4 January

Today there’s an ancestor from the Strachan tree born in 1691, an Aberdeenshire birth of someone who seems to have died young, and an Ayrshire Haddow whose husband became a colliery under manager.

4 January 1691
I’m going back over 300 years here so it’s very difficult to know I have the right person: however, on this day Thomas Reid was baptised at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, the son of Thomas Reid and Jannet Love. He could well be my gggggg grandfather. In the 1691 Hearth Tax records for Clonbeith in Kilwinning parish there is a Thomas Reid listed as having one hearth, who could be the father of Thomas baptised in 1891, and his name appears next to that of William Reid. Clonbeith Castle, now a ruin, was the property of the Cunningham family, who were the first to develop commercial coal mining in Ayrshire. The estate would have comprised tenanted farms and cottages back then: the 1691 Hearth Tax records list Clonbeith House plus 19 other homes with a hearth forming the Clonbeith estate. An early map of Ayrshire shows “Climbeth” to the north east of Kilwinning in the area where many coal mines would be opened in the 1800s. In 1721 there was a marriage in Kilwinning between Thomas Reid and Janet Eddy, and from 1722 to 1733 this couple had children baptised at Kilwinning, including Christian Reid baptised 10 October 1725. In November 1751 at Kilwinning, Christian Reid married John Alexander of the parish of Auchinleck. Then in October 1752, a John Alexander of Birnieknowe had a daughter Susannah baptised at Auchinleck, although the baptism record does not say who the mother was. But in 1755 there is a baptism in Auchinleck for Charles, son of John Alexander in Birniknou (as it was written) and his spouse Christian. So all in, there is a good case for saying that Thomas Reid born in 1691 was the grandfather of the Susannah Alexander who married Thomas Strachan at Irvine in 1771. Thomas and Susannah’s children include John, Christian, Charles and Thomas, which adds to the evidence. Nothing else is known about Thomas Reid so I don’t know whether he was a coal miner or not, but I suspect John Alexander of Birnieknowe was, given the location.

4 January 1846
Birth of George Lamb at Monquhitter, Aberdeenshire, son of my gggg aunt Mary Hutcheon and Robert Lamb. George is not with his family in 1851 and no other record of him has been found, so I suspect he died young.

4 January 1864
Birth of Agnes Hay Haddow at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, daughter of my gg uncle Colin Shearer Haddow and Ann Orr Richmond. In 1871 she’s at Kilwinning with her parents, siblings, maternal grandmother and a boarder, her father, an older brother and the boarder all coal miners. Agnes married widowed miner James Bunyan at Rankiston Row, Coylton in 1880 (which is where she had moved to with her parents sometime after 1877) and in 1881 they are in Coylton with children from James Bunyan’s first marriage. They moved to Taiglum, Stair in about 1883, and are there in 1891 with 5 children plus one of James’s daughters. According to the birth places for their younger children they moved to Ochiltree in the early 1890s and then to Dalmellington in the late 1890s, where James was the colliery under manager. Agnes Bunyan nee Haddow died in 1913 age 49 at Waterside, north of Galston.

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