12 December

Today is a Fraser, plus three brothers descended from my Sangster ancestor who shared the same birthday: they were all born in Peterhead but one of them had a child born on the northern most place in Scotland – the isle of Unst in the Shetlands – another looks as if he might have spent some time in prison, and the third died in his 40s of a carbuncle. A Strachan descendant was born too, but died in infancy. And today is the birthday of a granddaughter of one of my Strachan aunts.

12 December 1825
Baptism of John Fraser at St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, to John Fraser and Ann Reid: I suspect his grandfather was the John Fraser who was the brother of William Fraser, my gggg grandfather. His father was a farm servant, and although born in St Fergus, John grew up in Cruden, which is where the Frasers settled. John became a farm servant and married Helen Mess in 1849 at Ellon. They are in Logie Buchan in 1851, with their first child, then had more children born in Ellon until moving back to Logie Buchan where they are in 1861, John a cattleman. Wife Helen died in 1868, not that long after the birth of their 8th child, and John married Isabella Christie at Logie Buchan in 1870. In 1871 they are in Logie Buchan, John a farm servant, with John’s youngest 3 children. By 1881 they had moved to Barrowly Cottarhouse, Ellon, and have John’s youngest child and a grandchild with them. Isabella Fraser ms Christie died at age 56 in 1884 at Foveran. It looks as if John died in Aberdeen in 1886/7 but there were several John Frasers of the right age who died in the same period and without paying to download several death certificates it’s impossible to know which is the right one.

12 December 1850
Birth of William McWilliam at Peterhead, son of David McWilliam and Elizabeth Ewan and grandson of my gggg grandmother Janet Sangster and my step gggg grandfather William McWilliam. He was baptised in January 1851 before the Free Church congregation and had two brothers also born on 12 December (see below). What is the chance of 3 siblings having the same birthday? William is with his parents in Peterhead in 1851 and 1861, then is a boarder in Aberdeen in 1871, working as a carpenter. In 1881 I suspect he is the William McWilliams, ship carpenter age 28 born Peterhead, who is a prisoner at Greeenock: I don’t know what he’d done or how serious the offence was but it would be interesting to know. But that is the last record I can find for William, so I don’t know what happened to him.

12 December 1855
Birth of Andrew McWilliam at Peterhead, son of David McWilliam and Elizabeth Ewan and brother of William (above). Andrew started working as a sawyer in Peterhead, like his father, but then moved to Fraserburgh, where he married Jane Noble in 1877. In 1881 they’re in Fraserburgh with 2 children, and Andrew is a cooper: he probably became a cooper before moving to Fraserburgh as two of his younger brothers were also coopers in Peterhead. Andrew and Jane had 13 children in all, though not all survived infancy and childhood. By 1891 Andrew is a cooper and fisherman, and by 1901 is working as just a fisherman. Their children were all born in Fraserburgh except for one, born in Baltasound, which is a remote tiny village on Unst, the northern most island of the Shetlands. Given the unusual location, I downloaded the birth certificate: Isabella was born in July 1883 and although born on Unst the certificate says her parents‘ usual domicle is Fraserburgh – so it was a temporary stay. Andrew McWilliam died at Fraserburgh ion 1929, age 73.

12 December 1863
Birth of Ewan McWilliam, son of David McWilliam and Elizabeth Ewan and brother of William and Andrew (above). Ewan also became a cooper but stayed in Peterhead, where he married Ann Craig in 1885 and had 8 children. Ewan died in 1907 at Peterhead age 44. As he died fairly young I downloaded his death certificate to find out why, and discovered he died of a carbuncle. It goes to show how dangerous bacterial infections could be before the discovery of antibiotics.

12 December 1865
Birth of Adam Findlay at Loudon, Ayrshire, son of Hugh Findlay and Margaret Miller, grandson of David Findlay and Susanna Strachan, and great grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. Sadly he died in infancy and another son was named Adam.

12 December 1955
A birthday in Scotland for a granddaughter of my aunt Mary Ann McInairney Strachan and James Tennant McBride.

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