Monthly Archives: October 2013

23 October

Here’s a surprise – there’s only one person on my family tree that I share a birthday with. He’s an Aberdeenshire seaman who lived in Peterhead. Today I am celebrating my birthday by indulging my love of horses and going riding, followed by dinner out this evening.

23 October 1859
Birth of Patrick Forbes McWilliam, known as Peter, at Peterhead, son of my half gggg uncle David McWilliam and Elizabeth Ewan. In Scotland, the names Patrick and Peter are interchangeable. In 1861 and 1871 he’s with his family in Peterhead, his father a sawyer. Peter Clark married Georgina Clark in December 1880 at Peterhead and they set up home at Ronheads, Peterhead: they are there for the 1881 census and Peter is a seaman. By 1891 they’ve moved a bit nearer to the docks and are at Longate, Peterhead, as Peter is still a seaman, and they have 4 children. Then Peter’s wife Georgina died, and in 1901 he is at Longate with his two youngest children, both daughters, and is working as a cooper. Patrick Forbes McWilliam died at Peterhead in 1932 age 72.

23 October 1951
I was born! Judith Margaret Strachan born in Leeds, Yorkshire, daughter of Robert Strachan and Dorothy Fraser. I’ll post some pictures from my childhood, which was spent in Leeds until we moved, when I was 7, to Marske-by-the-Sea on the North Yorkshire coast (though it’s now part of Cleveland). Since then I’ve lived in Leeds again, where I was a student, then London, then Australia, then back to Leeds where I now live on the northern tip of Leeds in Alwoodley.

22 October

Today is a very busy day on my family tree, giving me eight people to write about from Yorkshire, Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire. Plus a Toronto born son of a cousin has a birthday today – he was born exactly one day before I was born.

22 October 1780
Baptism of my ggggg uncle William Cox at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, son of Joshua Cox. Not sure what happened to him, but he could be the William Cox who married Elizabeth England in Darfield in 1806: that couple had children in Darfield but must have died before 1841.

22 October 1833
Baptism of my ggg aunt Mary Hay at Tarves, Aberdeenshire, daughter of George Hay and Mary Taylor. She is with her family at East Shethin Farm in 1841 and 1851. In 1860 she had a illegitimate child, William Barkly, and she and her son are with her parents at East Shethin Farm in 1861. They are still there in 1871. In 1876, when she was in her 40s, Mary married George Donald, a farm overseer, and they are at Mains of Haddo House, Tarves in 1881. George Donald was the informant for the death of Mary’s brother in 1890 and gave his address as Udny Station, and Mary Donald ms Hay died at Udny in 1895.

22 October 1838
Baptism of my gg aunt Ann Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of linen bleacher William Green and Sarah Firth. She is with her family at Worsbrough Common in 1841 and at the Rose and Crown Inn, Worsbrough Common, in 1851. In 1859 she married widower John Schofield, who had a daughter, and is at Birdwell, Worsbrough in 1861 with her coal miner husband, step daughter and her and John’s 2 young sons. They are in Worsbrough village in 1871 with their 3 children. George Schofield took over a farm of 37 acres, but Ann Green died in 1880. Her farmer husband and her 8 children are at St Mary’s Street, Worsbrough in 1881.

22 October 1843
Baptism of my gg grandfather George Hay at Tarves, Aberdeenshire, son of farmer George Hay and Mary Taylor. In 1851 and 1861 George is with his family at East Shethin Farm, Tarves, and had by 1861 had become a ploughman. In 1863 he fathered an illegitimate child, my great granmother Helen Hay, with Helen Watt whose parents lived in Tarves parish. He acknowledged his daughter’s birth as he witnessed her registration and is therefore named on the birth certificate, but he and Helen Watt did not marry. In 1871 he is assisting his elderly father on East Shethin Farm, and in 1876 married Sarah Ogg from Echt. His father died in 1879 and George then took over the farm: he is there in 1881 with his wife, 2 childrem, 2 visitor relatives of his wife’s, a domestic servant and a farm servant. He died in 1890 of pneumonia and acute rheumatism. His wife Sarah continued at East Shething as farmer, assisted by her 9 sons and daughters.

22 October 1868
Birth of James Findlay at Hurlford, Ayrshire, son of Mary Findlay and coal miner James Findlay, grandson of Susanna Strachan and David Findlay and great grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. In 1871 he is with his family at Findlays Land, Hurlford and in 1881 at Cadgers Road, Hurlford. But by 1891, at age 22, he’s a boarder in Govan working as a tea dealer’s assistant: the tea dealer is probably his older brother Hugh Findlay, who in 1891 is in Hutchensontown, Glasgow and is a tea merchant. In 1894 James married Jeanie Callan at her parents’ home at 133 Aitkenhead Road, Glasgow: his marriage certificate says his father James Findlay was a tea merchant, although he’d still been a coal miner in 1881. Perhaps Hugh and James helped set their father up in a business. In 1901 James Findlay, wife Jeanie, 2 children and Jeanie’s mother are at 11 Aitkenhead Road, Glasgow and James is a traveller in tea. I suspect that the James Findlay who died at Springburn, Glasgow at age 61 is the right one, as there is also a Hugh Findlay who died at Springburn in 1921. It would seem that the two brothers worked together all their adult lives.

22 October 1913 (born about 1881)
James Lindsay was born about 1881/82 at Dreghorn, Ayrshire, the second youngest child of Alexander Lindsay and Janet Strachan, and grandson of my ggg uncle Samuel Strachan and Margaret Sampson Reid Jamieson. He is with his family in Dreghorn in 1891 and 1901, and became a coal miner. In 1907 he migrated to USA arriving in New York and travelling with William Littlejohn, who was married to his sister Mary: both were miners and both were going to Dawson, New Mexico. James Lindsay was killed in an accident in New Mexico on 22 October 1913 at age 32, and is remembered on the family’s memorial stone at Dreghorn kirk.

22 October 1895
Baptism of Elsie Fletcher at Royston, Yorkshire, daughter of John Fletcher and my gg aunt Annie Senior. Her father was a miner. Elsie was born in February 1895 but may have been baptised in October because she became ill, as she was buried in Royston on 29 October 1895 age 8 months.

22 October 1950
Joseph (Joe) Strachan was born in Toronto, son of my cousin Henry (Harry) Strachan. Happy birthday Joe – who is one day and a year older than me!

The joy of ancestors who do the unexpected

Every now and again, you come across an ancestor who gives you a surprise, and they can be fascinating to research. Let’s be honest, someone who is born, works, marries, has children and dies in more or less the same place, and leads a life normal enough to leave no other record behind, lacks a bit of sparkle for a family historian! But one of today’s people led me to a Strachan descendant who had quite a life, and she was certainly intriguing to research.

While checking out the census entries for Mary Wilson Strachan, born 1862 and married to John McVie, I clicked on their children to see whether they’d all been born in Kilmaurs, Ayrshire – which they had. But when I clicked on their daughter Mary Lindsay McVie, born in about 1884, I was led to her entry for 1901, when she was a domestic servant in Kilmarnock, then to an entry in London for the 1911 census. London? I had to look into it.

The 1911 census has the household schedule for 60 Hartismere Road, Fulham. The head of the household is John McLaunahan Hamilton, age 42, a journalistic artist working for a newspaper, born in Renfrewshire, Scotland. He has completed the married and children columns, saying he’d been married for 20 years and had 4 children born, 3 living. The second person is Mary Lindsay McVie, a boarder age 26, single and born in Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, with nothing in the occupation column. Finally, there is Phyllis Estella Hamilton, age 4 born in London, with nothing in the relationship column. Intriguing. John Hamilton says he’s married, not widowed, and it looks as if young Phyllis is his daughter. So where is his wife and his other children?

They proved easy to find. In 1901 John M Hamilton, age 32 and a journalistic artist, was living in Cathcart, Renfrewshire with wife Jeanie K Hamilton born Barrhead, Renfrewshire and two daughters, Maggie R Hamilton age 9 and Jeanie K P Hamilton age 5, plus a visitor and a domestic servant. In 1911, there is a Mrs J M Hamilton age 41, married for 20 years with 3 children born and 2 living, born in Barrhead, Renfrewshire with daughter Jeanie Hamilton age 15 born in Glasgow. Neither give an occupation, and they are living at 48 Fernhurst Road, Fulham – which is only a few streets away from Hartismere Road where John Hamilton is living with Mary McVie. Plus there is a marriage for his other daughter Maggie Ried Hamilton in Fulham in 1909.

So Phyllis Estella Hamilton, born in Kensington in 1906, appears to be John Hamilton’s daughter but she is not the daughter of his wife Jeanie. Which leads one to the conclusion that she is the daughter of Mary Lindsay McVie, and that John Hamilton has left his wife and is living with Mary.

How did they meet? Did she start working for the family as a domestic servant in Scotland, move to London with them, and then went into a relationship with her employer that resulted in his setting up two households – one for his wife and daughters and one for himself, Mary and their daughter Phyllis? Hopefully he made a good living as a journalistic artist, as that can’t have been a cheap way to live!

It must have been something of a family scandal at the time. What did Mary McVie’s family make of it? However, that isn’t the end of Mary McVie’s story. Looking to see what became of her after 1911 unearthed quite a story.

John McL Hamilton died in 1915 age 47, his death registered in the July-Aug-Sept quarter at Chelsea, London. However, also in the July-Aug-Sept quarter of 1915, Mary L McVie married John C McAuley at Newcastle, Northumberland. When she left John Hamilton is a mystery, but given the following I suspect she had left him some time before then, and returned to Scotland with her daughter Phyllis.

Mr McCauley was actually Charles J McAuley from USA, and in 1916 he was issued with a Certificate of Registration of American Citizen at Glasgow. He was from Alabama, residing in Glasgow where he was an electrical engineer, married to Molly McVie McAuley, who was born in Kilmarnock, and he said he had a daughter Phyllis born in London in 1906 who was currently residing in Kilmarnock. He gives the name of Mrs Thomas Watson of 30 Titchfield Street, Kilmarnock as the person to contact in case of death or accident, which could well be a sister of Mary McVie.

Charles McCauley then travelled to New York in June 1916, and Molly McAuley age 30 with daughter Phyllis McAuley followed in September 1916. The 1920 USA census has Molly L McAuley age 33, widow, arrived USA 1916 and born Scotland, working as a solderer at a novelty factory and living with daughter Phyllis E Hamilton age 13. They are in Waterbury, Connecticut. So Charles John McAuley died between 1916 and 1920. Could he have died in WW1? A search of the Commonwealth War Graves site produced the certificate for Sergeant Charles John McCauley of the Canadian Railway Troops who died in September 1917 in Belgium and is remembered at the Coxyde Military Cemetary. It says he was the husband of Mary McAuley of Waterbury, Connecticut.

The 1930 USA Census has Mary McAuley age 43, widow, living on her own in Naugatak, Connecticut, working as a domestic nurse. Her daughter is close by, though, as Phyllis married Charles Varian, manager of a quarry, and had children. Phyllis died in 1990 and her death record gives her name as Phyllis E Varian, father’s surname Hamilton.

So yes, Phyllis born in 1906 was the daughter of Mary McVie and John Hamilton, who had left his wife and was with Mary in 1911. But for whatever reason the relationship didn’t last long, and Mary married Charles McAuley in Newcastle in 1915, possibly returning first to Scotland, and John Hamilton died at about the same time. Mary and her daughter Phyllis then went to Connecticut to be with John McAuley in 1916, but her husband was killed in WW1. Mary and her daughter continued to live in Connecticut, where daughter Phyllis married and had children.

It’s amazing what you can discover about someone through online research these days

21 October

An early Yorkshire Green ancestor, a Strachan who died in infancy, a Strachan who died on tuberculosis, a Strachan descendant who migrated to Pennsylvania to work as a coal miner.

21 October 1796
Baptism of Mary Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of my ggggg uncle John Green and Mary Addey. Her baptism record says John Green was a bleacher. There is a marriage in 1817 in Worsbrough of Mary Green and Joseph Lister, and that couple had a son John Lister baptised in Barnsley in 1818, but I don’t know whether it’s the same Mary Green or not. Interestingly, a John Green born in Barnsley and age 53 is in the 1871 census in Tower Hamlets, London, a pensioner drill sergeant living in a porter’s lodge at an Alms House.

21 October 1834
Catherine Strachan was born at Shewalton Colliery, Dundonald, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg uncle Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle. She died before 1836, when Peter and Margaret named another daughter Catherine.

21 October 1862
Birth of Mary Wilson Strachan at Dreghorn, Ayrshire, daughter of James Strachan and Mary Lindsay and great granddaughter of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. She is with her parents and siblings at Stevenston in 1871, and is a servant to a farmer in 1881 near Kilmaurs, where her parents lived. In 1882 she married John McVie, a miner, at her parents’ home in Kilmaurs. In 1891 Mary and John McVie are at Knockintiber, Kilmaurs, with 4 children. Mary McVie ms Strachan died in September 1892 and her death certificate says she’d had tabes mesenterica for 3 years – this is tuberculosis of the lymph glands of the abdomen. Her husband remarried and lived in Kilmarnock.

21 October 1871
Birth of Robert Holland Muir at Blythe, Northumberland, son of John Muir and Mary Holland, and grandson of Elizabeth Strachan and Andrew Muir, and also of Agnes Strachan and Robert Armour Holland. His two grandmothers were sisters as they were both daughters of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. By 1881, his iron miner father, mother and siblings had moved to Arlecdon, on the eastern edge of the Lake District, and the family then migrated to Canada in 1886. However, Robert Muir age 21 and a miner is in a passenger list from New York to Glasgow in 1890. He married his cousin Agnes Leggat in Greenock in 1899, giving an address in Auchinleck, Ayrshire: his mother and Agnes’s mother were sisters. They had 2 children born in Scotland, then in 1906 went to Pennsylvania, USA. At Robert’s naturalisation in 1915 they were living in Dunmore, PA, Robert working as a coal miner, and had 4 surviving children. The 1920, 1930 and 1940 census has them at East Scott Street, Oliphant, Robert working as a coal miner and latterly as a pump runner at a coal mine.

20 October

One from Ayrshire who died at age 5, and one from Aberdeenshire who migrated to Canada.

20 October 1855
Birth of Andrew Ballantine at Dreghorn, Ayrshire, son of Thomas Ballantine and Susannah Strachan, and grandson of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. Andrew died in 1861, at age 5, at Dreghorn.

20 October 1881
Birth of Alexander Milne at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, son of Alexander Milne and Elizabeth Thomson and grandson of my ggg aunt Janet/Jessie Fraser. In 1891 he is at Hatton with his parents, his father a blacksmith, and by 1901 he too has become a blacksmith and seems to be working for his father. Although I can’t find his passage to Canada, he had been there some years, and was married to Florence, by 1915 when he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He gave his next of kin as wife Florence Milne of Caledonia Avenue, Victoria, BC.

19 October

Mystery people today: three that can’t be found in the records apart from their birth and census in early life. What does happen to those on the side branches who you just can’t track down?

19 October 1751
Birth of my gggg aunt Agnes Wilson at Stevenston, daughter of James Wilson and Agnes Smith and sister of Jane Wilson who married Duncan Murphie. Agnes Wilson if not an uncommon name in that time and place, so it’s impossible to work out which, if any, Agnes Wilson in the records is the right one. An Agnes Wilson married Thomas Stevenson in Stevenston and had a son Euphan in 1771, another Agnes Wilson had two illegitimate children in Stevenston in the 1770s, and yet another one had children baptised at Stevenson, the father Hugh King. One of the could be her – then again, none of them could be her.

19 October 1856
Birth of Thomas Clark at Kilburnie, Ayrshire, son of Robert Clark and Elizabeth Strachan and grandson of gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. He was possibly illegitimate: Elizabeth Strachan was a widow in 1851 in Kilburnie, with Robert Clark son age 1 month and Robert Clark, ironstone miner, a lodger. Thomas’s mother died on 1 November 1856, not long after he was born. I haven’t found any trace of him after, nor I have been able to find his father and most of his siblings. So it’s a real mystery what happened to Elizabeth Strachan’s children: surely the entire family cannot have died within a few year’s of each other. So where did they get to?

19 October 1860
Birth of Hugh Richmond Haddow at Kilwinning, son of my gg uncle Colin Shearer Haddow and Ann Orr Richmond. He’s with his parents in 1861 and 1781 in Kilwinning, and then in Coylton in 1881 by which time he was an ironstone miner. I’m not sure what happened to him after that as I can’t find him in the records.

18 October

One of my gggg grandmothers was born today, back in 1752 – nearly 300 years before I was born. Also born today was my Yorkshire Great Uncle Joe, father of a blog follower, and a current day Strachan descendant. Plus a Strachan who migrated to Detroit, a Yorkshire ancestor who was a coal miner, and a Strachan who disappears from the records after 1901.

18 October 1752
Birth of my gggg grandmother Susannah Alexander at Birkieknowe, Ayrshire and baptised at Auchinleck, daughter of John Alexander and Christian Reid. Her mother is not named on the baptism record, but in 1755 a John Alexander of Birkieknowe had a son Charles baptised, and that record gives the mother’s name as Christian. There is no concrete evidence that this is the Susannah Alexander who married Thomas Strachan but there is strong circumstantial evidence, as Susannah and Thomas had children they named John, Christian and Charles. Susannah Alexander married Thomas Strachan on 15 July 1771 at Irvine, and they had 8 children baptised at Irvine up to April 1790. At some point after that, however, they moved to Gorbals, most probably so Thomas and his older sons could work at the Govan coal mines: their two youngest children were baptised at Gorbals in 1793 and 1795. After that the trail goes cold, as there is no record of a death/burial for Susannah. However, several of Susannah’s sons moved back to Ayrshire: John from 1812, Robert from 1803 or earlier, Peter from before 1809 and Samuel from before 1820. So it’s possible that if Susannah was still alive into the 1800s she may have moved back to Ayrshire.

18 October 1871
Birth of Margaret Mitchell Strachan at Stevenston, daughter of Samuel Strachan and Janet Mitchell and granddaughter of my gggg uncle Samuel Strachan and Ann Miller. She is with her parents in 1881 at Station Square, Stevenston, her father coal miner. Her father died in 1882 and in 1891 she is with her mother and a brother at Station Square, working as a dynamite worker. She married Peter Monie, a printer compositer, in 1897 in Glasgow, and they are in Govan in 1901 with 2 children and a boarder. Peter Monie went to Detroit, USA in 1910, followed by his wife and their by then 4 children in 1911. They are at 14th Avenue, Detroit in the 1920 census, Peter Monie working as a building contractor building houses. By 1930 is a printer again, at a newspaper, and he and Margaret are at Blaine Avenue, Detroit with 2 unmarried daughters. Margaret M Monie died at Detroit in 1950.

18 October 1873
Birth of Joshua White, baptised at Royston, Yorkshire, son of my ggg aunt Jane Simpson and John Murgatroyd White. According to his baptism record, his father was a coal miner and his parents were living at East Gawber Hall Colliery village. In 1881 he is with his family at Carlton, and in 1891 at Monk Bretton: by then he had joined his father as a coal miner. In 1989 he married Mary Jane Caves at West Bretton, and they are at the pit housing near Carlton in 1901 with 2 children. By 1911 Joshua is a colliery contractor underground the Ashleigh pit at Monk Bretton and had moved from Carlton via Smith Wood: he and Mary had 7 children by then and were also housing a coal miner, his wife and young child. Joshua White died in 1952 age 78, his death registered at Barnsley.

18 October 1885
Jeannie Strachan was born at Dunlop’s Land, Crookedholm, Ayrshire, daughter and youngest child of my gg uncle Henry Strachan and Elizabeth Black. She is with her parents in Crookedholm in 1891 and 1901, and by 1901 is working at a woollen factory. Nothing else found so I’m not sure what happened to her.

18 October 1899
Birth of my great uncle Joseph Green at Armley, Leeds, son of Joseph Green and Charlotte Senior. He is with his family, age 1, in 1901 at Hope Grove, Armley – his daughter, who follows this blogs, says he was fond of making the joke “At least I was born in hope, if I die in despair”. He was baptised in 1904 after the family had moved to Kirkstall, and is in the 1911 census as Station Parade, Kirkstall, age 11 and at school. He married Ethel Alderson, the daughter of neighbours, in 1930 at Kirkstall, at which time his occupation was cloth finished, so no doubt worked at one of the nearby mills. He lived in Leeds all his life and died in 1976. My mother was very fond of her Uncle Joe and remembered him as a funny and warm-hearted man.

18 October 1979
A great-gandson of my aunt Mary Ann McInairney Strachan, who married James McBride, was born in Scotland.