21 and 22 December

Nothing on 21st but the 22nd was busy. An early Aberdeenshire Fraser who was a neighbour of my ggg grandfather, a Strachan whose death is no doubt attributable to working down the mines, Strachan who married a baker and moved to Glasgow, an Aberdeenshire ancestor who migrated to Canada and became a building contractor in Toronto, and a Haddow descendent I’ve traced to age 18, when he was a stableman in Glasgow.

22 December 1819
Baptism of Robert Fraser at Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire, son of John Fraser and Anne Reid and grandson of my suspected ggggg uncle John Fraser and Christian Sangster. His father was a farm servant, hence Robert’s siblings were born in various locations in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire, but settled in Cruden parish. Robert married Christian Ogston in about 1845, though I can’t find a marriage record: she was born in the Shetland isles. In 1851 they are at Broadmuir, Cruden with 3 children, Robert an ag lab. By 1861 they had settled on the 4 acre croft of Moosnock or Mosside, next door to where my ggg grandfather William Fraser had his croft: he and William were probably related as Robert’s grandfather seems to have been William’s uncle. Robert must have leased extra land as his croft had become a 12 acre farm by 1871, and the 1881 census says 9 acres were arable. He was still there in the 1891 and 1901 census. Robert and Christina had 9 children but by 1901 Robert had been widowed, and has female servant and her son living with him. He died in March 1905 at the Poorhouse in Aberdeen, with his usual residence given as High Street, Old Aberdeen, so must have spent his last few years with one of his children: the poorhouse in those days was also the hospital used by those without much money, and his death certificate says he died of “general debility uncertain, senile heart failure” at age 85.

22 December 1846 (born about 1826)
Samuel Strachan was born in about 1826 at Riccarton, Ayrshire, though no baptism record has been found, son of my gggg uncle coal miner Samuel Strachan and Ann Miller, and grandson of Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander. His family had migrated to Nova Scotia in the 1830s as one of Samuel’s younger siblings was born there in about 1833, but had returned to Ayrshire. In 1841 Samuel is with his parents and siblings at Cambuskeith, Kilmarnock (which is just to the west of Kilmarnock) and at age 14 he was probably already a coal miner. In 1846 he married Janet Mitchell at Kilmarnock and they went on to have the typical coal miner’s large family of 11 children. They are in Kilmaurs in 1851 with their eldest child who was born in Dreghorn, then they had 2 children born in Kilmaurs before moving to Stevenston, where they were to remain. They are in Stevenston in 1861 with 5 children and a boarder, and at Chemical Row, Stevenston – which was near the Ardeer dynamite works – in 1871 with 6 of their children at home. By 1881 they were at Station Street, Stevenston with their 3 youngest surviving children at home. Samuel Strachan died in January 1882 age 55 of haemoptysis, which is the coughing up of blood from the respiratory tract, and was no doubt a result of his years working in the coal mines.

22 December 1837
Birth of Catherine Mure Strachan at at Shewalton Colliery, Dundonald, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg uncle Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle, and she is with them at Shewalton in 1841. Her father died of fever, possibly of typhus, in 1846, and her mother died at about the same time. In 1851 the siblings were living with relatives, and Catherine age 13, working as a servant, is at Corsehill Square, Dreghorn, with her cousin Janet Strachan, who had married John Hamilton. Catherine married Charles Wark at Irvine in 1859, and they are at High Street, Irvine in 1861 with 2 young children, Charles a baker and Catherine a cotton seamstress. They then moved to Glasgow in the mid 1860s and are in Stewart Street, Barony in 1871 with 5 daughters, Gayfield Street, Kelvin in 1881 with 6 daughters, and Grove Street, Milton in 1891 with 3 daughters still at home. They had at least 10 children but only 6 daughters appear to have survived childhood; most of them worked in the printing industry as young women. Catherine Wark nee Strachan died age 71 in 1909 in Glasgow.

22 December 1854
Baptism of my half ggg uncle Alexander Hepburn Rennie at Monquhitter, Aberdeenshire, son of my ggg grandmother Isabella Booth and her second husband Charles Rennie. In 1861 he is with his widowed and pauper mother, and his sister, at Lethenty, Fyvie. In 1871 he migrated to Canada and gave his occupation as mason. He married in 1883 at Ayr, Waterloo, Canada to Isabella Moir, who was also from Scotland. They are in the 1891 Canada census at Ayr Village, Alexander working as a bricklayer and with 4 children. They are still there in 1901, Alexander a mason and with an expanded family of 7 children. By 1911 they had moved to West Toronto and Alexander was a building contractor with a son working as a bricklayer. Alexander Hepburn Rennie died at Eileen Avenue, Toronto in 1926 and the informant, his son, has mistakenly given his own parents’ details instead of his father’s! Alexander died at age 71 of chronic intestinal nephritis (kidney disease).

22 December 1873
Birth of James Gray at Tradeston, Lanarkshire, son of my gg aunt Flora Haddow and James Gray. His mother died in 1880 at Govan, Glasgow and in 1881 James, age 7 and at school, is with his father in Glasgow with his sister and an elderly female boarder. His father remarried and in 1891, James age 18 is with his father, stepmother, sister, half brother and a lodger in Argyle Street, Blythswood, Glasgow and is working as a stableman. I’ve not traced him beyond that: James Gray is a common name, and he isn’t with his father and sister in 1901.

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