15 and 16 November

A nothing happened day on the 15th but three on the 16th, all with quite a bit to say about them. A very early Strachan may, or may not, be in the records after her birth but another Strachan had a rather complicated life and makes quite a lot of appearances in the records. And from Aberdeenshire there’s someone I’m connected to twice, thanks to a marriage of two distantly related people.

16 November 1776
Birth of my gggg aunt Christian Strachan at Irvine, Ayrshire, daughter of Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander. The family moved to Gorbals, just south of the Clyde, in the early 1790s, and if Christian went with them she would have about 15 years old. There is nothing further in the records that can be said definitely to be her. However, there is a birth recorded in the Gorbals OPR in July 1805 for Susannah Dick, daughter of James Dick mason and Christian Strachan, but no marriage found and no other births of children for the same couple, and nothing further to be found for Susannah Dick, unfortunately. Given that Christian’s mother was called Susannah there’s a good possibility this is “my” Christian. But there’s also a burial recorded in the Gorbals Parish Register for February 1814 for Christian Strachan age 40 who could be her is she didn’t marry, or if her husband died before her and she reverted to her maiden name as a widow, which was common practice in Scotland.

16 November 1883 (born about 1835)
Birth of my gg aunt Mary Strachan at Shewalton Colliery, Ayrshire, daughter of Robert Strachan and Margaret Haggerty. Mary had an interesting life which is well documented in the records. She is with her parents at Shewalton Colliery in 1841: the family then moved to Kilwinning where Mary’s mother died in 1846 and her father remarried in 1850. In 1851 Mary is with her father, stepmother and siblings, earning her keep as a hand sewer. She then gave birth to an illegitimate son Robert Strachan in 1855, father not named, at Springside Row, Dreghorn: Mary’s sister Margaret gave her address as Springside, Dreghorn when she married in 1857 so it looks as if the sisters were living there during the 1850s, although their father and stepmother remained in Kilwinning. In 1857 Mary married Archibald Russell, a seaman, at Saltcoats and gave her address as Harbour Buildings, Ardrossen and her occupation as domestic servant. In 1858 her son Robert died at Ardrossen. Mary gave birth to a daughter named Margaret Strachan in 1861 at Corsehill, Kilwinning: on the birth certificate Mary gave her name as Mary Strachan and did not name the father,so Archibald Russell can’t have been around. He could well have been at sea but it looks as though Mary’s child was fathered by someone else. In the 1861 census Mary, named as Mary Russell, is with her father and stepmother at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning, along with her 3 month old daughter Margaret Strachan. Mary then seems to have lived as the wife of Alexander McEwan, as they had two illegitimate children born in 1867 and 1869 at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning, Alexander signing the birth registration for both children. They are in the 1871 census at Kenneth’s Row, just a few doors down from Mary’s father and stepmother, and with them is Mary’s daughter Margaret described as wife’s daughter. Mary is listed as Mary McEwan but she and Alexander, a coal miner, were not married, and had had 2 more children. In 1881 Mary McEwan is a visitor in the household of Susan Strachan, her stepmother, along with her 4 youngest children. No sign of Alexander McEwan but he may be the person of that name who was lodger in Old Monkland – perhaps he’d gone there to work. He was back in Kilwinning by 1883, however, as in November that year he and Mary Strachan were married. The question is, why did they wait until 1883? A possible answer is that that’s when Archibald Russell died, or at least when Mary found out he had died, but no death record for Archibald can be found – as he was a seaman he could have died anywhere. In 1891 Mary and Alexander McEwan and their 2 youngest children are at Brick Row, Kilwinning. Then in 1901 Mary is in Kilwinning with her married daughter Marion and family, which may be because Marion has a 1 week old baby. Alexander McEwan is in Kilwinning with their son Andrew and Andrew’s wife and children, and is working as a labourer. Mary McEwan ms Strachan died in 1909 at Kilwinning at age 69.

16 November 1840
Birth of Jane Aitken at Longside, Aberdeenshire, daughter of William Aitken and Elizabeth Milne. Jane married a grandson of my ggggg aunt Isobel Sangster and Peter Morgan, and was
the mother of Helen Ann Morgan who became the second wife of my great grandfather William Fraser. Jean Aitken, as she was called as a child, is with her parents at Savoch, Longside in 1841, her father an ag lab. The family are missing from the 1851 census, but in 1861 Jean Aitken is with her Milne grandparents at croft of Savoch or Faichfield, Longside. She married, in 1865 at Longside and as Jane Aitken, to William Souter Morgan but she’d already had two children with him. William, a farm servant, Jane and 4 children are at Lochside, Cruden in 1871, and have William’s younger half brother as a lodger. They had 10 children and in 1881 are at Collie Hill, Cruden and at Little Tillymaud in 1891, William still a farm servant. In 1901 they are living at Kennedy’s Buildings, Cruden and Willliam is a ploughman: with them are 4 children, 3 grandchildren and a boarder. Then in 1911 Jane Morgan is at B Street, Boddam, with a dauhhter and 3 grandchildren, and the census says she was a widow, but she wasn’t – William Morgan was an inmate at the Royal Asylum Aberdeen, where he remained until his death in 1917. Jane Morgan ms Aitken died later the same year, at Leadside Road, Aberdeen, age 76 of senile decay and chronic valvular disease.

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