19 and 20 November

Nothing happened on the 19th. But for the 20th there’s a long lived Aberdeenshire gggg grandmother, an equally long lived Aberdeenshire ggg grandfather, and a relatively short lived Strachan from Ayrshire.

20 November 1785
Baptism of my gggg grandmother Helen Alexander at Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, daughter of James Alexander and Helen Burgess. Her father was a farmer, and in November 1805 she married agricultural labourer Peter Watt. Their first 3 children were baptised at Bourtie, then they had children baptised at Udny, Fintry, Chapel of Garioch and from 1818 at Rayne, where they remained. Most likely they were moving from farm to farm, as farm servants, until they took a small croft at Meikle Wartle in the parish of Rayne. The 1841 census has them at Meikle Wartle, with Peter Watt an ag lab and none of their 12 children remaining at home. They are there in 1851, Peter age 72 still an ag lab, and he and Helen have their daughter Jane with them, and Jane’s son illegitimate son George Smart. 1861 still finds them at Meikle Wartle, Peter Watt still an ag lab at 81, Helen having reached 75, daughter Jane, a stocking knitter, now with another illegtimate child, plus a new grandchild, offspring of their daughter Jessie. Both Peter and Helen were long lived as they’re in the 1871 census at Wartle, Peter finally retired at 91 and Helen is 85: with them is daughter Jessie, a knitter, and her daughter. Helen Watt ms Alexander died on 1 January 1872 at Wartle of senile debility, and the informant for her death certificate was a neighbour of School House, Rayne. Helen is commemorated on the memorial in Rayne kirkyard erected by her son William.

20 November 1793
Baptism of my ggg grandfather George Hay at Tarves, son of Alexander Hay and Margaret Daniel. In 1833 he married Mary Taylor at Old Deer, and in 1841 was farming East Shethin Farm, Tarves and employing 2 boys and a young woman. By 1851 George and Mary had 3 children surviving with a 10 year gap between the first and second, plus 2 male farm servants and a female: East Shethin was a 65 acre farm. 1861 sees them still with 3 children, the eldest now a ploughman, and they have a cattleman and a domestic servant in their employ, plus a grandson, the illegitimate son of their daughter. George Hay is 78 in the 1871 census, and his daughter and eldest son are still living with their parents, along with the grandson, and there is a male farm servant and a domestic. George Hay died at Tarves in 1879 age 85 and his son George took over the farm.

20 November 1818
Birth of Elizabeth Strachan in Riccarton, daughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. She married Andrew Muir in Kilmarnock in March 1836, who would have been a coal miner, given the places where they lived. I can’t find them in the 1841 census, but their first 2 children were born in Kilmaurs, then they had 3 children born in New Monkland, Lanarkshire before moving back to Ayrshire in about 1848, where their youngest child was born in Kilwinning. Andrew Muir then seems to have died either just before or just after the move to Ayrshire, as in 1851 Elizabeth Strachan is a widow at 5 Hagsthorn, Kilburnie, with 6 Muir children and a 1 month old baby named Robert Clark – plus a lodger also named Robert Clark, who is an ironstone miner and no doubt the father of the baby. There’s no marriage found for Elizabeth and Robert, but she had a son Thomas Clark in 1856 and on his birth certificate she is down as Elizabeth Clarke ms Strachan. Thomas was born on 19 October 1856 at Kilburnie, and Elizabeth died on 1 November 1856 of pthisis pulmanory (tuberculosis). On her death certificate is says she was married, and the informant was Robert Clark husband.

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