Tag Archives: Longside

Longside Kirk Session Minutes: Christian Hutcheon compeared

As I knew my ggg grandfather’s wife Christian Hutcheon had had an illegitimate child before her marriage to William Fraser, I was expecting to find it mentioned in the Longside Kirk Session Minutes – and sure enough, it was. She was compeared on 23 March 1823, and the father of the child, John Bisset, was also compeared and admitted he was the father. John Bisset sounds as if he was an agricultural labourer, and therefore moved from farm to farm, and was in the parish of Old Deer by 23 March 1823.

Hutcheon & Bisset A

This was very shortly before Christian gave birth, as her son John Bisset was baptised on 11 April 1823 at Longside.

Christian and John Bisset did not marry, however, and in December 1824 she asked to be absolved: interestingly there is no mention of a fine this time.

Hutcheon & Bisset B

Both her appearances in the Kirk Session Minutes, and the OPR baptism entry for her son, say Christian was from Innervedie. This was her parents’ home and was where Christian was born; the 1820 burial entry for her father also mentions Innervedie. It is close to Nether Kinmundy, where Christian’s future husband William Fraser was most probably brought up, and is not far from Mosside croft, where Christian and William Fraser were to settle.


Mosside Croft is to the south-east of Nether Kinmundy and Innervedie, at the other side of the moss.

Christian Hutcheon married William Fraser on 17 January 1828, at Longside, and there is no evidence there was a baby was on the way at the time! Her illegitimate son John Bisset is a farm servant in 1841, near Ellon, and is with his mother and stepfather in 1851, at Mosside croft, a pauper formerly ag lab. Nothing else found, and no death certificate, so it’s most probable he died between 1851 and 1854.

Longside Kirk Session Minutes: naughty gggg grandparents!

The Longside Kirk Session Minutes proved to be fruitful: that particular kirk session was clearly very keen to track down and deal with couples who indulged in pre-marital sex. Given that such couples were fined, I’ve always thought that the zeal with which this was done but the kirk sessions was only partly an attempt to “improve” the behaviour of parishioners: the financial contribution it made, especially to the Poor Box, must have been a major incentive. The fines were not insubstantial – possibly a few week’s wages.

While trawling through the Longside minutes in the reading room in Edinburgh, I noted down any mentions of surnames that appear on my family tree: Hutcheon/Hutchison, Logan, Bruce, Matthew, Watt, Sangster, Fraser, Williamson/McWilliam, Booth and Morgan, all made an appearance from the mid 1700s to the 1830s. I didn’t get any further than that, although the number being compeared for fornication was reducing by then. As the number of illegitimate births wasn’t decreasing – in fact it was probably increasing – it seems that the kirks were becoming more lenient by then, or simply couldn’t keep up with the number of cases. I have yet to go through my family tree to see whether the ones I made a note of relate to people on my tree, but I suspect a number of them do.

But in the minutes for 1800 there was one case which very obviously was my ancestor. On 20 April 1800, Agnes Bruce was interrogated by the kirk session for being unmarried and with child, and gave the father’s name as Alexander Hutcheon. They are my gggg grandparents. I see it as they were simply being human.

Hutcheon & Bruce A
Click on the image to see it at larger size

They were then both called before the kirk session on 4 May 1800, and Alexander did the gentlemanly thing and admitted he was the father. Then on the 15 June they were absolved from guilt upon payment of a fine of 10 shillings each.

Hutcheon & Bruce B
Click on the image to see it at larger size

From this I now know that Alexander Hutcheon, born 1777, was a tailor at Kinmundy, which is where my ggg grandfather William Fraser was possibly brought up if he lived wit his mother when he was a child, and in 1800 Agnes Bruce, born illegitimate in Crimond, was at Parkhill, just up the road – she may well have been working as a farm or domestic servant.

Agnes and Alexander married on 26 July 1800 at Longside, and their first child James was baptised on 6 September 1800. They tended to get babies baptised within a few days of birth back then, so he was probably born late August or early September, so Agnes would have been about 5 months pregnant when she was first compeared in April. Agnes and Alexander went on to have a large family, with Alexander Hutcheon dying in 1820 at age 43 and Agnes dying in 1866 at the age of 84.

Their daughter Christian then made an appearance in the minutes in 1823 when she gave birth to an illegitimate son – more of that tomorrow.

On 26 June

Only two events today, so I’m catching up quickly. A dramatic start to Wimbledon is proving a distraction, though there was a bit of a lull this afternoon due to rain.

26 June 1720
Baptism of Elizabeth Rock at Worsbrough, Yorkshire who was my ggggggg aunt. She was the daughter of Abraham Rock, collier, but her mother was not named at her baptism. Nothing further found for her.

26 June 1817
Baptism of Jean Keith at Longside, Aberdeenshire, daughter of George Keith and Jean Simpson. In the 1841 census she’s an agricultural labourer in Longside parish working for farmer Robert Cassie. Later that year she married my gggg uncle James Booth, although I can’t find an OPR entry for their marriage. He was a labourer, and in the census for 1851, 1861 and 1871 they’re at Nether Kinmundy, where several of my ancestors lived. By 1881 they’d taken over a 6 acre croft at Redbog Road, Longside, which is very close to both Nether Kinmundy and the Fraser croft at Mosside. Jean (also Jane) died in 1895 at age 78.

Hutcheon / Hutchison page now added

I’ve just added a page about the Hutcheon family of Longside – click on the link above to access it. There’s still a lot more to find out about the Hutcheons but I thought I’d post what I’ve already pieced together as the blog is getting visits from Hutcheon descendants.

On 29 March

29 March 1812
Ann Green was baptised at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of my ggggg uncle John Green, a bleacher. I’ve not yet found out at what happened to her – the records aren’t exactly abundant for back then.

29 March 1828
Agnes Fraser Morgan was baptised at Longside, Aberdeenshire. She was the daughter of Peter Morgan and Isabel Sangster, her mother being the sister of my gggg grandmother Janet Sansgter. I have a soft spot for Agnes Fraser Morgan as it was coming across her baptism that gave me a clue as to what became of Janet Sangster and allowed me to go back in time by several more generations. Finding the link to someone called Morgan also meant I was able to discover that my great grandfather William Fraser and his second wife Helen Ann Morgan were related. In 1841 Agnes Morgan age 13 is a servant in the household of Revd. John Cummings, an episcopal clergyman, in the parish of Longside. Unfortunately I can’t find anything further for her.

29 March 1919
Catherine Milton Fraser, illegitimate daughter of my half gg aunt Jessie Fraser, married William John Michael who was the son of my gg aunt Mary Ann Fraser. So they were half cousins, and the new mother-in-laws were half sisters. Catherine was a baker’s shop assistant and William a quarry fireman, and they lived in Aberdeen. Sadly, Catherine died in 1927 age 29, from tuberculosis, which was the cause of far too many premature deaths on my family tree.

Morgan page, the joy of FreeCen and fascinating 1841 demographics

As my step-great-grandmother turned out to be related to my Fraser family from way back, I’ve given the Morgans their own page. I can now say I have 9 great-grandparent lines instead of the usual 8.

There seemed to be a lot of related families living in the Nether Kinmundy area of the parish of Longside in the early 180os, so as the Aberdeenshire 1841 census is on FreeCen, the free to access census transcription site, I went to have a rummage around. FreeCen lets you easily see who the neighbours were, and sure enough, that part of Longside was littered with familiar surnames. There must have been an awful lot of employing distant relatives as farm servants and marrying distant relatives going on!

Kinmundy looks like it was a farming estate in those days – a “farm toun” as they were called in Scotland, which was a sort of hamlet or small village clustered around the “big” farm, often called Mains of —. There was a row of cottages in the 1800s called Long Row, and looking at the residents in 1841 I was struck by how many older women were living there. That included Janet Sangster, who became Janet McWilliam but was called Janet Sangster again when widowed. Did Nether Kinmundy have a particularly benevolent proprietor who ensured the old, retired and widowed were taken care of?

The “big house” at Mains of Nether Kinmundy was occupied by John Hay, farmer, his wife and five children age 10 and under, with 4 female servants including an overseas-born governess. The 1851 census says it was a farm of 160 acres and in 1861 it’s of 200 acres, which is big for that time and place. Also living in Nether Kinmundy were (heads of households only named and with age):
John Sangster 30 wheelwright and his wife
James Watson 28 ag lab, wife and child
Grace Thomson 50, her son a farmer, 3 younger sons, a female servant, a male farm servant and a visitor
Mary Strachan age 75 independent
Ann Morgan 65 independent
James Milne age 25 ag lab, wife and 4 children
Alexander Farquhar 27 ag lab, wife and child
Christian Mackie 50 female ag lab and 2 children
Gilbert Robb 55 ag lab and wife
William Walker 35 ag lab, wife, 2 children and 1 female adult
James Slessor 52 dyker and wife
Janet Ellis 30 ag lab
Mary Taylor 30 ag lab and child
Isabella Davidson 30 independent and 4 children
Janet Sangster 54 ag lab and 2 children (my ancestors)
Jean Leslie 96 independent and 2 children, including son who was a merchant
Isabella Steven 65 independent
James Hutcheon 60 ag lab and wife
Janet Laurence 68 independent, daughter and three grandchildren
William Keith 67 ag lab and wife, daughter and grandchild
George Keith 70 mason, wife and 1 female adult
George Rainnie 45 weaver
Alexander Gillon 30 shoemaker, wife and 5 children
Teresa Strachan 74 independent

That means there were 12 households headed by men and 12 headed by women, with 9 households headed by people of over 60. A very interesting demographic was going on here.