Monthly Archives: August 2013

On 20 August

Today a sad death in the poor house, an death at age 36, a migrationto Lowell, Massachusetts, an Aberdeenshire farmer and a probable death in childhood.

20 August 1816
Birth of Helen Strachan at Riccarton, daughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. Helen is in the 1841 census at Croftfoot, Kilmarnock with her parents and siblings, her father a coal miner, and two 14 years old boy lodgers, both coal miners. In September 1846 Helen married William Gibson at Kilmarnock and although I haven’t found them in the 1851 census, they are in Galston Road, Riccarton in 1861 with 4 children, the eldest 2 boys aged 14 and 11 both coal miners. In 1871 Helen, a widow, is at Orchard Street, Galston with two sons, the youngest an apprentice joiner. In 1881 however, Helen Strachan Gibson is an inmate of the Cunningham Combination Poor House at Irvine, and she died there in 1898: her death certificate describes her as a lunatic, which must be why she had been admitted to the asylum section of the poor house. A sad ending.

20 August 1818
Birth of my ggg uncle Munro Strachan at Riccarton, son of John Strachan and Agnes Neilson. In 1839 he married Janet Jamieson, whose sister Margaret married Munro’s brother Samuel. In the 1841 census Munro, a coal miner, is at Shewalton Colliery, Dundonald, with his wife and a baby daughter, and they are living one door down from his brother Samuel. They had moved to MacReadie’s Land, Dreghorn by 1851 but Munro, age 32, is a pauper formerly a coal miner, and he and his wife Janet have 3 children. Munro died in 1854 and was buried at Dreghorn, according to another researcher, and would have been only 36. His widow remarried.

20 August 1847 (born about 1824)
Jane Logan was born about 1824, in either Kilmarnock, daughter of my gggg uncle Adam Logan and Margaret Duncan. Adam Logan left his wife and children, and in 1841 his wife Margaret is at Grahamstown, Neilston, with daughters Jane and Ann and a lodger. Jane married John Cochrane at Neilston in 1847 and they are in the 1851 census at Paisley Road, Cross Arthurlie, Neilston: John is an agricultural labourer and they have 2 children plus 2 lodgers. The family migrated to the USA in about 1857. They are in the USA 1880 census at Lowell, Massachusetts, John Cochrane suffering from bronchtitis and not in work, with 4 children working, 1 at school, and a grandson at school, and in the 1900 census at Agawam Street, Lowell, John Cochrane a dyer and with an adult son still living with them. The census states they had 10 children, 6 still living. Widow Jeanie Cochrane is in Agawam Street in 1910 with her married daughter Isabella. Jane or Jeanie Cochrane nee Logan died at Agawam Street in October 1911 from cerebral haemorrage, informant Adam Cochrane.

20 August 1845
James Willox born at Lonmay, son of William Willox and my gggg aunt Anne Hutcheon. James is with his parents and siblings at Lonmay in 1851, his father a farmer of 18 acres, and is still with them in 1861 working as farm servant. His father died in the 1860s and James took over the farm and expanded it. In February 1871 he married Christina Henderson at Rathen, and they are at Schoolhill, Lonmay in the 1871 census, James a farmer of 32 acres and with his mother Ann Willox living with them. They are there in 1881 and by then James and Christina have 4 children and a female servant: his mother Ann is with them still and she died there in February 1891. James and his wife Christina are at Schoolhill in the 1891 and 1901 census, and had 7 children.

20 August 1846
Birth of John McWilliam at Peterhead, son of my half gggg uncle David McWilliam and Elizabeth Ewan and therefore nephew of my ggg grandfather William Fraser. Nothing else found so it looks as though he died in early childhood.

On 19 August

Two today, both in Aberdeenshire. There were some “issues” remaining on Margaret Hutcheon’s details so I’ve been doing a bit of digging around and resolved them, but it’s opened a can of Davidson worms. A lot of my ancestors managed to lead less than straight-forward lives!

18 August 1816
Baptism of my gggg aunt Margaret Hutcheon at Longside, daughter of Alexander Hutcheon and Agnes Bruce. In 1835 Margaret married Charles Davidson at Longside, and in the 1841 census they are at Kirktown, St Fergus, Banffshire with 2 children and Charles an agricultural labourer. In 1851 they are at Rora, Longside, where many relatives lived, with 2 children and a niece: the niece Elizabeth Lamb was the daughter of Margaret’s sister who had died. By 1861 Charles had taken a croft as he and Margaret are at Mosside at Rora, Longside, which was to remain Margaret’s home until her death. Charles is a farmer of 2 acres, the son back at home has become a shoemaker, and with them is Margaret’s mother Agnes Bruce a widow of 79 and a pauper. Margaret’s husband Charles died in 1862 and in 1871 Margaret is still at Mosside, Rora farming the 2 acres along with niece Elizabeth Lamb and a granddaughter Annabella Smith, daughter of Margaret’s daughter Ann. Margaret is at Mosside, Rora in 1891 on her. own, and she died there in 1891, the informant her son Alexander.

18 August 1842
Birth of my ggg uncle James Fraser at Cruden, Aberdeenshire son of William Fraser and Christian Hutcheon. James must have died in infancy as William and Christian had a son they named James born in 1847.

On 18 August

Two today, both in Aberdeenshire. There were some “issues” remaining on Margaret Hutcheon’s details so I’ve been doing a bit of digging around and resolved them, but it’s opened a can of Davidson worms. A lot of my ancestors managed to lead less than straight-forward lives!

18 August 1816
Baptism of my gggg aunt Margaret Hutcheon at Longside, daughter of Alexander Hutcheon and Agnes Bruce. In 1835 Margaret married Charles Davidson at Longside, and in the 1841 census they are at Kirktown, St Fergus, Banffshire with 2 children and Charles an agricultural labourer. In 1851 they are at Rora, Longside, where many relatives lived, with 2 children and a niece: the niece Elizabeth Lamb was the daughter of Margaret’s sister who had died. By 1861 Charles had taken a croft as he and Margaret are at Mosside at Rora, Longside, which was to remain Margaret’s home until her death. Charles is a farmer of 2 acres, the son back at home has become a shoemaker, and with them is Margaret’s mother Agnes Bruce a widow of 79 and a pauper. Margaret’s husband Charles died in 1862 and in 1871 Margaret is still at Mosside, Rora farming the 2 acres along with niece Elizabeth Lamb and a granddaughter Annabella Smith, daughter of Margaret’s daughter Ann. Margaret is at Mosside, Rora in 1891 on her. own, and she died there in 1891, the informant her son Alexander.

18 August 1842
Birth of my ggg uncle James Fraser at Cruden, Aberdeenshire son of William Fraser and Christian Hutcheon. James must have died in infancy as William and Christian had a son they named James born in 1847.

On 17 August

All three today frustratingly disappear from the records.

17 August 1755
Birth of Charles Alexander, son of John Alexander and Christian Reid. I think he was the brother of Susannah Alexander who married Thomas Strachan – the 2nd, 3rd and 4th children of Thomas and Susannah were named John, Christian and Charles, which is reasonably good evidence for supporting my theory. He is therefore my ggggg uncle but sadly, his birth and baptism is the only reference I can find for him in the records, so I’ve no idea what became of him.

17 August 1842
Birth of Mary Morgan at Cruden, daughter of Arthur Morgan and Margaret Robb and granddaughter of my ggggg aunt Isabel Sangster and Peter Morgan. Her mother died a few years after Mary was born and her father remarried. In 1851 Mary Morgan age 8 is at Tillymaud, Cruden with her father, stepmother and siblings. Her father died in a quarrying accident in 1860. Mary cannot be found in the 1861 census nor is there a death or marriage from 1855 to 1861, so she may have died between 1851 and 1854.

17 August 1852
Birth of Jean Wallace Strachan at Dreghorn, daughter of Andrew Strachan and Elizabeth Strachan. Her parents Andrew and Elizabeth were cousins and were not married: Andrew was 16 years older than Elizabeth and had been widowed, and Elizabeth was housekeeper for him and his children in 1851. There is nothing to be found in the records for either Jean or her mother Elizabeth after the 1852 birth and baptism record, so it could be that they both died.

On 15 and 16 August

Two for whom I can’t go further without buying yet more credits on the ScotlandsPeople web site, which I’m avoiding doing at the moment on the grounds that I’ve already put enough into their coffers this year. Plus a Strachan daughter who ended up in Fife and a Strachan granddaughter who went Canada via England.

15 August 1849
Birth of William Hamilton at Gargieston, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, son of John Hamilton and Janet Strachan and grandson of my ggg uncle Thomas Strachan and Elizabeth Nisbet. He’s with his parents and siblings at 7 Corsehill Square, Dreghorn in 1851, his father and elder brother both coal miners. In 1861 the family are at Knockentiber, near Crosshouse and Kilmaurs, to the west of Kilmarnock, and William age 11 is still at school. His father died in 1869 and in 1871 William age 22 and a coal miner is at 66 Kilmaurs Road, Kilmarnock, his mother Janet a spirit dealer. Nothing further for him without spending money with ScotlandsPeople.

16 August 1860
Birth of Janet Jack Gilmour Strachan at Riccarton, daughter of Robert Strachan and Janet Ross Gilmour and granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan. She is with her parents and siblings at Comet Pit House in Riccarton in 1861, her father a coal miner, in 1871 with them at 21 Boyd Street, Galston and at Goatfoot Row, Galston in 1881 when Janet age 20 is working as a house maid. She married coal miner Robert Muirhead in 1882 at Galston and they had 13 children. In 1891 they are at Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire, and in 1901 at 51 Skares Row, Old Cumnock. Janet Jack G. Muirhead ms Strachan died in 1929 at the age of 69 at Saline, Fife.

16 August 1862
Birth of Elizabeth Muir at Tarbolton, Ayrshire, daughter of John Muir and Mary Holland. Her parents were cousins and were both grandchildren of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan. Elizabeth’s father was a coal miner and the family is in Northumberland in 1871 and in Arlecdon, Cumberland in 1881, although in 1881 Elizabeth was a domestic servant for John Howatson, a minister in Berwickshire. In 1886 the family migrated to Canada, and with them was Joseph Thompson. Elizabeth Muir and Joseph Thompson were married in Ottawa in October 1886 but I haven’t yet found them in the Canada census.

15 August 1867
Birth of Barbara Magdalene Cowie at Savoch, Ellon, Aberdeenshire, daughter of William Cowie and Elizabeth Cheyne and daughter of my half gggg aunt Barbara McWilliam and her husband William Cowie. She is with her parents and siblings at Littlemill Cottar’s House, Ellon in 1871, age 3, and at Cairnhill Cottar House, Ellon in 1881, age 13 and at school. In 1891 she is, I think, the Barbara Cowie who is a domestic servant to farmer George Bruce and his family at Heatherwick, Keithhall. Again, nothing further known without using ScotlandsPeople.

On 14 August

Mostly ancestors going well back in time today, hence not much known about some of them. Plus a Fraser ancestor who became a trolley bus driver in New York and retired to Palm Beach.

14 August 1749
Baptism of my ggggg aunt Betty Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, father Joseph Green labourer and mother not named on the baptismal record, but I know she was Alice Rock. Tracing people that far back in time is tricky. There is a Betty Green marrying Francis Patrick in Darfield in 1790 and with children baptised in Tankersley and Treeton, but this could be the Betty Green baptised in Darfield with father William Green. There’s nothing else for a Betty Green.

14 August 1793
Birth of John Fraser at Old Machar, Aberdeenshire, son of John Fraser and Christian Sangster. I’m not sure about this but think he might have been the cousin of my ggg grandfather William Fraser, John’s father John being the brother of my illegitimate gg grandfather’s father William Fraser. John Fraser born in 1793 was an agricultural labourer, married Ann Reid, and had children baptised in Belhelvie, St Fergus and Cruden. In 1841 he and his wife, with 2 sons, were at Broadmuir, Cruden, and John and Ann are also there on their own in 1851. By 1861 they were living in Hatton with a daughter and a grandchild. John Fraser died in 1870 at age 78.

14 August 1796
Birth of ggg uncle Robert Haddow at Stevenston, Ayrshire, son of my ggg grandparents Robert Haddow and Margaret Hunter. I suspect he died young as the local minister did a census of Stevenston in 1819, 1822 and 1836 and he’s not on any of them, nor is he in the 1841 or 1851 census. There’s no record of a marriage in Ayrshire that might be him either.

14 August 1814
Baptism of my gggg aunt Hester Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of Joseph Green bleacher and mother not named. Hester’s baptism record has her name written as Easter. Her mother was Ann Cox. Nothing else has been found for her so she may have died in childhood.

14 August 1900
Birth of James Alexander Fraser at Ellon, Aberdeenshire son of my half gg uncle James Fraser and Isabella Rennie. James, or Jimmy as he was known, is with his parents in 1901 at Ellon, his father a farm servant, and still with them in 1911 at Rosebank, Hatton, his father now a roadman for the County Council. In about 1920 he married Margaret Greig though I haven’t found the marriage certificate for them. Then in May 1925 James sailed from Liverpool to the USA: his passenger list says he was a hotel porter going to his friend Alexander Lawson at Windsor Locks, Connecticut and his wife was living at 33 Jasmine Terrace, Aberdeen. Interestingly, James’s sister Jessie gave her address as 33 Jasmine Street, Aberdeen when she married in 1922. James’s wife Margaret and their daughter Winifred followed in October 1926, going to Hartford, Connecticut to join James. The family are at Broad Street, Hartford, Connecticut in 1930 and James is a conductor for a trolley company: as well as daughter Winifred they have with them a lodger, 73 year old Alfred Johnson. In 1940 they’ve at Edison Avenue, Bronx, New York, have had had two sons, and James is a motorman for a street railway. I suspect wife Margaret died in the early to mid 1940s. In November 1948 James Alexander Fraser of 1090 Lydig Avenue, Bronx flew from Prestwick to New York, so he must have been home for a holiday. While there he met up with his cousin Meg McKinnon nee Downie who had also been widowed. She sailed to New York in October 1949, destination 1090 Lydig Avenue, Bronx and they married shortly afterwards. Jimmy and Meg, as they were known, retired to Palm Beach, Florida where they were neighbours of my great uncle Arthur Morgan Fraser, who had also lived in New York. James Alexander Fraser died on 5 September 1876 at Palm Beach, last address Boynton Beach.

An emotional moment: first sight of my grandfather Henry Strachan

Thank you thank you to my cousin Colin in Canada for sending me a photo of the grandfather I never knew, Henry Strachan. Here he is, and wasn’t he a fine looking chap?

Grandfather Strachan
My grandfather Henry Strachan, who died age 45 in 1918

I felt very emotional seeing this for the first time, and ever since it arrived have been opening the file and just staring at it. Pictures do say a great deal, and I now feel much closer to my unknown grandfather.

I was surprised when I saw it too, as he didn’t look as I’d imagined. I suppose I’d always thought of him looking rather like my father, but he doesn’t. Instead, I was struck by how much I resemble him. There was me assuming I’d got my appearance from my mother’s side, as I bear little resemblance to my father, and then I see my grandfather and see my own eyes staring back at me. I think I might have his mouth too, but without the moustache of course!

I’m trying to finish the story of Henry Strachan and Helen McCrae to add to the Strachan pages here on my web site, and am so thrilled to now have a photo of Henry to add to it. Must try and finish it soon.

On 13 August

A Robert Strachan who I suspect died in childhood, the mother-in-law of a blog follower, and a Green ancestor born in London who sold gold lace embroidery.

13 August 1815
Birth of Robert Strachan at Riccarton, Ayrshire, son of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. Robert junior can’t be found in the records after that so I suspect he may have died in childhood. A lot of people’s trees on Ancestry have him married to Jean Muir but they’re wrong, as Jean Muir married a different Robert Strachan.

13 August 1909
Birth of Barbara Robertson at Achnacart, Foveran, Aberdeenshire, daughter of my half gg aunt Margaret Fraser and Robert Robertson, and mother of the husband of blog follower Morag. Barbara married Harold Hooker in 1942 in Ellon and she died in the south of England in 2008 at the grand age of 98.

13 August 1894 (born 1851)
George Edwin Green was born in Westminster, London, his birth registered Jul-Aug-Sep quarter 1851. He was the son of my gggg uncle Samuel Green and his wife Mary. In 1861 George is with his parents in Grosvenor Terrace, Westminster, his father a traveller born in Worsbrough, Yorkshire and his mother Mary born in Oundle, Northampton. In 1871 George E Green age 19 is a shop assistant and living with his widowed mother, a dressmaker, at 46 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury. He married in 1875 at the Parish Church of Bloomsbury to Sarah Maria Sampson. In the 1881 census George, a shopman in a gold lace business, and wife Sarah, a gold embroiderer, are at D Street, Chelsea with 2 children, and Mary’s widowed mother is with them. In 1891 they’ve moved to 48 Albert Street, Chelsea and have 3 children with them, their eldest child having died. George’s wife Sarah died in 1891, registered at London City, and in 1894 George married Emma Arno at the Parish Church of Kentish Town. They are living at 48 Albert Street, by then designated as in Paddington, in 1901, George still a shop assistant, and have the 3 children by George’s first marriage with them but no children of their own. In 1911 George is still a shop assistant in the gold lace embroidery business but they have moved to 63 St George’s Avenue, Tufnell Park. George E Green died in 1929, his death registered at Hampstead.

On 12 August

Just one today – a Hutcheon ancestor who married a blacksmith and lived in Aberdeen.

12 August 1830
Baptism of Isabel Willox at Lonmay, Aberdeenshire, daughter of my gggg aunt Ann Hutcheon and William Willox. She is with her parents and siblings in 1841 at Lonmay, but is not with them in 1851: I think she’s the Isabella Willots age 20 born Lonmay who’s a servant in Old Machar for John Munro, a superintendent of taxes. On 20 March 1856 she married George Park at Crimond, and gave birth to a daughter named Ann Hutcheon Park in Fraserburgh later that year. The 1861 census see Isabella Parke age 29, a blacksmith’s wife, with daughter Ann at 44 Fish Cross Street, Fraserburgh – no sign of husband George so it looks as if he was working away somewhere, but I haven’t found him and wonder if he could have been at sea. Isabel and George had another child born in Fraserburgh, then from 1865 their children were born in Aberdeen, though I haven’t been able to find the family in the 1871 census. In 1881 they are at 50 Jasmine Terrace, Aberdeen, which is close to the docks – George Park is a fireman blacksmith and they have 3 children with them, so it looks as if not all their children survived childhood. Isabella Park ms Willox died in 1882 age 52, her death registered in Aberdeen. Her husband remarried to a widow with children.

Helen McCrae 1875 – 1944: my grandmother

Helen Strachan nee McCrae 1933
Photograph of Helen Strachan nee McCrae taken in 1933

Helen McCrae – also Ellen and Nellie – was born on 10 August 1875 at 4 Dean Lane, Kilmarnock, the sixth child of John McCrae, a coal miner, and Mary Ann McInairney. In the 1881 census, Ellen McCrae is age 5, at school and with her parents at 40 Mill Lane, Kilmarnock and by 1891 Ellen McCrae age 16 is working at a mill. The family were at 7 High Church Lane, Kilmarnock by then and father John is still a coal miner.

In 1895 Helen was a witness to her brother’s wedding to Anne McCubbin and has signed herself as Nellie McCrae. Later that year she gave birth to her eldest son Joseph, and married coal miner Henry Strachan in March 1896. They went on to have 11 children, one of whom died in childhood.

The family moved to Lanarkshire in about 1907 and went first to Tollcross, but by 1911 were living in Cambuslang, home to Helen for the rest of her life (apart from several journeys to Canada). Henry Strachan worked at the Gilbertfield Colliery and they lived in Gilbertfield Buildings at Halfway, but were at Overton Street, Halfway when Henry died in 1918, at the age of 45, of pneumonia arterioclerosis.

Married life must have been hard work for Helen, bringing up ten children in two roomed miners’ housing with outside toilets, communal clothes washing facilities and no bathroom. From what my father said of her, she was strict but motherly, and was very close to one her sisters. She also owned a lovely bone-handled carving knife, which for some reason my father acquired, and I now have.

When Henry died, Helen was left with ten children, the youngest five not having reached working age and the very youngest, my father, being three days short of his second birthday. None of the older five children were married, although all were working. Son Joseph married in December 1918, daughter Mary married in 1919, and in 1921 sons John and Henry married whilst daughter Jeanie went to Canada.

Then began a decade filled with sailing back and forth to Canada, which has been rather confusing to piece together from passenger lists. But Helen, along with youngest son Robert, went to Canada in September 1923 returning to Scotland in May 1924. They both went to Canada again in 1928, this time taking with them daughter Amelia. Helen and Robert returned to Scotland in March 1929 but Amelia was to stay in Canada. By this time son Joseph and his family had also migrated to Canada, as had daughter Helen and her husband John Aitken and their children, although the Aitken family returned to Scotland. Helen and son Robert made a final trip to Canada in April 1930, returning in October 1931.

Helen Strachan with son Robert Strachan 1942
Helen Strachan nee McCrae at the beginning of WW2 with my father, her youngest son Robert Strachan

During the later 1930s, Helen helped to bring up her son’s Henry’s children and was living at 46 Park Street, Cambuslang. She was living at 4 Clydeford Road, however, when she died. Her death occurred very suddenly on 26 June 1944: she was at the Royal Cancer Hospital, Glasgow visiting a patient when she had a cerebral haemorrhage. She was buried at the Strachan family lair at Westburn Cemetery.