18 November

My great aunt Susan McCrae was born on this day: she married but then separated, and the birth certificate for one of her daughters is unusually detailed. There’s also an Aberdeenshire Alexander who died of typhoid fever.

18 November 1827
Baptism of Janet Alexander at Rayne, Aberdeenshire, daughter of my ggggg uncle John Alexander and Janet Morrison. Janet , sadly, didn’t have the most exciting life: she is with her parents on their small farm at Meikle Wartle in 1841 and 1851, earned her keep as a dressmaker, didn’t get married, and died in 1859 age 31 of typhoid fever.

18 November 1866
Birth of my great aunt Susan Bell McCrae in Kilmarnock, daughter of coal miner John McCrae and Mary Ann McInairney (or McInerney, though Mary Ann’s name is written as Marian McInally on Susan’s birth certificate). She was named for the Susan Bell who lived with John McCrae and his mother, and was possibly John’s half sister. In 1871 Susan is with her parents, siblings, her mother’s half sister and a lodger at 6 Dean Lane, Kilmarnock, and at 40 Mill Lane, Kilmarnock in 1881. By then she is 14 and working at the tobacco factory. She was a witness at her sister Agnes’s marriage in 1885, and then in 1889 Susan married John Boyle, a pit headman, at what was probably her parents’ home at John Dickie Street, Kilmarnock. Unfortunately they can’t be found in the 1891 census, but their son Andrew was born in 1892 at 7 High Church Lane, which was Susan’s parents’ home. Their daughter, who was given the wonderful name of Janet Sneddon Dunlevy Boyle, was born at 19 Low Glencairn Street, Kilmarnock in 1898, by which time John Boyle was working as a cab driver. Susan and John Boyle then separated, and in 1901 Susan is at 14 High Street, Kilmarnock with her children Andrew and Janet. Not long afterwards she moved to Glasgow where she lived with John Devine: in 1903 they had a daughter Ellen Devine and on her birth certificate it says her parents are “John Devine dyer and Susan McCrae, wife of John Boyle carter who she declares is not the father of the child and further that she had no personal communication with him since they agreed to reside separately 4 years ago.” I’ve not seen such detail on a birth certificate before, but it’s useful for a family historian! In 1911 they are at Levern Banks, Neilston, John Devine a dyer’s labourer, with 3 children plus Janet Boyle, Susan’s daughter. Susan died in 1942 at Duke Street, Glasgow, but with usual residence Abercromby Street. She was 75 and died of cardiac failure and pneumonia, and her death certificate describes her as Susan Devine formerly Boyle, widow of John Boyle cab driver.

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