27 and 28 September

Some interesting ones today: Isabella Fraser who had three illegitimate children before marrying a farmer; a Strachan family of siblings who lived together and didn’t get married; a Fraser descendent who married a girl from a neighbouring croft to Mosside; a McCrae who was killed in WW1; and my great aunt Ethel from Leeds.

28 September 1829
Baptism of my ggg aunt Isabella Fraser at Longside, daughter of William Fraser and Christian Hutcheon of Nether Savoch, Longside. There is some confusion about her birth and baptism: William Fraser had his children’s baptisms entered into the Cruden OPR in the late 1840s and at that time said Isabella was born in 1828 at Cruden: it may be that he had forgotten she had been baptised at Longside. The 1828 birth date is more likely to be correct, however, given that William and Christian married in January 1828. Isabella had an interesting life, to say the least. In the 1841 census she is a female servant in the Ritchie household in the parish of Cruden: the census says she is 10 but she would have been 11 or 12. She then had an illegitimate child in early 1845 when she was only 16. The child was baptised Wilhelmina Bain and the father was Alexander Bain – Wilhelmina was subsequently brought up by her father’s parents on their farm near Fraserburgh. Isabella then gave birth to an illegitimate son William Henderson in 1849, the father named as Lewis Henderson. In the 1851 census Isabella is a servant at a large farm in Logie Buchan and her son Lewis is with her parents at Mosside Croft, near Hatton. Then in 1857 Isabella had a third illegitimate child named Alexander Morrison, the father being James Morrison. But in May 1858 Isabella Fraser, age 29, married 48 year old farmer and widower George Wallace of Hayfarm, Cruden. She is with husband George in the 1861 census as South Hay Farm, Cruden along with her son Alexander and her younger sister Elizabeth. George and Isabella are still there in 1871, but by 1881 they have moved to Whinnyfold and have become grocers. George Wallace then died and in 1891 Isabella Fraser, age 62 and a pauper, is at Midmill lodging House, Cruden – there were other elderly lodgers so it might have been a sort of poorhouse. Isabella Wallace ms Fraser died in 1894 at Midmill of chronic gastric ulceration, and the informant was her son Alexander Morrison of Boddom.

1848 to 1864
I’m grouping these siblings together as they’re an unusual family. Their parents were coal and ironstone miner John Strachan and Margaret Cuthbertson, and their grandparents were my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. The eldest three, Jane b. 1848, Mary b. 1851 and Peter b. 1854, were born in Kilmarnock, and then Margaret b. 1857 and Hugh b. 1858 were born in Old Cumnock. A second Margaret, the first having died, was born at Paisley, Renfrewshire in 1861 and finally John was born at Kilsyth, Stirlingshire in 1864 but he had died by 1861. The census has the family in Thomson Street, Kilmarnock in 1851, then in the Paisley area from 1861 onwards. The unusual thing about the siblings is none of them married and they all lived together until at least 1901, though I’m not sure what happened to them after that. However, by 1901 both their parents had died and the 5 surviving siblings, plus a cousin from the Cuthbertson side, are living at Broomlands, Paisley. Jane, Mary and Margaret are dressmakers, Peter is a provision traveller and Hugh is a thread mill foreman. Their ages also become inaccurate as the years go by, with the women knocking quite a few years off their age!

27 September 1886
Birth of James Fraser Michael at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, son of my gg aunt Mary Ann Fraser and David Ewan Michael. James was born illegitimate and his birth certificate is in the name of James Fraser, but his parents married just a few months after his birth. In the 1891 census, James age 4 is at Ledrum Terrace, Boddam with his parents and younger brother: his father David Michael is a granite quarrier and his grandmother Mary Michael is living next door. The family had moved to Wickersgill, near Shap in Westmoreland, England by 1901 and James was working as an apprentice blacksmith. The family all returned to Aberdeenshire, and in 1911 James is a visitor in Aberdeen, working at home as a tailor. He married Mary Ann Robertson of Hardslacks, Cruden in 1913: the croft of Hardslacks is just a couple of fields away from the Fraser croft at Mosside. James Michael formerly Fraser, tailor of Strichen, died in 1952.

28 September 1896
John McCrae died 1919
Birth of John McCrae at Kilmarnock, son of my great uncle Matthew McIncarne McCrae and Ann McCubbin. John worked as a coal miner and then enlisted in 1914, on the outbreak of WW1, as a stoker in the navy. He was killed in 1919 as a result of the blowing up of an ammunition lighter. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website has this record of John McCrae.

28 September 1897
Birth of my great aunt Ethel Green at Barnsley, daughter of Joseph Green and Charlotte Senior. I can remember Ethel, as she lived not too far from us when I was little. Ethel, along with the rest of her family, moved to Leeds in about 1900, and is in the 1901 census at age 3 at 3 Hope Grove, Armley. In 1911 she is with her parents and siblings at 48 Station Parade, Kirkstall, age 13 and at home helping her mother, her older brothers and sister being out at work and the younger ones either at school or not yet at school. In 1919 Ethel married Edmund Walker Jessop, a drapery salesman whose father was the manager of the Co-op shop at Commercial Road, Kirkstall. Ethel and Edmund Jessop had a daughter Margaret who was friendly with my mother during their younger days.

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