hospital, Edinburgh age 85: cause of death was cancer of the larynx. What isn’t known is how much, if any, contact Helen had with her daughter Helen Hay, who had died in 1903.

3 August 1897
Birth of Catherine Milton Fraser at Union Lane, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, illegitimate daughter of my half gg aunt Jessie Fraser. The birth certificate does not name the father, but his surname could well have been Milton. In 1901 Catherine age 3 is with her grandparents Alexander Fraser and Margaret Booth at Mosside Croft at Cruden, and she is still there in 1911 at age 13, with her widowed grandmother and her mother, plus several cousins. Alexander’s eldest son William had taken over the croft by the summer of 1912, and Margaret Fraser nee Booth, her daughter Jessie and Jessie’s daughters had moved to Aberdeen, living at 43 Hutcheon Street. In 1919 Catherine married William John Michael, a blacksmith, who was her half cousin as his mother was Mary Ann Fraser, Alexander Fraser’s daughter by his first wife Mary Logan. Catherine died in June 1927 in hospital in Aberdeen of pulmonary tuberculosis. I don’t know whether she had any children or not.

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