5 and 6 December

An interesting mixture today: an Ayrshire gg grandmother who lived till nearly 90; a Watt from Aberdeenshire who was widowed fairly young and was a dressmaker; a Strachan who married a Howat (quite a few Strachans did) and llived in Dreghorn; and an Aberdeeshire Sangster/McWilliams offspring who migrated to Iowa and married a Norwegian who became a prosperous farmer and notable citizen. Plus a birthday in Canada!

6 December 1823 (born about 1805)
My gg grandmother Amelia Murphie was born in about 1805 at Stevenston, Ayrshire, but no baptism record has been found. She was the daughter of Duncan Murphie and Jane Wilson who had married at Stevenston in 1787 and was their youngest child. On 6 December 1823, at Stevenston, Amelia married John Haddow: the entry for their marriage says she was of Ardrossen parish, which is next door to Stevenston and is given as her birthplace in the census. John Haddow and Amelia Murphie are in the 1836 minister’s census of Stevenston at 5 Mill Hill with 3 children. They are then in the 1841 census at Townhead Street, John a coal miner, and with 4 children. By 1851 they had moved to Kilwinning and were living at Kenneth Row, Corsehill, which is where their daughter met and married Joseph Strachan. John and Amelia are still at Kenneth’s Row in 1861, though Amelia is mistakenly listed as Helen, with their 2 youngest children still at home. John Haddow died in 1866, and in 1871 Amelia Haddow is at Lamonts Road, Kilwinning with her youngest son, a coal miner. |n the 1881 census her name is written as Maile Haddow and she is on her own at Abbeygate Street, Kilwinning at age 75, and is still there and on her own in 1891. However, a lot of her neighbours and elderly, retired and widowed so hopefully they all looked after each other. Amelia died in 1893, her death certificate naming her as Mary, at Abbeygate Street, age 88 of cardiac failure.

6 December 1805
Birth of my gggg aunt Mary Watt at Bourtie, eldest child of Peter Watt and Helen Alexander. Ian Macdonald had done a good job of researching her on his CD Book the Alexanders of Bourtie, so I’ll let him tell you about her. “(Mary) married James Calder around 1836 and had twin girls in 1837, Mary who survived and Jane who died. By 1841 they were lodging at Daviot (the Aberdeenshire one) where James was described as being of independent means, though at Mary’s death he was recorded as a labourer. In 1851 the only trace of them was a widowed Mary Watt, of the right age, working as a house servant at Daviot, however, by 1861 Mary Calder was in Inverurie together with her daughter and making a living as a dressmaker. She died at Inverurie in 1864.”

5 December 1808
Birth of Janet Strachan and Riccarton, Ayrshire, daughter of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. Janet married Peter Howat in 1831 in Kilmarnock, and in the 1841 census she and Peter are at Thirdpart, Kilmarnock with 6 children – Peter, of course, is a coal miner. They are at Corsehill Square, Dreghorn in 1851 with 10 children, 1 child having died: the older sons are all coal miners and the older daughters a hand sewer and a house maid. Peter Howat died in the 1850s, and in 1861 Janet is still in Dreghorn, keeping house for 4 unmarried coal miner sons and her youngest daughter. She remained in Dreghorn and is there in 1871, with an unmarried son, a granddaughter, and a daughter, son in law and their young child. In 1881 Janet is living at Mill Bank Row, Dreghorn and still has an unmarried son with her as well as a granddaughter. Janet Howat nee Strachan died in March 1883 at Mill Bank Row, age 74, of liver disease.

5 December 1856
Birth of Eliza McWilliam at Tyrie, Aberdeenshire, daughter of my half gggg uncle Nathaniel McWilliam and Isobel Murison, and granddaughter of Janet Sangster and William McWilliam. Eliza is in New Pitsligo in 1861 with her ag lab father, mother, siblings and grandmother Janet Murison. Her mother Isobel died not long after, and in 1863 her father remarried toMary Yule. The family migrated to USA in 1867 when Eliza was 11 and they went to Postville, Allamakee, Iowa. In 1870 Eliza was with her family, her father working as a farm labourer. She married Evan Swenson, who had migrated from Norway, at Postville in 1875. He was a farmer, they had 12 children, and stayed in Postville bringing up their large family. By 1920 Evan had retired and they were living in Postville town. Evan died in 1932 and Eliza died in 1942 at age 85. There’s a biography of Evan Swenson on the internet at http://www.sharylscabin.com/Allamakee/Bios13/swens_e.htm which is fascinating reading. After marrying in 1875, Evan rented a 500 acre farm for 2 years, then bought 120 acres for $14 an acre, which he cleared and farmed for 19 years, then sold it for $53 an acre. He then bought Perry Farm and worked it for 3 years, selling it at a substantial profit. His next farm was near the Bethel Church which became one of the finest farms in that part of Iowa, mainly focused on raising cattle and pigs. He was involved in many civic organisations, a Justice of the Peace, and a prominent citizen. Eliza seems to have made a good marriage choice!

6 December 1988
Happy birthday to Jonathan in Canada – he’s my first cousin twice removed (i.e. my cousin Colin’s grandson).

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4 responses to “5 and 6 December

  1. Thanks Judy; Have forwarded Dec.06th blog to Jon via his mother, my eldest daughter Debra. Just wonderful, some day, when time permits you must advise me how you obtain this information regarding us in Canada.
    Enjoy every article, cousin Colin.

    • Hi Colin. Birth dates of your family came from you! You sent me a list of names and dates some years ago and I fed it all onto my family tree on my computer. Information from before the 1940s come from online sources: some Canadian birth, marriage and death records are now online, as well as passenger lists and migrant arrival forms. Glad you’re still enjoying the blog.

  2. Hi Judy; Thanks for your reply. Hon, I struggle with responding through the blog regarding personal family matters in case that is not your preference. Please advise! However, in this case it is another example of how my 77 yr old mind is losing it. Love you, Colin.

  3. Judy – Happy to come across your blog – It is more fun and interesting to read genealogy entries written like yours. – Eliza McWilliams is my grandfather’s grandmother. I believe that makes us 4th cousins once removed by was of Janet Sangster.

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