Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas Day

Wishing all blog followers, and anyone else who happens to pass by, a very Merry Christmas. Christmas is a time for family and so, if you have a spare moment, spend it thinking of all those ancestors who, by combining in the way they did, lead to you being born.

Will catch up on the “on this day” posts in a couple of days. Christmas Day proved to be busy for my Yorkshire ancestors, as it used to be a very popular day for being baptised or getting married.

I’ve been doing “on this day” since the 23rd March, so three more months to go and that will be 365 days of ancestors. I’ll have to think what else to post about once the year is up!


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.

20 December

The 20th was a busy day in ancestor land. So today is are two Greens, a Neilson, several Strachans and a Fraser descendant.

20 December 1770
Baptism of my ggggg aunt Anne Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of Joseph Green and Alice Rock. Nothing else found for her so it looks as if she died young.

20 December 1777
Birth of my ggg grandmother Agnes Neilson at Gorbals, Lanarkshire, daughter of coal miner Walter Neilson and Agnes Hadden. They may have been neighbours of my gggg grandparents Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander, as their son John Strachan married Agnes in April 1794 at Gorbals. Agnes and John were then on the move, from mine to mine, as their children were baptised in Gorbals, then Campsie in Stirlingshire, then Gorbals again, the Kilsyth in Stirlingshire, the at Coatbridge in Lanarkshire, Muirkirk in Ayrshire, and finally at Riccarton. Agnes died in about 1825, at the age of 47, possibly at Shewalton Colliery. By then she had 14 children, and possibly 15. Her husband John Strachan remarried and had 2 more children.

20 December 1829
Birth of Janet Strachan at Riccarton, Ayrshire, daughter of Peter Strachan and Ann Houston and granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. Janet must have died, as in 1841 Peter Strachan and Ann had another daughter named Janet.

20 December 1846 (born about 1844)
Janet Strachan was born, most probably at Shewalton Colliery, Ayrshire, in 1846, the daughter of my ggg uncle Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle, although no baptism record exists. She died on 20 December 1846 and was buried at Irvine. Her father had died in July the same year. There was a typhus epidemic in Scotland at that time, which may account for their deaths in the same year.

20 December 1864 (born about 1845)
John Strachan was born about 1845 at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, son of John Strachan and Agnes Scots and grandson of my ggg uncle Munro Strachan and Janet Jamieson. His age is taken from his census entries as no baptism record exists. In 1851 he is with his parents at MacReadie’s Land, Dreghorn, his father formerly a coal miner but receiving parish relief, no doubt due to ill health – father Munro died in 1854. John’s mother remarried, to widower William Young, and in 1861 the family are at Warwickhill, Dreghorn, William Young a coal miner and John Strachan age 15 also a coal miner. He married Agnes Scott at Irvine in 1864, and there at Thornton Back Row, Dreghorn in 1871 with 4 children and 2 of Agnes’s brothers: John and his brothers in law are all coal miners. By 1881 John and Agnes, with 6 children, are at Corsehill Square, Dreghorn, so had plenty of relatives as neighbours. They are still there in 1891, more children having been born but older ones having left home: they had 10 children and one of John’s sons was called Munro Strachan after John’s father and another was called William Young Strachan after his stepfather. His son Munro Strachan was the pipe major who wrote the music “Jeanie Strachan”.

20 December 1869
Birth of Margaret Strachan at Dreghorn, Ayshire, daughter of coal miner John Strachan and Janet Dow and granddaughter of my ggg uncle Samuel Strachan and Margaret Sampson Reid Jamieson. The family were living in Kilmarnock y 1871, and that’s where Margaret seems to have stayed for the rest of her life. She is with her parents in 1881 and 1891, and at age 21 is a tailoress. She married tailor’s cutter Robert Smith in 1893 and in 1901 they at Witch Road, Kilmarnock with 3 children and Margaret’s younger sister Catherine, who might have been with them because Margaret had a 1 month old baby. Margaret Smith nee Strachan died in Kilmarnock in 1843 at age 73.

20 December 1878
Baptism of my gg aunt Hester Green at St Mary’s Barnsley, Yorkshire, daughter of cabinet maker Joseph Green and Margaret Oxley. She is with her parent in Barnsley and 1881 and 1891, and in 1897 married colliery labourer John Amberson Athorn in Barnsley. They are living in Carlton in 1901 with Margaret’s sister Lily, who had married Frank Saxton – John Athorn is a bricklayer’s labourer and he and Hester have 2 sons. By 1911 they at Longcar Street, Barnsley with 3 children, John a colliery fitter’s labourer, and their eldest son is nearby with Hester’s mother and sister. John Amberson Athorn died in 1912 at age 35, and in 1913 Hester married William Fearn. Hester Fearn died in 1927 at Barnsley age 49.

20 December 1906
Birth of Alexandrina Forsyth a Mosside croft in Cruden parish, Aberdeenshire, illegitimate daughter of my half gg aunt Jessie Fraser and farm servant William Forsyth. In the 1911 census Alexandrina (who was named after her grandfather Alexander Fraser) is at Mosside croft with her grandmother Margaret Fraser nee Booth and her mother Jessie, plus her sister Catherine and 2 cousins. She then moved to Aberdeen with her mother and sister and lived at 43 Hutcheon Street. Alexandrina worked as a domestic servant, and died at Hutcheon Street in 1924, at age 18, of pulmonary tuberculosis.

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.