On the 18th: James Booth from Aberdeenshire who proved easy to research, and Ann Strachan from Ayrshire who is a mystery as she just disappears from the records, and my great aunt Sarah McCrae. And on the 19th: three who can’t be found with any certainty in the records, a Strachan who became a spirit dealer when she was widowed, and my great aunt Sarah McCrae.
19 September 1760
Birth of Elizabeth Wilson at Stevenston, daughter of my gggg grandparents James Wilson and Agnes Smith. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Wilson is a fairly common name and there were several of that name having children in the right place at the right time. There is a marriage of Elizabeth Wilson at Stevenston in 1788 to Archibald Clark, but I’ve no idea whether this is the right marriage or not: they had a son baptised James but their eldest daughter was called Margaret, not Agnes.
19 September 1779
Birth of my ggggg uncle James Alexander at Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, son of James Alexander and Helen Burgess. And that is all I know as I’ve not come across anything that is certainly him. James Alexander was a common name in those parts.
18 September 1816
Birth of my gggg uncle James Booth at Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, son of William Booth and Margaret Allan and brother of my ggg grandmother Isabella Booth who married John Logan. James Booth is possibly the James in the 1841 census working on a farm at Drumgowan, Leslie. He married Jean/Jane Keith in about 1841, though I can’t find a marriage record in the parish registers, and by 1851 they were at Nether Kinmundy, Longside with 5 children, James a labourer. He was to remain there for the rest of his life and had several of my ancestors as neighbours. In 1861 James, general labourer, and Jean have had more children and the eldest have left home: they were to have a total of 11 children. In 1871 James is a road contractor and they have 2 grandchildren with them as well as their own 3 children. The 1881 census has them as Crofters House, Redbog Road, which is at Nether Kinmundy, James a crofter of 6 acres with wife Jane and a granddaugter. James is still a crofter in 1891 and his wife and the same granddaughter are still with him. His wife then died and in 1901 James Booth, crofter retired, it a Bruckleseat, Longside. He died in May 1901 at Longside at the age of 86.
19 September 1819
Birth of Janet Strachan at Witchknowe, Riccarton, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg uncle Thomas Strachan and Elizabeth Nisbet. Her coal miner father died in 1821 and her mother remarried in 1823 to William Mitchell but he also died, and her mother married for a third time in 1827 to James Brown, both marriages in Kilmarnock. So by the time Janet was 10 years old she’d had a father and two stepfathers. Janet Strachan married John Hamilton at Kilmarnock in 1837, and the 1841 census finds them at Moorfield Tile Works, Kilmaurs with 2 children. By 1851 they are at Corsehill Square, Dreghorn, John a coal miner and with 5 children, a visitor and a servant, 13 year old Catherine Strachan who was Janet’s cousin. They had moved back to Kilmaurs by 1861 and had 7 children with them, John Hamilton and their oldest sons all working as coal miners. John Hamilton died in 1869 and in 1871 Janet Hamilton is earning a living as a spirit dealer and living at 66 Kilmaurs Road, Kilmarnock with 2 coal miner sons and 2 children still at school. She is still in Kilmarnock in 1881 with a son, a niece and a nephew. Janet Hamilton died in 1889 at Gilmour Streeet, Kilmarnock of heart disease.
18 September 1838
My gg aunt Ann Strachan was born at Shewalton Colliery, parish of Dundonald, Ayrshire, daughter of my gg grandparents Robert Strachan and Margaret Haggerty. At age 2 she is with her parents and siblings at Shewalton in the 1841 census, and the family moved to Kilwinning some time after 1842. Her mother died in 1846, when Ann was only 7 years old, and Ann would have been looked after by her several older sisters. Her father remarried in 1850 to Susan Cran. By 1851, at age 12, Ann was living in as a domestic servant in Kilwinning for the McInnes family, the father Daniel a coal miner who probably worked with Ann’s father. In 1861 Ann is listed in the census as a visitor to coal miner Alexander McDonald and his wife at West Thornton Hamlet, Dreghorn – also a visitor was another Ann Strachan, Ann’s cousin. After 1861 things become tricky as I can’t find anything in the records for Ann. There’s no marriage or death certificate to be found at ScotlandsPeople. It is possible Ann had an illegitimate daughter in 1862, so a child called Margaret Strachan was born in December 1862 at Kirkland Rows, Dreghorn to mother Ann Strachan, domestic servant. As Margaret was Ann’s mother’s name this could well the right Ann. However, I can’t find anything for Margaret – nothing in the census and no death record. The only other possible entry for Ann is in the 1891 census, which has an Ann Strachan age 50 living alone and earning a living as an outdoor worker living at Brigend, Kilwinning. That Ann was born in Irvine, which is very close to Shewalton. But what became of Ann and her possible daughter Margaret is a mystery.
19 September 1860
Birth of Hugh Richmond Haddow at Kilwinning, son of my gg uncle Colin Shearer Haddow and Ann Orr Richmond. He is with his parents in 1861 at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning, surrounded by lots of my anccestors, and in Lyslestone Row, Kilwinning in 1871. By 1881 the family are at Coylton, Ayshire and, like his father, Hugh is an ironstone miner. He then does a disappearing act: no marriage or death found for him, and nothing in the immigration records I’ve searched. So he’s yet another mystery.
19 September 1864
Birth of my great aunt Sarah McCrae at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire daughter of my great grandparents John McCrae and Mary Ann McInairney and sister of my grandmother Helen McCrae. Sarah is with her parents at Dean Lane, Kilmarnock in 1871 and at Mill Lane, Killmarnock in 1881 when she’s 16 and a bonnet maker (which will be the famous Kilmarnock bonnet). In 1885 she married Samuel Downey or Downie at Kilmarnock. Samuel was a hammerman and was born in Ireland. In 1891 they are at Morton Place, Kilmarnock with 3 children and in 1901 at Low Glencairn Street, Kilmarnock with 6 children and Samuel’s brother. They had 9 children altogether but only 3 were still living in 1911, when Sarah and Samuel (who by then had become a coal miner) were at New Street, Riccarton with their 3 surviving children, Sarah’s younger brother James McCrae and 4 year old visitor Agnes McCrae. In 1923 Sarah’s sister Helen Strachan ms McCrae went to Canada and gave her sister Mrs Downey of 12 New Street, Kilmarnock as her nearest relative in Scotland. Samuel Downie died in 1929 at Riccarton, and Sarah died at the age of 73 in 1938 Kilmarnock.