Tag Archives: McCrae

13 September

A busy day on the 13th: my great grandmother Mary Ann McInairney (McInerney?) and my uncle Joseph (Joe) Strachan – this post includes a lovely photo and a family anecdote about Uncle Joe. Plus a Strachan who migrated to Brisbane, Australia, a McWilliam from Aberdeenshire who migrated to Iowa, USA, and a Strachan descendent who I haven’t been able to trace beyond age 13.

13 September 1840
My great grandmother Mary Ann McInairney was baptised at Newcastle upon Tyne, England: the baptism record reads “Mary Mcaniny daughter of John Mcaniny and Sarah Marshall at St Mary”. I doubt if the surname was ever spelt correctly in the records! Her father John may have been born in Ireland and her mother Sarah was born in Kilmarnock. Despite a very through search I have not found the family in the 1841 census, frustratingly, but Mary Ann’s younger brothers were born in about1841 at Bellshill, Lanarkshire, about 1845 at Muirkirk, Ayrshire and about 1848 at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, and her father John had died by the time of the 1851 census. The family are at Low Church Lane, Kilmarnock in 1851, with their surname written as McNarnie, mother Sarah a pauper and hand sewer. They are then at 19 Fore Street, Kilmarnock in 1861, both Sarah and Mary Ann earning money as flowerers, which means they embroidered flowers onto muslin. As well as her three brothers, the family by then had two additions, illegitimate daughters of mother Sarah. Also at 19 Fore Street, as a boarder with the Owens family, was collier John McCrae. Mary Ann McInairney (as it spelt on the marriage certificate) and John McCrae were married at 19 Fore Street on 27 December 1861, John a coal miner and Mary Ann a hand sewer. They continued to live in Kilmarnock, at 6 Dean Lane in 1871, 40 Mill Lane in 1881 and 7 High Church Lane in 1891, and had 9 children, their 6th child being my grandmother Helen McCrae. John McCrae died in 1904 and in 1911 Mary Ann is at 26 New Street, Riccarton living with her married daughter Sarah Downie. Mary Ann McNearney (yet another spelling) died on 27 April 1912 “in her dwelling house at 33 High Street, Kilmarnock”. She must have been there on her own as there was a Procurator Fiscal’s report which concluded she died of natural causes.

13 September 1841
Birth of Janet Strachan at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, daughter of Peter Strachan and Ann Houston and granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. She grew up in firstly Dreghorn and then Riccarton. Her mother died when Janet was about 10 years old and her father remarried. Can’t find Janet in 1861 census at age 19, but she married coal miner Alexander Inglis at Riccarton in 1865. In 1871 they are Cadger’s Road, Hurlford with 3 children and by 1881 they were at Kames Row, Muirkirk with 7 children. Then in 1887 they can be found on the passenger list for a ship bound for Brisbane, Australia with 7 children. Janet died ion 30 October 1906 in Brisbane and was buried at Toowong Cemetary.

13 September 1863
Birth of Jane McWilliam at New Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, daughter of my half gggg uncle Nathaniel McWilliam and Mary Yule, and granddaughter of my gggg grandmother Janet Sansgter. She migrated to the USA, with her family, in 1867 and they were in Post Township, Allamakee, Iowa in 1870, her father a farm labourer (and later to be a farmer). Jane, known as Jennie, married the wonderfully named Adelbert Monroe Lord Brainard in 1882 at Forest Mills, Iowa, and they took a lease on a farm in Allamakee County and had 10 children. Jennie’s husband died in 1917, and in 1925 she is living with her unmarried son William, a commercial traveller, in Clayton, Iowa, and then in Mendon, Iowa, in 1930. Jennie McWilliams Brainard died in November 1934 at Postville, Allamakee, Iowa.

13 September 1865
Birth of Janet Strachan Goble at Cathcart, Renfrewshire, daughter of my half ggg aunt Janet Spiers Strachan and John Skeoch Goble and granddaughter of my gg grandfather John Strachan and his second wife Jean Wallace. Janet’s father was a seaman, a ship’s chief officer in the merchant navy at the time of his daughter’s birth. In 1871 Janet is with her mother, her Goble grandfather and a Goble aunt at Waterside, Dundonald, and her father was at sea: he was killed by stabbing in August of that year in South America. In 1877 Janet’s mother married George Henderson Robertson. a pastry cook, at Poplar, London. In 1881 Janet age 13 and a message girl is with her mother, a baker’s wife (though George Robertson was not at home) at Kinning Park, Glasgow. And then they all disappear from the records – or rather, despite a through search I haven’t found them – so I have no idea what became of Janet Strachan Goble.

13 September 1895
Birth of my uncle Joseph Strachan at his McCrae grandparents’ home at High Church Lane, Kilmarnock. Joseph is with his parents at Crookedholm in 1901, and moved to Lanarkshire in around 1910 with his family: he’s with them at Mansion Street, Cambuslang in 1911, age 15 and a coal miner. He was the informant for his father’s death in November 1918. In December 1918 he married coal miner’s daughter Agnes Morton White (known as Aggie) at Dailly, Ayrshire, where Aggie came from. His occupation on his marriage certificate is a stoker on HMS Arran, usual residence Halfway, Cambuslang. Joseph went to Canada in 1925 to join his father-in-law William White who was already in Toronto, and Joseph’s wife and two young daughters joined him there in 1926. They had a son born in Toronto in 1928. Joseph joined the Baptist Church, a calling he passed on to his son and grandson. In 1954 Uncle Joe and Aunt Aggie (as I knew them) returned to the UK for a holiday, and visited my family in Leeds. I was only 3 years old at the time so my memory of it is very vague. Somewhere there is, I think, a photo taken at the time which I’ll have to try and track down. Joe and Agge Strachan both died within two weeks of each other in 1991 at the grand ages of 96 and 92.

Joe and Aggie for blog
My Uncle Joe and Aunt Aggie

And a family anecdote from when they visited us when I was three years old. Uncle Joe lead the saying of grace before dinner, and afterwards my big sister said “Judith didn’t have her eyes closed”. To which Uncle Joe or my father (I can’t remember which one it was) looked at her and asked “And how do you know?” A very good question!

Helen McCrae 1875 – 1944: my grandmother

Helen Strachan nee McCrae 1933
Photograph of Helen Strachan nee McCrae taken in 1933

Helen McCrae – also Ellen and Nellie – was born on 10 August 1875 at 4 Dean Lane, Kilmarnock, the sixth child of John McCrae, a coal miner, and Mary Ann McInairney. In the 1881 census, Ellen McCrae is age 5, at school and with her parents at 40 Mill Lane, Kilmarnock and by 1891 Ellen McCrae age 16 is working at a mill. The family were at 7 High Church Lane, Kilmarnock by then and father John is still a coal miner.

In 1895 Helen was a witness to her brother’s wedding to Anne McCubbin and has signed herself as Nellie McCrae. Later that year she gave birth to her eldest son Joseph, and married coal miner Henry Strachan in March 1896. They went on to have 11 children, one of whom died in childhood.

The family moved to Lanarkshire in about 1907 and went first to Tollcross, but by 1911 were living in Cambuslang, home to Helen for the rest of her life (apart from several journeys to Canada). Henry Strachan worked at the Gilbertfield Colliery and they lived in Gilbertfield Buildings at Halfway, but were at Overton Street, Halfway when Henry died in 1918, at the age of 45, of pneumonia arterioclerosis.

Married life must have been hard work for Helen, bringing up ten children in two roomed miners’ housing with outside toilets, communal clothes washing facilities and no bathroom. From what my father said of her, she was strict but motherly, and was very close to one her sisters. She also owned a lovely bone-handled carving knife, which for some reason my father acquired, and I now have.

When Henry died, Helen was left with ten children, the youngest five not having reached working age and the very youngest, my father, being three days short of his second birthday. None of the older five children were married, although all were working. Son Joseph married in December 1918, daughter Mary married in 1919, and in 1921 sons John and Henry married whilst daughter Jeanie went to Canada.

Then began a decade filled with sailing back and forth to Canada, which has been rather confusing to piece together from passenger lists. But Helen, along with youngest son Robert, went to Canada in September 1923 returning to Scotland in May 1924. They both went to Canada again in 1928, this time taking with them daughter Amelia. Helen and Robert returned to Scotland in March 1929 but Amelia was to stay in Canada. By this time son Joseph and his family had also migrated to Canada, as had daughter Helen and her husband John Aitken and their children, although the Aitken family returned to Scotland. Helen and son Robert made a final trip to Canada in April 1930, returning in October 1931.

Helen Strachan with son Robert Strachan 1942
Helen Strachan nee McCrae at the beginning of WW2 with my father, her youngest son Robert Strachan

During the later 1930s, Helen helped to bring up her son’s Henry’s children and was living at 46 Park Street, Cambuslang. She was living at 4 Clydeford Road, however, when she died. Her death occurred very suddenly on 26 June 1944: she was at the Royal Cancer Hospital, Glasgow visiting a patient when she had a cerebral haemorrhage. She was buried at the Strachan family lair at Westburn Cemetery.

On 10 and 11 August

A double day due to my being “otherwise engaged” yesterday. Today includes the birth of my grandmother Helen McCrae, who gets a post with pictures of her own. And today there’s a birthday in Canada for Shannon who is 1 day and 111 years younger than her great grandmother.

10 August 1748
Birth of Elizabeth Matthew at Cruden, Aberdeenshire daughter of George Matthew, who is possibly the Elizabeth Matthew who married John Sangster at Cruden in 1774. If she was, then she’s my ggggg grandmother and the grandmother of William Fraser born illegitimate in 1805.

11 August 1833
Baptism of my ggg aunt Sarah Ann Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of William Green and Sarah Firth. Assumed she died in infancy as she’s in not with her parents in the 1841 census nor in the post-1837 death register. Her parents had another daughter they named Sarah born in 1850.

10 August 1867
Birth of Mary McGill Strachan at Kilmarnock, daughter of John Strachan and Christina Houston McGill and granddaughter of my ggg uncle Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle. John and Christina had a daughter named Mary born in 1871 and there is no daughter Mary with them in the April 1971 census, so Mary born 1867 must have died in infancy.

10 August 1875
Birth of my grandmother Helen McCrae at 4 Dean Lane, Kilmarnock, daughter of John McCrae and Mary Ann McInairney – or McInerney, McNairnie or however you want to spell it. Helen is also called Ellen in the census, and in later life was known as Nelly. She died in 1944 in Cambuslang, Kilmarnock. See separate post for more details and pictures.

11 August 1986
Follower cousin Colin in Canada is celebrating the birthday of a granddaughter today. Happy birthday Shannon.

On 2 August

Today, a McCrae descendent who was in the navy in WW2, a Yorkshire descendent who died in WW1, and his brother who died as a child.

2 August 1910
Birth of Robert McCubbin McCrae at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, son of my great uncle Matthew McInairney McCrae, a coal miner, and Anne McCubbin. I’ve been in touch with Robert’s youngest son who lives in London, so know that Robert married Eva Pikesley at Islington, London, was in the navy during WW2, and died in London in 1975.

2 August 1891 (born 1888)
Baptism of Lewis Wilson Burton at Thornes, Yorkshire, son of James Burton and Sarah Ann Wilson and grandson of my ggg aunt Mary Green and Joseph Wilson. In the 1891 census he’s with his parents at Alverthorpe, near Wakefield, his father a labourer, and the family are at the same address in 1901 – this census says father James Burton worked at the wire rope works. In 1911 Lewis Burton age 21 is a boarder with the Cooper family in Sandal, Wakefield and was working as a trimmer below ground in a coal mine. Nothing else found for him, but there is a death in 1916 of Private Lewis Burton who died on 4 October 1917, was with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and is commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial. I suspect this is Lewis Wilson Burton, and if it is he would have died during the third battle of Ypres.

2 August 1891 (born 1891)
Baptism of Joseph Wilson Burton at Thornes, Yorkshire , son of James Burton and Sarah Ann Wilson and grandson of my ggg aunt Mary Green and Joseph Wilson (and brother of Lewis above). Joseph died in April 1899 at the age of 8 and was buried at St James with Christ Church, Thornes.

On 26 July

An ancestor born in 1853 whose photography is online, two deaths of children, and a birthday up in Aberdeen.

26 July 1853
Birth of James Gilmour Strachan at Riccarton, son of of Robert Strachan and Janet Ross Gilmour and grandson of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. He’s with his parents and siblings in 1861 at Comet Pit House, Riccarton, and with them at 21 Boyd Street, Galston in 1871, by which time James had become a coal miner. In August 1873 he married Susanna Sharp at Loudon but she died in August 1875, again in Loudon. They had a daughter Janet Gibson Strachan who seems to have been brought up by her Sharp grandparents, as that’s who she’s with in 1881 at age 5. In 1876 James married Annabella Rae at Galston, and in the 1881 census they are at Galston, James a coal miner and with 2 children plus a lodger. They are in Bentinck Street, Galston in 1891 with 6 children, and in Henrietta Street, Galston in 1901 with 8 children. James Gilmour Strachan died in 1933 t Henrietta Street, Galston.
James Gilmour Strachan and son Robert
This photo of James Gilmour Strachan, with his son and grandchildren, has been posted on Ancestry, and I have to say he has Strachan characteristics. There is a distinct look of my father about him.

26 July 1862
Birth of Janet Richmond at Kilwinning, daughter of my half ggg aunt Jean Pollock and John Richmond. Her mother was the illegitimate daughter of Jean Orr who who was the widow of Joseph Haggerty. Janet Richmond died in 1868 at age 7, in Riccarton.

26 July 1881 (born 14 June 1881)
I have only just discovered that my great grandparents John McCrae and Mary Ann Mcinairney has a son they named Jacob Owen McCrae born on 14 June 1881 at 40 Mill Lane, Kilmarnock. Jacob only lived for 6 weeks, and died on 26 July 1881 at 40 Mill Lane of scarlet fever.

26 July 1970
Today is a birthday in Aberdeen – happy birthday Susan, granddaughter of my great aunt Barbara Fraser who married William Dow,

At last – a McCrae breakthrough

If you worry at a problem for long enough a solution will appear. This has just happened with my McCrae brick wall.

My gg grandfather John McCrae was born in about 1839/40, and married Mary Ann Mcinairney in 1861 in Kilmarnock. On his marriage certificate he gave his parents as John McCrae labourer dead and Mary McCrae ms Henderson dead. I found a death certificate for his mother Mary but not for his father. Mary McCrae died in 1860 and her son John gave her parents’ names as John Henderson labourer dead and Jean Henderson ms McCrae. That Mary Henderson married a John McCrae and also had a mother called Jean McCrae is possible, of course, but has always bothered me a bit. But despite a thorough search, I failed to find him or his mother in the 1851 census. It did occur to me that they might have been from Ireland: in the census John McCrae has his birthplace as Kilmarnock except in the 1891 census where it says he was born in Ireland.

I was also aware that when ScotlandsPeople put the 1851 census online they mucked it up and the Kilmarnock records were missing. I’ve no idea when they fixed it, but fix it they have. This week I was prompted to look again (thank you Rob for bringing up the subject of McCrae research again) and found this:

1851 John McCrae
1851 Census

In case you can’t read it easily, it says:
Lawsons Land, Strand, Low Church, Kilmarnock
Mary Henderson head of house, widow age 43, washer woman, born Ireland C. Antrim
Martha Todd lodger widow age 65, pauper binder of shoes, born Ireland C. Antrim
Susanna Bell lodger married age 21, hand sewer, born Ireland C. Antrim
John McRae lodger age 11, bearer, born Ireland C. Antrim
Wm Donigan lodger age 3, born Kilmarnock

I am positive this is the right John McCrae for several reasons:
– His mother was Mary Henderson
– He called one of his daughters Susan Bell McCrae
– His wife Mary Ann had a half sister called Sarah McKinnon who married William Donigan
– A bearer was the early name for a coal drawer, a job boys did in a coal mine
I don’t know who Martha Todd was but haven’t yet researched her.

I have no idea why they are all called lodgers. However, the entry for John has been added in afterwards by the enumerator, so must have been missed off when the enumerator was first copying the individual forms into his book. Very easy for a mistake to have been made, or for him to use ditto marks when they didn’t actually apply.

Then, of course, I looked for Mary Henderson, and not Mary McCrae, in 1841 – and there she was:

1841 John McCrae
1841 Census

And again in case you can’t read it easily, it says:
College Wynd, Kilmarnock
Mary Henderson age 35, born Ireland
John McCrae or McCree (difficult to read) age 12, born Ireland
Shusan Bell age 11, born Ireland
Elizabeth Lathan age 25, born Ireland
Robt Lathan age 6, born Ireland
Susan Lathan age 2, born Ireland

It must be the same Mary Henderson and Susan Bell. John McCrae is listed as age 12 – but could that have been 12 months and not 12 years? Has the enumerator made a mistake when copying the form into his book? I haven’t researched the Lathan family yet, but it seems as if Mary Henderson took in boarders to help provide her with an income.

College Wynd is close to Strand Street, where Lawson’s Land was, and is close to Fore Street where John McCrae was living in 1861.

Kilmarnock 1855
Kilmarnock in 1855

So it is looking very much as if gg grandfather John McCrae originated in Northern Ireland, somewhere in Country Antrim, and arrived in Kilmarnock with his mother Mary Henderson when he was only a few months old.

An additional link to these census entries is that in 1850 Susan Bell married Jacob Owens. In 1851 Susan Bell is said to be married, and Jacob Owen was living just a few doors away (and is on the next census page) with his mother and siblings, and his entry also says he is married. Very frustratingly, I’ve been unable to find a death certificate for Susan Bell or Owen/s on ScotlandsPeople, as I’m desperate to know who her parents were!

However, during my searches (which were aided by the very helpful Jonn on RootsChat – always a good place to post your problems) I discovered that John McCrae and Mary Ann McInairney had a child born in 1881 who died at 6 weeks old. He was called Jacob Owens McCrae.

There is now lots more research to do on my McCrae line, but I need to flex the credit card and buy more credits on ScotlandsPeople before I can go further. It also means research on that line takes me to County Antrim. I’ve avoided delving into Irish records as I know a lot were destroyed, so finding people there is difficult. But it looks like I’m going to have to bite the bullet and have a go.

On 12 July

Four events today: an early Strachan ancestor who can’t be traced beyond birth, a Yorkshire Grist female who had a very complicated life, a daughter of a Strachan who was widowed and then died leaving behind 6 children, and a McCrae great uncle.

6 July 1772
Birth of my gggg aunt Elizabeth Strachan at Irvine, daughter of Thomas Strachan and Susannah Alexander. Sadly, there is nothing concrete known of her after that. She would have been about 19 when her parents and siblings moved to Gorbals, so if she was still living she might not have gone with them – but there is no marriage in Ayrshire that could be her. There is a birth in Gorbals in 1794 of Janet Barr to John Barr and Betty Strachan, but nothing else can be found for that couple. There is a marriage in 1804 for Elizabeth Strachan and Peter Strachan in 1804, and this couple had children James and Peter in Old Monkland and Elizabeth in 1816, but nothing to say this is the right Elizabeth. So Elizabeth remains an enigma.

12 July 1840
Baptism of Eliza Grist at Darfield, Yorkshire, daughter of my gggg uncle William Grist and Emma Wood. In the census she consistently gives her birthplace as Smithley, which is close to Worsbrough. Her aunt Sarah Grist married Thomas Oxley, and their daughter Margaret (Eliza’s cousin) married Joseph Green of Worsbrough. Eliza, however, had a complicated life – piecing it together proved a challenge I couldn’t resist. As there’s a lot to say about her I’m giving her a separate post of her own. But briefly – she married very young, had two children, appears to have been abandoned by her husband who took up with someone else and then migrated to USA, had an illegitimate child father unknown, had another illegitimate child with James Moss who at some stage disappeared, saw her eldest two daughters married but then both died in the 30s, and took in a boarder who eventually married her youngest daughter. Eliza died at the age of 66.

12 July 1847
Janet Hamilton was born at Gargieston, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, daughter of John Hamilton and Janet Strachan and granddaughter of my ggg uncle Thomas Strachan and Elizabeth Nisbet. She’s with her parents and siblings, father a coal miner, at Corsehill Square, Dreghorn in 1851 and with them is a visitor plus Catherine Strachan age 13 servant, who is probably the daughter of Peter Strachan and cousin of Janet Hamilton’s mother. In 1861 Janet is with her family at Kilmaurs, which is where she married James Watson in 1866. Her father died in 1869 and in 1871 she is with her husband, an iron turner, and 3 children at 64 Kilmaurs Road, Kilmarnock – next door is her mother, widow Janet Hamilton nee Strachan, a spirit dealer. In 1881 James and Janet Watson are in Kilmarnock with 3 of their children, and Janet’s mother is close by with Janet and John Watson, children of James and Janet. In 1885 James Watson died of pheumonia and in 1886 Janet Watson nee Hamilton died of tuberculosis. They left 6 children who probably initially lived with their grandmother, but then in 1889 Janet Hamilton nee Strachan died. In 1891 the 6 children, aged from 24 to 6 years, are living together at 16 Gilmour Street, Kilmarnock, the eldest Janet Watson as head of the household, three working and the youngest two at school. Sad they were orphaned so young but good they were able to stay together.

12 July 1915 (born 6 April 1884)
James McCrae, my great uncle, was born on 6 April 1884 (and missed off my 6 April post) to my great grandparent John McCrae and Mary Ann McInairney (or McInerney), at 24 High Street, Kilmarnock. In 1891 he’s with his parents and siblings at 7 High Church Lane, Kilmarnock, his father and two older brothers all coal miners. In 1901 the family are back at 24 High Street and James, age 19, is a coal miner’s drawer, most probably working with his father. His father died in 1904, and in 1911 James McCrae is with Samuel and Sarah Downie at 26 New Street, Riccarton – this is his older sister Sarah McCrae. James did army service during WW1 joining the Seaforth Highlanders in 1914 and then joining the Royal Scots Fusiliers in March 1915. On 12 July 1915 he married Mary Langan, a hosiery worker. The marriage was by declaration in front of witnesses Matthew McCrae, his brother, and Matthew’s wife Annie McCubbin, and took place at the Sherriff Court House, Kilmarnock, signed by warrant of the Sherriff Substitute of Ayrshire. James was probably on leave with not enough time to have banns read. According to his army service papers, he had a daughter Isaballa born illegitimate in 1910 in Glasgow, mother Mary Langan, and they had another daughter, Mary Ann, born in Kilmarnock in 1917. He saw service in France but was discharged unfit in 1916 due to a recurring ankle sprain. I can’t find a death that looks like him in the Scottish records and nothing in the migration documents available, so don’t know what happened to him after 1917.

On 30 June

Only one event again today: someone who lived on the same Kilmarnock street from marriage until death.

30 June 1885
Birth of Agnes McCrae Downie at Kilmarnock, daughter of Samuel Downie and my great aunt Sarah McCrae. (She was the niece of my grandmother, Helen (Nell) Strachan nee McCrae). In 1891 and 1901 Agnes is with her parents in Kilmnarnock, her father Samuel a hammerman then labourer born in Ireland, and by age 15 she was a mill worker. Agnes married Samuel Craig McCulloch on 23 October 1908 at Riccarton, and they both gave their address as 36 New Street, which is next to Riccarton Parish Church though all the old houses are now demolished. Samuel MCulloch was a coal miner. A tree on Ancestry has two children for them: Sarah born 1909 and Rebecca born 1910. In 1911 and again in 1921 Samuel McCulloch sailed to New York, the first time to go to Canton, Massachusetts and the second time to go to Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He returned to Riccarton both times and there is no evidence that Agnes and their daughters ever went to the US. The passenger lists for both journeys give Samuel’s nearest relative as his wife Agnes of New Street, Ricccarton. Agnes McCulloch nee Downie died age 72 at Kilmarnock and her husband Samuel died in 1958 age 84. A tree on Ancestry says he died at 33 New Street, Kilmarnock, so it looks as if they’d lived on the same street ever since their marriage.

On 26 May

Some frustrating ancestors today, who haven’t left much trace of themselves in the records.

26 May 1773
Baptism of Timothy Fisher at Royston, Yorkshire, son of Thomas Fisher and Lydia Hudson. He was my ggggg uncle as his sister Hannah married Joseph Firth, and their daughter Sarah married William Green of Worsbrough. Timothy married Mary Kaye, from Tankersley, in 1794 and they lived in Tankersley, where they had 9 children. Unfortunately that’s all I’ve been able to find out about him.

26 May 1775
Baptism of Daniel Fraser at Cruden, son of Donald Fraser and Margaret Sharp. If I’m correct in my theory that Donald Fraser’s son William was the father of my illegimate gggg grandfather, then Daniel is my ggggg uncle. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything else for him: he may have died in infancy or childhood.

26 May 1865
Birth of Ann Stewart Strachan at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, daughter of John Strachan and Christina Houston McGill and granddaughter of my ggg uncle Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle. Her father was a coal miner, and she was with her parents in 1871 in Kilmarnock and in 1881 at Kilmaurs, when she was working as a dressmaker. In 1891 she’s a domestic servant for a farming family in Dalry. Ann died in Kilmarnock in 1893 at age 28.

26 May 1860
Death of my gg grandmother Mary McCrae nee Henderson at Kilmarnock. There’s no record of her birth or baptism, but her death certificate – for which her son John McCrae was informant – states her parents were John Henderson labourer and Jean Henderson ms McCrae and she was 57 when she died. This puts her birth date at around 1803. Unfortunately, she’s a mystery. There’s a Mary McCrae in Kilmarnock in the 1841 census, a widow with children age 15 and 10 plus a John McCrae age 6 months, which is the right age for my great grandfather John, but as I can’t find any of them in the 1851 census or find birth records, it’s difficult to say with certainty that it’s the right family. The 1841 family were all involved with hand loom weaving, which doesn’t sound quite right if their father was a labourer and one of the sons became a coal miner. Mary McCrae died in 1860 at 2 Low Church Lane, Kilmarnock at age 57 of consumption (tuberculosis). That her mother was a McCrae and then Mary married a McCrae is confusing, and I can’t help wondering if her son John got some information wrong when he registered his mother’s death. And I suspect the Hendersons came from Ireland.

On 27 April

Four events today: a possible 6-times-great grandfather, Ann Strachan’s unlucky marriage, a coal miner’s daughter who became a nurse to a minister’s family, and the death of a great grandmother.

27 April 1749
Marriage, at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, of George Sangster and Jean George. They would be my gggggg grandparents if they are the grandparents of Janet Sangster who gave birth to the illegitimate William Fraser in 1805. Then again, my gggggg grandparents could be George Sansgter and Margaret Knox who married in Cruden in 1750. Sadly, the baptism of John Sangster in 1754 only gives his father’s name, and I’m not even sure that’s the right John Sangster! So the Sangsters are still something of a muddle.

27 April 1873
Ann Strachan married Henry O’Neil at the Roman Catholic Chapel, Saltcoats. She wasn’t a Catholic so Henry must have been, and was probably Irish, or from Irish parents. Ann Strachan, born 1841, was the daughter of Peter Strachan and Margaret Boyle, but both died when Ann was very young and she’d been brought up by her uncle Henry Strachan and his wife Annie. When she married, Ann was 30 and a domestic servant at Harbour Street, Saltcoats, and Henry was 40 and a lodging house keeper of the same address, so it looks as if Ann was working for him. Sadly for Ann, her husband died only a year after they were married, so it was a very short lived liaison.

27 April 1874
Birth of Mary Findlay at Loudon, Ayrshire, the daughter of Hugh Findlay and Margaret Miller and therefore great granddaughter of my gggg uncle Peter Strachan and his wife Mary Monroe. I’d not done any research on her previously, apart from her birth, so have just had a look online – can only get to 1901 without having to spend a lot of ScotlandsPeople credits, so that’s as far as I went. Her father had been a coal miner, but in 1881 was a grocer in Monkton & Prestwick, which he didn’t do for long and by 1891 he was a colliery manager in Kilmarnock. Mary, age 26, is no longer with her family in 1901 as she is a domestic nurse in Edinburgh with the Macauley family. George Macauley was the Minister of Pilrig United Free Church with a wife and 4 children, and he was born in Irvine, Ayrshire so it may have been an Ayrshire connection through which Mary got the nursing job. Also in the household was 18 year old Annie B Miller, housemaid born Dreghorn, who is probably a relative of Mary’s as Annie has the same surname as Mary’s mother.

27 April 1912
My great grandmother Mary Ann McInerney (or however it was variously written) died in Kilmarnock. She was 75 and died on her own, at her home at 33 High Street, Kilmarnock, so the informant is the Procurator Fiscal (Scottish equivalent of a coroner). Her name is given as Mary Ann McNearney or McCrae, widow – she was married to my great grandfather John McCrae. Her parents are correctly named as John McNearney and Sarah McNearney ms Marshall, both deceased. I’ve been able to trace her mother’s Marshall line but not her father’s – all I know is he was John McInerney from Ireland, and died between 1848 and 1851.