29 February and 1 March

There are two leap year babies on my tree – my gggg uncle Peter Strachan, and William Lamb born in Aberdeenshire. On 1 March there’s my ggg aunt Jessie Fraser who managed to bring 5 illegitimate children into the world.

29 February 1784
Birth of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan who was baptised on 7 March at Irvine, son of collier Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander. Peter would have been about 8 years old when the family moved to Gorbals, Lanakshire. There is a marriage of Peter Strachan and Elizabeth Strachan in 1804 at Gorbals, and there is also the baptism of Jean Strachan in 1805 at Gorbals to Peter Strachan and Catherine Calderwood. However, a Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe had children baptised in Riccarton parish from 1809, including a daughter called Susan, and in the 1841 census Peter Strachan age 55 and a coal miner, born Ayrshire, is with his wife Mary, four of their children and two lodgers, living in Croftfoot, Kilmarnock. Unfortunately it looks as if this Peter died before statutory registration in 1855, but he seems to be the most likely candidate for Thomas’s son Peter though it cannot be proven. No marriage record exists for Peter Strachan and Mary Monro but they had 10 childen, 8 of whom can be traced to adulthood. They were all coal miners or the wives of coal miners, and they all lived in Ayrshire except for one son who moved to Paisley, in Renfrewshire.

1 March 1834
Baptism of my ggg aunt Janet Fraser (known as Jessie) at Cruden, daughter of William Fraser and Christian Hutcheon. In 1841 she is with her her parents and siblings at Yonderton, which is where Mosside croft was located, and again in 1851 when she was 16. In 1854 she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter Mary Ann Matthew and in 1855 to an illegitimate son James Matthew – the father of them both was Thomas Matthew of Burnhead who was a wright and carpenter. I’ve no idea why he and Jessie did not marry, but continued to live nearby and married someone else. In 1856 Jessie had another illegitimate child named Margaret Pirie in the census, and an illegitimate son named Alexander Milne in 1859. In 1861 Jessie, still only aged 24, is working as an ag lab and living at Mosside croft with her parents, two siblings, her own 4 children, a child of one of her sisters, and the long term boarder. In 1870 her daughter Margaret Pirie, aged 16, married 38 year old Alexander Smith, a blacksmith of Cruden, and in 1871 Jessie is lliving with Alexander and Margaret at Burnthill Smithy Croft, along with Alexander’s aged father and his
daughter, and Jessie’s youngest son who is an apprentice blacksmith. On 1872 Jessie then gave birth to a fifth illegitimate child and took out a “an action relating to the paternity of a child … born June 20th 1872 against William Simpson shoemaker Peterhead, the Sherriff Court of Aberdeen & Kincardine (Peterhead District) on the 17th day of September 1872 found that the said child was the illegitimate child of the said Jessie Fraser and William Simpson”. In 1881 Jessie was working as a house maid to a farmer at Longside and had her youngest daughter with her. In 1891 she is at Damhead, Peterhead, living with her son James Milne and his wife and working as a domestic servant, and 1901 sees her at West Gask, Cruden, housekeeper to a farmer. By 1911 she is back living with her son James and his family and is listed as a storekeeper. Jessie Fraser died in 1915 at Peterhead.

29 February 1840
Birth of William Lamb, son of my gggg aunt Mary Hutcheon and Robert Lamb, who was baptised at Peterhead in April 1840 though he may have been born in Longside. In 1851 he is at Newseat, Peterhead with his parents and sister, his father working as an ag lab. The family are in Cuminstown, Monquhitter in 1851. In 1861 there is a William Lamb born in Peterhead working as a ship’s carpenter and lodging in Kingston near Urguhart, Moray which could well be him, but he then disappears from the records as I’ve not found anything further for him.

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