Tag Archives: Fraser

Waterloo 200th Anniversary

The organisation taking care of the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo, which is in June this year, have put out a request for descendants of anyone who was on the Waterloo battlefield to submit a short piece about their ancestor and their life.

So I’ve sent them a piece about my ancestor, William Fraser, who received gun shot wounds during the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815. It reads as follows, and will be published on the Waterloo 200 web site at http://www.waterloo200.org

Private William Fraser 92nd Regiment of Foot (Gordon Highlanders)

Ensign William Fraser was born in Cruden, Aberdeenshire in January 1778, son of Sergeant Donald Fraser of the 92nd Foot. William Fraser was my great great great great grandfather: in 1805, with the daughter of a local crofter, he fathered an illegitimate son who was also named William Fraser.

Shortly after the birth of his son, William Fraser enlisted with the 92nd Foot. His entry in the Peninsula War Medal Roll states he served from 1807 to 1814 and saw action in Vittoria, Pyrennes, Nivelle, Orthes, Toulouse and Salamanca. An entry in the regiment diary for 10th November 1813, at the line of the Nivelle, records that Ensign William Fraser was among the wounded. His 1816 discharge papers state that Private William Fraser “in consequence of gun shot wound received in the left hip joint, right thigh and left arm, while in action with the enemy at Waterloo on the 16th and 18th June 1815, is rendered unfit for further service”. According to his discharge papers, William Fraser was “5ft 8ins tall with fair hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion, and by trade is a labourer”.

After his discharge William returned to Aberdeenshire. The mother of his illegitimate son had by then married but there are indications he was in contact with his son throughout his life. In 1819 he married Isabella Fraser at Peterhead, but there is no evidence they had children. By 1841, William and his brother John, both army pensioners, are living with their brother Andrew Fraser and his family near Peterhead. William was to spend the rest of his life with his brother’s family on their small croft. He died in 1864, aged 86.

William Fraser’s illegitimate son William became a crofter near Hatton, south of Peterhead, where he lived next door to the grandson of his uncle John Fraser.

Almost 100 years later, my grandfather James Fraser, great great grandson of William Fraser, enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders and served in World War 1: he survived but was wounded at Beaumont Hamel during the Battle of the Somme.

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Valuation Roll search leads to a puzzle

ScotlandsPeople are making searches of the Valuation Rolls free for a limited time. You have to pay 2 credits to view an actual image of a page of the rolls, but it’s free to search and see the search results, which are reasonably detailed. And very useful the Valuation Rolls can be.

But searching the newly released 1925 rolls gave me a surprise. My great grandfather William Fraser was a long-time tenant of Mosside Croft near Hatton in Aberdeenshire – as was his father and grandfather before him. In 1920 the Valuation Roll lists him as a tenant of John Bruce of Yonderton. However, in 1925 William Fraser is listed as the proprietor of the croft and house Moss-side.

Why, when and how did William Fraser become a proprietor instead of a tenant? The owner of Yonderton had changed from John Bruce to Robert Reid between 1920 and 1925, and a search of the records came up with a death for a John Bruce registered in Cruden in 1921. Wills and testaments on ScotlandsPeople go up to 1925, and John’s Bruce’s Inventory was there. His assets included “heritage sold prior to deceased’s death” of House & Farm of Yonderton to Robert Reid for £6,000 plus several purchases of crofts to what were most likely their tenants, including “Wm. Fraser purchase price of house and croft, Upper Mossend £60.” It’s rental value was £6 so William Fraser paid ten years’ rent in order to own the croft outright.

Thus my great grandfather actually owned Mosside Croft from 1925 onwards. I do know that the croft was lived in, at the time of my great-grandfather’s death in 1946, by his step-granddaughter Helen Rennie and her husband Allan Thomson, who had married in 1944. So it looks as if Mosside was passed onto the people who lived with him and looked after him in his old age. Nice to know it went to someone deserving.

22 March

My ggg aunt Mary ended up as matron of a Poorhouse in Aberdeenshire. There’s also a Haddow from Ayrshire who migrated to Pittsburgh, and a Haddow descendant who didn’t marry and lived in Ardrossan, working as a servant.

22 March 1839
Baptism of my ggg aunt Mary Fraser at Mosside croft, near Hatton, Aberdeenshire, daughter of William Fraser and Christian Hutcheon. She is with her family in the 1841 census at Mosside, which was in a location named Yonderton back then. In 1851 she was a servant and scholar living with the Hutton family of Tillburn in Cruden parish: the father was a weaver and his adult daughter was a dressmaker. In 1859 Mary gave birth to an illegitimate daughter: she was registered as Isabella Fraser but was known as Isabella Shewan and on her marriage certificate names her father as Alexander Shewan, a farm servant. In 1861 Mary is at Mosside croft with her parents, siblings, her daughter and several nieces and nephews. Mary gave birth to a second illegitimate daughter in 1863 known as Mary Clark. Then in 1877, Mary married David Rennie, a crofter and neighbour, who had been widowed: he was 20 years older than Mary. In 1881 Mary is with her husband at a croft at Hardslacks with her daughter Mary Clark and a grandson of her husband’s. By 1891, however, Mary and David are living apart: Mary is using the name Fraser and is domestic servant for a farmer’s son at Corsshill, Ellon, and David is a labourer living with his daughter and her 2 children in Kirk Street, Peterhead. It would seem that David was probably unwell in 1891, and it may be that he and Mary had separated, for he died in 1893 at the Old Machar Poorhouse and on his death certificate is described as a pauper lunatic, with cause of death bronchitis and chronic Bright’s disease. By 1901, Mary has become the matron of the Poorhouse at Midmill, parish of Cruden, though at the time of the census there was only 1 inmate. Mary Rennie nee Fraser died in May 1901 at Midmill, Cruden of rheumatic fever and apoplexy (stroke).

22 March 1859
Birth of John Haddow at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, son of my gg uncle coal miner Colin Shearer Haddow and Ann Orr. He’s with his family at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning in 1861 – where many of my ancestors lived – and at Lylestone Row, Kilwinning in 1871. At the age of 12, John is already working at the coal mine. The family moved to Coylton in the late 1880s, and Colin there, still with his parents and siblings, in 1881 working as an iron miner. In 1887 he migrated to the USA and went to Pittsburgh. He married neighbour and widow Elizabeth Little, also a Scottish migrant, in about 1903 and in the 1910 is at Grail Street, Pittsburgh with his wife and 3 stepdaughters, working as a labourer for the City Water Department – his brother Duncan Haddow was living next door.

22 March 1862
Birth of Margaret Lewis at Saltcoats, Ayrshire, daughter of my gg aunt Wilson Haddow and Morgan Lewis. Her father was a sailor, and was at sea in 1871, as Margaret is at Chapelwell Street, Saltcoats with her mother and siblings. Her father died at Hong Kong in 1872. In 1881 Margaret is a domestic servant for the Gow family in Govan, and in 1891 is a servant for two elderly ladies in New Ardrossan, close to where her widowed mother lived. Margaret remained in New Ardrossan and in 1901 us a servant for a shipping agent and his family. In 1901 she was the informant when registering her mother’s death.

12 and 13 March

I’ve been busy and am struggling to catch up! So two days today, with an Alexander from Aberdeenshire who became a successful merchant in London and Sunderland, a Hutcheon from Cruden who was a farm servant and cattleman, and my Fraser half great uncle who died aged 21 from tuberculosis.

13 March 1785
Baptism of William Alexander and Chapel of Garioch, Aberdeenshire, son of my gggggg uncle William Alexander and Isobel Galloway. William took himself off to England and did very well for himself. In 1810 he married Ann Guest, a ship-owner’s daughter, at Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland and they had three children born there before moving to Newington, London: they had two children baptised there in 1824, when they were living at Union Buildings, Kent Road and William was a merchant. In 1841 William is at Bishopwearmouth with his married daughter and son in law: his son in law was also a merchant and probably did business with William. William’s wife and two other daughters (his son seems to have died young) are at 7 Stepney Green, Tower Hamlets. In 1851 William is at 11 South Terrace, Kensington with 2 servants – his wife is with their widowed son in law at Ford Hall, Durham. William Alexander died in London in 1855 and was buried at Kensal Green.

12 March 1862
Baptism of James Davidson Hutcheon at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, son of my gggg uncle Keith Hutcheon and his second wife Ann McPherson. He is with his parents and siblings in 1871, in Cruden, his father a tailor and letter carrier and his mother a seamstress. In 1881 he is working as a farm servant at Mains of Waterton, Ellon, a farm of 300 acres. In 1885 he was working as a farm servant at Mains of Amrage, Ellon, when he married domestic servant Annie Fraser: she Midtown, Cruden with 2 children and in 1901 James is a cattleman at Wateridgemuir, Logie Buchan with no children but with a 4 year old boarder, which usually means they were looking after a relative’s orphaned child. His son is nearby working as a farm servant and his daighter is a domestic servant in Aberdeen. In 1911 Keith is still a cattleman and is living at Craighall, Ellon with wife Annie, the orphan from 1901 who is now an apprentice grocer, and a grandson who is the son of his daughter. His son has migrated to Canada. James Davidson Hutchison died in 1927, age 65, at Cruden.

13 March 1908
Birth of my half great uncle Alexander Fraser at Hatton Lodge, Aberdeenshire, son of William Fraser and his second wife Helen Ann Morgan. Alexander is with his parents and siblings at Hatton Lodge in 1911, though shortly afterwards the family moved to Mosside Croft, which William Fraser took over from when his father died. Alexander worked as a farm servant but died in July 1929, age 21, of tuberculosis, and is commemorated on the headstone at Cruden Kirk.

9 March

Jane Adam from Ayrshire died young of TB, but my great aunt Barbara from Aberdeen had 4 children and lived to her 70s.

9 March 1832
Jane Adam was baptised at Stevenston, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg aunt Margaret Haddow and coal miner Francis Adam. She is with her parents at Townhead Street, Stevenston in 1841 and 1851, and became a handsewer of muslin. In 1861 she is a visitor in Dalry with the Penman family, relatives of the husband of her sister. In November 1861 she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter at her parent’s home in Stevenston. Jane died of tuberculosis in January 1863 at Stevenston, and her daughter was adopted by her unmarried elder sister.

9 March 1899
Birth of my great aunt Barbara Fraser at Waterton, Ellon, daughter of farm servant William Fraser and Helen Hay. She is Mill of Brogan, Slains in 1901, where her father was head cattleman and where, tragically, her mother died in May 1901 when Barbara was only 4 years old. Along with her siblings, Barbara most probably went to Mosside croft near Hatton to stay with her grandparents, though by 1905 her father was the tenant of a house in Hatton and Helen Morgan, who was to become his second wife, had become housekeeper and was looking after the children. In the 1911 census, Barbara is at Hatton Lodge with her father, stepmother and siblings and, at age 12, is still at school. However, in 1911 her grandfather died and William Fraser took over the croft at Mosside, where Barbara then went to live. At some point she went to live in Aberdeen and worked as a laundry maid, and it is in Aberdeen that she married William Dow, a carter, in February 1920. They had three children born in the 1920s and lived in Aberdeen. In 1939, just before the war, they visited my grandparents in Leeds, and Barbara was to later say that it was thanks to the Leeds air that their late arrival son was born in early 1940. Barbara Dow died in March 1973 in Aberdeen.

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.

27 February

In the 27th: Strachan twins who don’t seem to have survived childhood, a Booth from Aberdeenshire who worked for the railways, and a Fraser great uncle who was a marine labourer.

27 February 1821
Birth of my gggg uncle and aunt twins James and Elizabeth Strachan, children of John Strachan and Agnes Neilson, who were baptised at Riccarton on 4 March 1821. Nothing further can be found for either of them so the assumption is they died young.

27 February 1864 (born about 1842)
James Booth was the son of my gggg uncle James Booth and Jean Keith, and grandson of William Booth and Margaret Allan. (His aunt Isabella Booth married John Logan.) No baptism can be found, but according to his census entries he as born in about 1842 in Longside parish. James is with his parents and siblings at Nether Kinmundy, Longside in 1851, his father a labourer. In 1861 there are two census entries for a James Booth of the right age born Longside, both working as farm servants in Old Deer parish. On 27 February 1864 James married Margaret Kidd at Logie Buchan, and in 1871 they are in the village of New Maud with 2 children, James a railway wayman. By 1881 they have moved to Dyce and had 2 more children, and James is still a railway labourer. They are still in Dyce in 1891, James a stationary engine fireman, with 2 children still at home and a young relation of wife Margaret’s boarding with them. James Booth died in 1898, his occupation given as overseer of railway creosote works – he was 54 years old and died on an abdominal access and acute bronchitis.

27 February 1910
Birth of my great uncle Thomas Fraser at Hatton village, Aberdeenshire, son of William Fraser and his second wife Helen Ann Morgan. In 1911 Thomas is with his parents and siblings in Hatton, his father working as a cattleman on a farm. Shortly after his father took over Mosside Croft. where Thomas spent his childhood. My mother didn’t remember much about her uncle Thomas, but his marriage certificate from 1933 says he was a marine labourer and gives his address as Mosside. He married Margaret Scott Tocher Gibb and died in 1978 at Ellon.