Monthly Archives: December 2013

18 and 19 December

Today are two happy birthday wishes to send to cousins, one in USA and one in Canada.Nothing on the 18th, but also on the 19th are a Hutcheon descendant from Aberdeen who was a shoemaker at Longside, and a Strachan who probably died as a result of childbirth.

19 December 1834
Baptism of Alexander Davidson at Longside, Aberdeenshire, son of my gggg aunt Margaret Hutcheon and Charles Davidson. In 1841 he is with his parents and siblings at St Fergus, which was then in Banffshire, and is in Burnhead, Banffshire in 1851 working, at age 16, as a farm labourer for a miller with 12 acres. In 1861 he is Mosside, Longside (not to be confused with the Fraser croft of Mosside near Hatton) working as a shoemaker, and is with his parents and grandmother. His father died in 1862 and in 1865 Alexander married Susan Angus at Udny, and they had children baptised at Longside. In 1871 Alexander is a shoemaker journeyman living at Back Wynd, Longside with wife Susan and 3 children, and is at Old Toll House, Longside in 1881 with his wife and 7 children. In 1891, working as a shoemaker and general labourer, he is still at Longside with his wife and 3 youngest children still at home. He was present when his mother died at Mosside, Rora, Longside in 1893 and was the informant on her death certificate. Alexander died in 1899 at Longside age 64.

19 December 1858
Birth of my half gg aunt Susan Strachan at Kilwinning, daughter of my gg grandfather Robert Strachan and his second wife Susan Cran. Susan is with her parents at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning in 1861 and 1871, and married coal miner Peter Lawson in Kilwinning in 1880. They are in Corsehill, Kilwinning in 1881 with a 3 month old son, and are still there in 1891 with 4 children. she had another 2 children in the early 1890s, then died of a haemorrhage in February 1897: her death certificate does not say this was in childbirth but it’s possible it was. Her husband Peter remarried.

19 December 1954
Happy birthday Betty in the USA, daughter of my cousin Harry.

19 December 1959
Happy birthday Debra in Canada, daughter of my cousin Colin.

17 December

Three today: one is an Alexander from Aberdeenshire who became a blacksmith and another is a Green from my Yorkshire family but this one was born in London. Plus there’s blog follower Colin’s father who isn’t my blood relation, but his mother was a Fraser from Aberdeenshire, though not related – as far as I know – to my Frasers from Aberdeenshire.

17 December 1749
Birth of my gggggg uncle William Alexander at Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, son of William Alexander and Ann Strachan. Ian Macdonald has researched him for his book ‘The Alexanders of Bourtie’ and says that William was 14 when his father died, and took over Westerhouses farm with his mother Ann. However, his belief in progressive farming techniques caused conflict with his mother, and he gave up his claim on the family farm in favour of a younger brother. Ann Alexander nee Strachan’s testement (will) makes it clear he was bought off for £30 in 1778. He then learnt blacksmithing and took himself to Aberdeen, then settled at Rescivit in Chapel of Garioch parish, and married Isobel Galloway of Daviot. He is mentioned on the family memorial at Bourtie as “William late Black Smith in Rescivet who died 4th Nov. 1806 in the 58th year of his age”. William and Isobel had 4 children, their son James being the father of the Aberdeen radical, newspaper editor and writer William Alexander.

17 December 1876
Baptism of George Percy Green at Marylebone, London, son of George Edwin Green and Sarah Maria Sampson and grandson of my gggg uncle Samuel Green and Mary. His father was a shopman of Alfred Street, Street. George died in 1883 at age 7 and his death was registered at Chelsea.

17 December 1897
Birth of William M Harper in Aberdeen who married by aunt Jeanie Haddow Strachan and was the father of my cousin Colin who follows this blog. Interestingly, his parents were John Harper and Ellen Fraser and, of course, my mother comes from an Aberdeenshire line of Frasers, so I felt compelled to do a bit of research. However, William Harper’s great grandfather was Robert Fraser of Banchory so is not related to my Frasers, although his great grandmother was born Elspet Imlay at Cruden, which is where my Frasers lived. Given that William Harper and Jeanie Strachan met and married in Canada, it’s still an amazing coincidence.

16 December

Just one today: a Marshall descendant who brings an unusual occupation to my family tree as she married a lace curtain manufacturer.

16 December 1863
Birth of Marion Hughes Jardine at Galston, Ayrshire, daughter of Francis Russell Jardine and Marion Craig Marshall, and granddaughter of my ggg ucle Alexander Marshall and Christina Wallace. Marion’s father was a labourer at the colliery in Galston in 1871, and in 1881 Marion is a domestic servant for a farmer. She married Hugh Morton at Galston in 1890, and they are in Loudon in 1891, Hugh a clerk at a lace company. By 1901 they had had 4 children born at Darvel, but were back in Loudon where Hugh was a lace curtain manufacturer. Marion Hughes Morton ms Jardine died in 1940 at age 76 at Galston.

A McCrae photo: Robert McCubbin McCrae born 1910

You all love photos so here’s one of a McCrae descendant.

Robert McCubbin McCrae b 1910

Robert McCubbin McCrae was born in Kilmarnock in 1910, and was the grandson of my great grandparents John McCrae and Mary Ann McInairney. His father was Matthew McIncarne McCrae (no two people spell what I suspect is McInerney the same way!) who married Anne McCubbin: Robert McCubbin McCrae was the second youngest out of their seven children. He is responsible there being a London branch of our McCrae family, as he served in the navy and married at Islingston in 1938. They lived in Putney, and Robert’s 1975 death was registered at West Ham.

A big thank you to his son Robert who still lives in London and has given me permission to put the photo on my blog. Robert went cycling in the Outer Hebrides this summer so is clearly both fit and brave. We share the frustrations of researching the McCrae and McInerney family trees.

15 December

Today: an early Strachan pair of gggggg grandparents, an Aberdeenshire Hay, and a Strachan descendant who was born in Nova Scotia but returned to Ayrshire as a child and became a colliery manager.

15 December 1727
My gggggg grandparents John Hudson and Mary Wooffendale were married at Royston, Yorkshire. I can’t find baptism records for either of them and as John was the only person named Hudson to be found in the Royston parish records at that time, it’s likely he was born elsewhere. There were quite a few Wooffendales being baptised, married or buriedin Royston, but nothing that helps me work out who Mary’s parents could be. John and Mary had 9 children baptised in Royston from 1729 to 1748, the youngest being my ggggg grandmother Lydia Hudson who married Thomas Fisher. John Hudson died in 1763 and was buried at Royston St John the Baptist on 13 July 1763 but no age is given so it’s impossible to know when he was born, and I can’t find a burial record for Mary Hudson nee Wooffendale.

15 December 1802
Baptism of my gggg aunt Isobel Hay at Tarves, daughter of Alexander Hay and Margaret Daniel. Nothing further found so it’s possible she died young.

15 December 1832
Hugh Findlay was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, eldest child of coal miner David Findlay and Susanna Strachan and grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. His parents chose not to stay in Nova Scotia, as by 1841 they were back in Ayrshire, living in Riccarton with 4 children, only the first 2 born overseas. Hugh’s mother died in 1848, and in 1849 his father married Margaret Brown. Hugh is with his father, stepmother and siblings, half siblings and step siblings at Portland Row, Riccarton in 1851 and is a coal miner – the household comprised 11 people living in what was probably a two roomed miner’s house. Hugh married Margaret Miller in 1855 at Kilmarnock, and they’re at Cadger’s Row, Hurlford in 1861 with 3 children. By 1871 they are in Loudonkirk Cottage, Loudon with 5 children, but on census night Hugh, by now a mining contractor, was at a lodging house in Edinburgh, where he must have gone on business as he is with James Love of Hurlford, also a mining contractor. 1881 sees Hugh and Maggie in Darling Place, Monkton and Prestwick, and Hugh is, surprisingly, a grocer – they have 6 children with them. But by 1891 Hugh has gone back to mining and is a colliery manager, living on Kilmaurs Road, Kilmarnock with Maggie and 5 of their children. They are in Kilmarnock in 1901, Hugh still a colliery manager at age 68, and with 3 unmarried children still at home. Hugh died in 1916 at age 83 at Galston.

14 December

Just the one today: a Yorkshire Oxley who frustratingly disappears, though he seems to have married at the same church where I was baptised in Leeds.

14 December 1845
My ggg uncle Thomas Oxley was baptised at Barnsley, Yorkshire, the son of Thomas Oxley and Sarah Grist: his baptism says his father was a labourer. By 1851 Thomas’s father had died, and Thomas is in Worsbrough with his widowed mother and siblings. They had moved into Barnsley by 1861 and 16 year old Thomas was a glass blower. I suspect he is the Thomas Oxley from Barnsley who married Mary Anne Collins in Leeds in 1866, as their marriage certificate says his father was Thomas Oxley brickmaker, and at least one of his brothers became a brickmaker. The marriage, coincidentally, took place at the same church where I was baptised. Thomas and Mary Ann are living off Kirkstall Road in 1871 with 2 children, Thomas a labourer at a foundry. In 1881 Mary Ann Oxley, with 2 sons, is at the same location but there is no Thomas with her, though the census entry says she is married. By 1891 she is a widow, living with 1 of her sons. I can’t find a death registration for Thomas or a census entry for him after 1871, so he’s a puzzle.

13 December

Friday the 13th today but it may not have been a Friday when these were born. They are a Booth I can’t trace, a Strachan who, along with his siblings, didn’t marry, and a Fraser who lived in Ellon, Hatton and Aberdeen, and started as a farm servant but became a council roadman and then a gas worker.

13 December 1820
Birth of my gggg uncle David Booth, who was baptised at Inverurie, son of William Booth and Margaret Allan. Unfortunately I can’t find anything further for him, so he may have died young.

13 December 1858
Birth of Hugh Strachan at Old Cumnock, Ayrshire, son of coal miner John Strachan and Margaret Cuthbertson and grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. By 1861 he had moved to Abbey Landward, Renfrewshire with his family, where his father was an ironstone miner foreman. The family are at Muirpark, Renfrewshire in 1871 and 12 year old Hugh is at school. By 1881 he is with his parents and siblings in Govan and is working as a commercial clerk. His father died in 1884 and in 1891 he is with his mother, 4 unmarried siblings, and a cousin in Paisley, working as a box maker. His mother died in 1895 and in 1901 the 5 unmarried siblings and their cousin are still together in Paisley with Hugh working as a thread mill foreman. The siblings and their cousin are all still living together in 1911 at Elderslie, to the west of Paisley, so it looks as if none of them got married. Hugh is working as a cardboard box maker for a cotton spinning company. He died in 1934 at Paisley, age 74.

13 December 1872
Birth of my half gg uncle James Fraser at Aberdeen, son of my gg grandfather Alexander Fraser and his second wife Margaret Booth. James was born when his parents briefly lived in Aberdeen, but in 1877 his grandfather William Fraser died and his father took over the Fraser croft of Mosside, near Hatton. James is with his parents at Mosside in 1881, age 8 and at school. In 1891 he is probably the James Fraser who is a farm servant at Easterton Auchleuchries, Cruden. James married Isabella Rennie in 1899 at Ellon, and they were married at the Station Buffet, a room at the hotel next to Ellon Station. By 1901 James and Isabella are in a cottar house near Ellon with a baby son, and James is a farm servant. They are in a house on Rosebank, Hatton in 1911 with 3 children, and James is working as a roadman for the county council. James Fraser died at age 68 in 1941 at Skene Street, Aberdeen and was a gas worker in his later life. He died of a coronary thrombosis.

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.

A smile for Christmas

See how a Christmas tree is decorated at a horse, pony and donkey rescue centre here: We want this video to go viral all around the world, so please pass on the link!

10 and 11 December

10 December was my parents’ wedding anniversary, and it also my sister’s wedding anniversary – though not the same year, obviously! Also today, a Strachan descendant who died in infancy, a Booth from Aberdeenshire who I can only trace so far, a Strachan descendant who migrated to the US as a child and lived in Illinois, and a Strachan relative who celebrates her birthday today.

10 December 1836
Birth of David Findlay at Riccarton, Ayshire, son of David Findlay and Susanna Strachan and grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. David died in infancy.

10 December 1856
Birth of Elizabeth Booth at Longside, Aberdeenshire, daughter of my gggg uncle James Booth and Jean Keith. She is with her labourer and road contractor father, mother and siblings at Nether Kinmundy in 1861 and 1871, then in 1881 is at Albyn Terrace in Aberdeen working as a domestic cook for an elderly lady. I’m not sure what happened to her after that as I haven’t found anything that I’m certain is her.

11 December 1863
Birth of James Howat at Dundonald, Ayrshire, son John Howat and Margaret Bain, grandson of Peter Thomas Howat and Janet Strachan, and great grandson of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. In 1869, 6 year old James migrated with his family to the US and they went to Reed Township in Illinois where his father worked as a coal miner, alongside several of his mother’s brothers. He is with his family in the 1870 and 1880 US census, and by age 16 was working as a miner. He then married Annie and became a sales man, and by 1900 they had 2 children. They remained in Reed Township and in 1910 James was a dry goods merchant and wife Annie was a milliner. By 1920 they had moved to Chicago: James was working as clerk at a textile factory and his unmarried daughter was a high school teacher. James and Annie continued to live in Chicago with their teacher daughter, and James died there in 1946.

10 December 1993
Birth of a granddaughter of a cousin on the Strachan side, great granddaughter of my aunt Mary Ann McInairney Strachan and James Tenant McBride. She lives in Scotland.