Tag Archives: Doing research

Adam Logan, shoemaker: deserter of his wife and children

My gggg uncle, Adam Logan, appears to have abandoned his wife and children and set up with another woman. Tracking him and his family has proved a challenge, but an entertaining one.

Adam Logan was born on 18 July 1789 at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire: the OPR entry for his birth says “Ann and Adam Logan twins, 4th daughter and 7th son of James Logan shoemaker in Kilmarnock and Sarah Weir spouses, their first marriage, born 18th July 1879 and baptised 19th July 1789 by Mr Kennedy.” There is no evidence that Ann survived beyond infancy but Adam most certainly did and lived for 83 years.

In 1814 there is a marriage of Adam Logan and Margaret Duncan in Kilmarnock. The OPR entry simply says “29 July 1814 This day Adam Logan in this Parish and Margaret Duncan Low Church Parish gave in their names to be proclaimed in order to marriage. Three days.” I felt sure this was “my”Adam Logan, as it’s an unusual name and the date and location are an excellent fit. But there are no baptisms to be found for any children, although I eventually discovered that they did have children – their later census entries state they were born in Kilmarnock.

However, in the 1841 census Adam Logan age 50, shoemaker, is at Chapelton, Lanarkshire with Ann Craig age 40 and Janet Logan age 2, and in 1851 is in Chapelton, with Ann and three children, and gives his birthplace as Kilmarnock. Tracing him through the census I eventually went looking for his death certificate – Adam Logan shoemaker died at Chapelton in 1873 and his son has given Adam’s parents as James Logan shoemaster and — Logan ms Weir. So I knew I had the right Adam.

I assumed his wife Margaret Duncan had died, although there’s no marriage for Adam Logan and Ann Craig, and in the later census she’s described as housekeeper. So looked for Margaret Logan ms Duncan’s death certificate – and found that Margaret Logan widow of Adam Logan shoemaker, parents surname Duncan, died in 1867 in Glasgow. The informant was her daughter Sarah Munn.

So Adam Logan had moved to Chapelon in Lanarkshire and taken up with Ann Craig, leaving behind his wife Margaret with whom he’d had a daughter Sarah. Perhaps she wasn’t their only child.

I next found a 1836 marriage of Sarah Logan to James Munn at Neilston, Renfrewshire, and they were living in Cross Arthurlie, Neilston in 1841. In 1851, by which time she’s living in Ayrshire, Sarah Munn gives her birthplace as Kilmarnock.

Looking for Margaret Logan in the 1841 census, I found her in Neilston, Renfrewshire – where daughter Sarah had married – with daughters Jane and Ann Logan. Margaret was in Neilston in 1851 and 1861, giving a birthplace of Clachan, Argyllshire: this is on the Kintyre peninsula and not that far, by sea, from Ayrshire. Her 1867 death certificate gives her father as Duncan Duncan, a tailor, and her mother Mary Duncan ms Robb. No luck tracing them, unfortunately.

To see whether Adam Logan and Margaret Duncan had had other children, I looked for marriages in Neilston of someone with the surname Logan and then tracked them in the census and other online records. This turned up Mary Logan who married John Baxter in 1838. They are in Neilston in 1841, in Stirlingshire in 1851, then on a ship to Australia in 1853 where Mary Baxter sadly died in 1854. Her Australian death certificate states she was Mary Baxter formerly Logan, and her parents were Adam Logan and Margaret Logan formerly Duncan.

Jane Logan, who was with her mother in 1841, married John Cochran in 1847, is in the 1851 census in Cross Arthurlie, Neilston with husband John and two children, then they migrated to Massachusetts, USA in about 1860. She and her family are in the 1880 USA census in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Ann Logan, also with her mother in 1841, is in the 1851 census as a lodger in Paisley and states she was born in Kilmarnock. I’m not sure what then happened to her, although she might be the Ann Logan who married George Wyse at Paisley in 1852, but I haven’t been able to trace that couple.

So Adam Logan and Margaret Duncan had at least four daughters, and may well have had more children who I haven’t traced. The children were born in Kilmarnock from 1814 to about 1826, but by the mid 1830s Margaret and her daughters were in Neilston, Renfrewshire and Adam Logan was in Chapelton, Lanarkshire. So when did Adam up and leave his wife and children – and why? No answers to that, of course, apart from use of the imagination. Perhaps it because I’m female, but I feel rather sorry for Margaret and her daughters.

Margaret was living on her own in 1851 and working as a housekeeper, although her daughter Jane Cochran nee Logan was living on the same road. In 1861 Margaret is in Neilston living as a lodger with Rosana Gray, Rosana’s children, and another lodger. She died in 1867 age 74 at Crown Street, Glasgow. The informant was her daughter Sarah Munn who was living in Glasgow by then, so it looks as if Margaret may have spent her last few years living with her daughter.

Adam lived for considerably longer. In 1841 he was living in Chapelton, Lanarkshire, where he remained for the rest of his life, working as a shoemaker and living with Ann Craig and a two year old daughter, although there was an older daughter also in Chapelton. In 1851 he’s a shoemaker, now age 60, with housekeeper (not wife) Ann Craig and three children: the eldest is Helen Logan age 14 so she was born in about 1836, meaning Adam had left Margaret and daughters by then. In 1861 Adam Logan age 71, shoemaker journeyman, is with housekeeper Ann Craig, son James, and two grandchildren, and he’s there in 1871, retired and age 82, with Ann Craig housekeeper.

Ann Craig died on 2 April 1873 at Chapelton, of apoplexy (a stroke), informant James Logan son, and Adam Logan died 11 days later on 13 April 1873 at Chapelton, of diarrhea, informant James Logan son. It’s rather sweet that should die so close in time to each other, and makes you think they must have been a happy couple, but I can’t help wondering whether Adam ever thought about his wife Margaret, or kept in touch with the daughters he left behind.

Relatives marrying each other

Sometimes you make unexpected connections when researching an ancestor. I was checking up on Archibald Strachan, who went to the USA, and an Ancestry search came up with a death for an Annie Miller Strachan in USA. I knew there was an Ann Miller who married a Strachan on my tree – what I wasn’t expecting was to find a death certificate saying her parents were Samuel Strachan and Janet Mitchell. It seems that John Strachan born in 1856, who was detailed in my post of 8 July, didn’t marry Ann Miller – he married Ann Miller Strachan, who he was related to and who was the sister of Archibald Mitchell Strachan.

John Strachan was the great great grandson of Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander, through their son John Strachan, his son Thomas Strachan and his son John Francis Strachan. Ann Miller Strachan, though born the same year as her husband, was actually of a generation above him as she was the great granddaughter of Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander through their son Samuel Strachan and his son Samuel Strachan.

There are quite a lot of instances of people marrying close or not so close relatives on my family tree, and I suspect there are more to find out as I do more research. Perhaps it’s only to be expected when people lived in close-knit communities, such as coal miners, or in more sparsely populated areas, such as north-east Aberdeenshire. But it also seems to point to the fact that the extended family was very important to people back then, and they knew how everyone was connected to each other.

My trip to Scotland

Day one took me through Northumberland, with a couple of stops to see Roman sites, and then up into Scotland. On the road heading towards Jedburgh, this is the sight you’re waiting for.

Scotland sign
It’s in a lay-by and viewpoint, so you can park there and admire the undulations of border country.

Then it was off to Jedburgh, where there’s an abbey next to the river.

In the car park I met Donald, a dale pony cross having a bit of break during a journey in a horsebox.

The next day I spent in Edinburgh at the records centre, trawling through the Longside kirk session minutes. This took all day, by the end of which my eyes felt as if they were on stalks. But the Longside minutes proved very useful as it was obviously a parish that took chasing up couples who’d “sinned” before marriage very seriously indeed. Made notes of lots of names that might belong on my tree, then struck gold: my gggg grandparents, who married in 1800, were fined 10 shillings each for indulging in pre-marital fornication. More about this is another post.

After Edinburgh it was up into the Cairngorms, through Braemar. Absolutely stunning scenery and the weather was glorious – warm and sunny. It is magnificent up there, though odd to drive past ski lifts when there’s no snow around. Difficult to take photos of distant views as they never come out as it looks in real life. But it is jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Highland view
Typical Highland view

Next day went to Balmoral, which was better than I was expecting. They’ve made it into a very good visitor attraction, and I’m not surprised the Royals love it there.

The castle itself is not huge, for a castle, and the grounds are mainly natural, but with a very interesting kitchen garden.

Queen's kitchen garden
This is the Queen’s veggie plot!

A walk along the River Dee was blissful.

River Dee
Beautiful scenery, lots of bird life and incredibly peaceful.

Then it was a drive towards the coast the next day, stopping to see castles, scenery and visit the Museum of Farming Life at Aden Country Park. There’s an excellent exhibition there, with a very good booklet that I bought telling the story of the transition from the early farmtouns to modern day farming. My ancestors were very much part of this transition so I found it fascinating.

Horseman's cottage
A reconstruction of a farm worker’s living room in the 1930s.

I made friends while there with two very nosy young cattle.
Friendly cattle
There’s also a rebuilt farmer’s cottage on the site, moved stone by stone and decorated as it was in the 1950s.

It was then time to visit ancestral haunts: first on the list was Collieston, where my gg grandfather Alexander Fraser lived and worked at least twice before he took over the family croft.

Although not fisherfolk, my Fraser ancestors were familiar with the sea and the little fishing villages dotted along the Aberdeenshire coast.

Next stop was Cruden old Kirk. Last time I was there I took photos of the Fraser gravestone, giving details of my great grandfather, his second wife and two of their children. It was lying on its side then, as it had broken. So huge disappointment this time as it was no longer there – gone due to Health and Safety regulations I expect.

Cruden Old Kirk
There was no-one at the Kirk to ask, but I wonder what happens to stones that are removed for safety reasons.

Off to Mosside Croft next, north-east of Hatton. It was a ruin last time I saw it and it clearly hadn’t been touched since. Sad to think that over 100 years of blood, sweat and toil is now going to waste, but at least it’s still there.

Mosside Croft
I’d love to know when this cottage was built, as it isn’t the one that would have been there in 1841.

A wider view of the croft shows the steadings alongside, where the farm animals lived and machinery was stored. There are two here and the one nearest the cottage is clearly a lot older than the second one.
Mossude and steadings
My mother remembers holidaying here in the 1920s, and the field in front of the cottage was sown to crops, with grazing for the cows behind. My half great grandmother made cheese, they had hens for eggs and meat, and kept a pig for fattening up.

It seems very isolated now, but it wasn’t really: nearby crofts were only a very short walk away and a lot of farming tasks would be co-operative, crofters helping each other with ploughing and harvesting.
Nearby crofts to Mosside
That’s Hardslacks to the right and behind of Mosside croft.

Up towards Peterhead next, as many of my ancestors were quarry workers at Stirlinghill – a quarry that’s still in operation. Next to it is Lendrum Terrace, an address that turns up on the census as my gg aunt Mary Ann Fraser married David Ewan Michael, and they lived at Lendrum Terrace.

Lendrum Terrace and Quarry
In those days the view out to sea, taking in Boddam and Peterhead must have been spectacular. Today it’s somewhat marred by a rather large blot on the landscape.

View from Lendrum Terrace
Yes, it’s a power station!

Power is something Aberdeenshire produces plenty of: there are wind turbines everywhere. I know not everyone is a fan, but personally I think they look much nicer than a power station.

I had thought of perhaps spending a day in Aberdeen in the Local Studies Library but didn’t in the end: the weather was far too good to spend a day inside. So much of the time was spent soaking up the sun and fresh air.

Then it was a long drive back home, and farewell to Scotland – until next time.

Off to Scotland

I’m just about to set off for Scotland and will be back next weekend. Really looking forward to it, and fortunately the weather forecast is for clear and even sunny days, with no rain. So hopefully lots of photo opportunities to post here when I get back. I’m also taking a notebook so I can keep a journal of what I see and discover.

Today will be a leisurely drive from Yorkshire to Edinburgh via Northumberland National Park and Scottish Border country.

Book review: The Scots: a genetic journey by Alistair Moffat and James F Wilson

Although it might not help your family history research all that much, this is a fascinating survey of where Scottish people have come from, using DNA, archaeology and recorded history. It’s also very well written, so though full of “science” it’s not too hard to read. It starts with the end of the ice age, more or less, as there weren’t humans that anyone knows about in Scotland before then, and works forward in time, right up to the incomers of more recent times.

Particularly impressive is how genetics is interwoven with an interesting telling of Scotland’s history and an analysis of it languages. But in brief, if you’re Scottish, or descended from Scots, you’ve probably got a largish dose of Irish in you.

Off to Scotland very soon

On Sunday I drive up to Scotland, stopping first at Edinburgh to spend a day at the National Archives looking at Kirk Session Minutes. As Edinburgh is not too long a drive away, and hopefully the weather will be okay, I’m doing the scenic route through Northumberland National Park and then through Border Country.

On Tuesday I’ll be off to Aberdeen, and again I’m taking the scenic route via Braemar and Balmoral. Cross fingers it’s not raining or foggy.

In Aberdeenshire I’ll be visiting ancestral homelands, the local studies centre in Aberdeen, and a few places of interest such as the Farming Museum at Pitmedden. Be interesting to see what’s happened to the Fraser family croft since I last saw it: it was uninhabitable then and no doubt still is.

I am SO looking forward to being up there again!

The usefulness of family reconstruction

One of the reasons my family tree is so enormous is I’ve researched the siblings of my direct ancestors, and their descendants. Researching 2nd, 3rd. etc. cousins can help solve identification problems, as well as unearthing interesting stuff.

Just how useful it can be is being brought home to me at the moment, as I’m researching my Logan line in Aberdeenshire. My gg grandmother Mary Logan was born in 1838, the daughter of John Logan and Isobel Booth, so I’m heavily reliant on the Old Parish Registers to go further back. But given her birth date she’d have had relatives in the census and who hopefully managed to wait until after 1855 to depart life and so have a death certificate. Looking them up has helped me piece the Logan family together: if I’d focussed only on Mary’s parents, grandparents and great grandparents I wouldn’t have been able to reliably prove a connection and would have missed out on interesting detail.

Also of enormous help was looking up baptism records in the OPR via ScotlandsPeople and not just relying on FamilySearch. Mary’s baptism told me that her father John Logan was from Auchtilair in the parish of Old Deer. Looking up Auchtilair on an old map showed it to be south of the village of Stuartfield and next to Creichie. John Logan died before official registration but he and his family are in the 1841 census at Auchticlair, and accessing this on ScotlandsPeople showed a Jane Logan living next door. The census also showed that John had children born well before he married Isobel Booth: researching William Logan, one of the older children, produced a death certificate from 1858 with his parents named as John Logan farmer deceased and Ann Logan ms Simpson deceased. There was an Old Deer marriage for John Logan and Ann Simpson in 1829. So John Logan was married twice, Mary’s mother being his second wife.

I then went looking for the birth of a John Logan who was old enough to have married in 1829, and found a baptism in 1796 in Old Deer for John Logan, son of James Logan and Catherine Smith, plus a marriage for James and Catherine in 1789. I then looked for their other children and researched them: the second child Jean (or Jane) Logan turned out to be the one living next door to John at Auchtilair in 1841. From 1851 onwards she lived in Stuartfield, the nearest village, and died there in 1878. Her death certificate gives her parents as James Logan crofter and Catherine Logan ms Smith. Jean/Jane also had living with her a niece Jane Logan, who was the daughter of John Logan and his first wife Ann Simpson. So that all nicely proved that my ggg grandfather John Logan had two wives and was the son of James Logan and Catherine Smith.

There’s more to research for my Logan of Aberdeenshire line, of course, but including siblings into the research has really helped.