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Topics - Forfarian

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Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey, Sark / Jean Aitchison or Wyllie
« on: Sunday 15 January 17 10:05 GMT (UK)  »
Does anyone happen to know anything about Jean Aitchison?

She married William Morrison Wyllie in London in 1884, and died at Marine Cottage, Guernsey, on 20 August 1886 aged 38. The death information is from a death announcement in The Times. I know nothing more about her.

Buteshire / Reverend Robert Steel(e) ***Completed***
« on: Sunday 18 December 16 10:38 GMT (UK)  »
EDIT: I have come across a biography in the Dictionary of Australian Biography that answers all my questions!

Can anyone tell me anything about thg Reverend Robert Steel(e)?

So far, all I have is his marriage record from the parish register of Glass in Aberdeenshire, Robert Steel parish of Cumbray and Mary Allardyce this parish proclaimed pro 1mo 6 Nov 2ndo and 3tio regular and the birth of one child from the parish register of Cumbrae; Born John James Steel son of the Revd Robert Steel and his spouse Mary Allardyce at Millport on the 31st August and Baptized on the 24th September 1854 by the Revd James Drummond.

The Rev James Drummond was the Church of Scotland minister in Cumbrae from 1829 to 1843, when he came out for the Free Kirk, so it seems likely that Robert Steel was also an adherent of the Free Kirk.

There is a Robert Steel, independent minister, aged 24, born Saltcoats, lodging in the household of Henry Elliot in Castleton, Roxburghshire, in 1851.

I have not so far found the Reverend Robert Steel in Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, which suggests that he could have been too young to be a minister before the Disruption. This would fit with the 24-year-old in Castleton.

There's no possible birth or baptism in SP and I have not found him in the 1841 census on FreeCEN. He isn't listed among the alumni of the University of Glasgow.

Nor can I find him and his family in the 1861 census.

Any suggestions?

The Common Room / Rant: Unhelpful web sites
« on: Friday 02 December 16 14:35 GMT (UK)  »
Don't you just hate all these web sites that swamp you with irrelevant information?

You're looking for someone and your search engine comes up with what looks like a promising reference. So you click on it and instead of taking you to the reference you clicked on, it takes you to a page listing dozens, or hundreds, or zillions, of people with names that are vaguely similar.

Even worse, when you have then spent an age scrolling down and finally located the reference you thought you had clicked on, up pops a dialog box telling you that in order to look at it and see whether it is the person you are looking for, you have to cough up now.


Lanarkshire / The mysterious Archibald Scott
« on: Thursday 01 December 16 13:44 GMT (UK)  »
Archibald Scott, son of Alexander Scott and Margaret Aitkenhead, was born on 29 May 1855 at Murrayhill, East Kilbride.

I have all the census records for this family, and most of the information I need about his parents and siblings and their descendants.

Archibald, however, is a mystery. He is with his parents and siblings in the 1861 census, but I have failed to find him in any later census or in the death index at SP online or in the SP centre.

He registered the death of his brother John in 1898, giving his address as 8 Merkland Road, Partick.

Other than that, nothing.

He isn't the one in Bothwell in 1881 with wife Janet and children Janet and James - that's his first cousin, son of James Scott and Isabella Baird and married in 1878 to Janet Stewart - and still in Bellshill/Bothwell in 1891, 1901 and 1911.

He isn't the one who emigrated to the USA in 1905 and settled in Hudson County, New Jersey - that's the son of John Scott and Margaret Jenkins, born in Edinburgh, married to Agnes McLean and with four of a family.

Any ideas? What have I not thought of?


United States of America / Re: Is this 'my' Archibald Scott? ***Completed thank you***
« on: Thursday 01 December 16 11:14 GMT (UK)  »
I have lost track of Archibald Scott, born in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 29 May 1855. The last sighting I have is in Glasgow in 1898, when he registered the death of his brother John.

However in the 1910 census, in Hudson County, New Jersey, there is an Archibald Scott, aged 54, widower, born Scotland with his daughter Margaret Cox, 23, born Scotland; grandson William Cox, 4, born New Jersey; son John Scott, 22, born Scotland; son William Scott, 22, born Scotland, and probably daughter though it says granddaughter Edith Scott, 18, born Scotland.

I have found Margaret, William Cox and Edith, who married John Perry, in both 1920 and 1930, but not Archibald, John or William Scott. I have yet to find any of the family in Scotland or in England and Wales in 1891 or 1901.

Margaret immigrated in 1902 or 1904, depending on which census you believe. Archibald, John, William and Edith immigrated in 1905, or possibly 1904 depending which census you believe. Margaret and Edith were both naturalised, Edith in 1917 if I believe the 1920 census.

I have trawled FamilySearch, the Ellis Island web site, the Hudson County Genealogical Society data bases and FindAGrave, and have failed to find any immigration or naturalisation records, the birth of William Cox or the marriage of his mother, the marriage of Edith to John Perry between 1910 and 1920, or any deaths or burials. I have also looked unsuccessfully on the State of New Jersey web site as all the events seem to be outside the dates of the searchable indexes.

Any suggestions?

BTW 'my' Archibald is the brother of James Scott (1840-1888) with whom RootsChatters have already helped me a great deal - see

Another brother, Robert, born 1858, also settled in New Jersey but I am still working on him. I think he is the one who married Jane Percy in 1894 but I am waiting to see that marriage certificate in order to make progress.

Lanarkshire / What happened to William Waddell and Eliza Dick?
« on: Saturday 12 November 16 20:48 GMT (UK)  »
William Waddell was born in 1804 and baptised on 29 July in Slamannan, parents James Waddell of Balquhatston and Christian Coubrough. on 3 June 1827 he married Elisa Dick in Barony; he is described as a merchant. They had two children, Eliza Dick Waddell, born 23 February 1828 and Christian Dick Waddell, born 11 March 1829, both in Glasgow. Although they are said to have had four more children, I have found no trace of them after 1829.

The Glasgow P O Directories list a William Waddell at 13 Turners Court in 1827 and in 1828-9, associated with Waddell and Russell in the latter. I have no idea what Waddell and Russell did, and there doesn't seem to be anything in the newspapers to enlighten me. These dates suggest that he could be the one I am looking for.

There is a William Waddell, leather merchant, at 13 Great Dovehill from 1828-9 until 1833-4, and at 9 Great Dowhill from 1834-5 till 1837-8; probably the same premises, renumbered and renamed. Again, nothing in the newspapers.

Any ideas?

Scotland / Finding places in Scotland
« on: Monday 07 November 16 12:16 GMT (UK)  »
If you are looking to find the place where your ancestors lived in Scotland, there are a few pitfalls to beware of.

The main problem is that many (even most) place names are not unique. There are, for instance, a croft named Edinburgh near Elgin, a farm named Dundee near Huntly, and at least two Irelands in Scotland. When you start getting into really common place names or elements of place names, like Burnside or Boghead or Kirkto(w)n, you are heading for a minefield.

Names can also apply to a single house or farm, and these are not marked on the sort of map you might use for driving around, either on paper or as a satnav.

For example, I was once asked about a family who lived at Hillockhead. The person asking had looked on a road map and found a place called Hillockhead on the Black Isle and since this was the only one they had found, assumed it was the one where their family had lived.

The trouble was that the records of the family were from the parish register of Rothes, which (in 19th century terms, when the only way to get about on land was by muscle power) is nowhere near the Black Isle.

On checking the first edition of the six-inch Ordnance Survey map on the National Library of Scotland web site, there it was, a couple of miles south of the town of Rothes

These days, there is nothing left of this Hillockhead except some unevenness of the ground in the middle of a field

There are other Hillockheads too
and that's only a selection of the ones within a few tens of miles of Rothes.

The second problem is that place names are not constant; they can change over time.

For example, the fam called Muiryhillock on the first edition six-inch map is now named Easter Marcus on the modern maps

Generally, if a farm has a name like Overton, Upperton, Middleton, Netherton, Easterton, Westerton, Mains of x and a whole range of other elements, its original full name is likely to incorporate another name, which you will need to know to be sure of getting the right place.

Here's an example from Memsie - you can see that on the modern map there are Muirton of Memsie and Westerton of Memsie, plus Overtown, Memsie House and Manor Farm. Then look at the old map and it's Overtown of Memsie, and Manor farm is marked as Home Farm. If you move the old map to the right you'll find there's also a Woodside of Memsie that isn't named on the modern maps at all, though it's definitely still there.

There are hundreds of example of such changes.

The critical point is that if you have found a reference to your ancestors in a census or in a parish register or registration district, knowing the parish or district name is absolutely essential for finding the place. If you are asking for help to find it, you really must say where you found the reference to the place you are looking for.

Ayrshire / Am I hallucinating?
« on: Monday 31 October 16 18:40 GMT (UK)  »
James Brown, born Monkton in about 1778, married in 14 May 1809 Beatrix Brown, born 29 March 1788 in Linlithgow. I have a list of 7 children: James, 4 June 1816; John, 19 January 1819; Margaret, 7 January 1821; and Beatrice, born 17 April 1823, all in St Quivox. I have seen all four of these baptism records.

The other three were allegedly born in Irvine: Thomas, 17 July 1825; William, 10 January 1828; David, 29 June 1830; but not only have I failed to find their baptisms, I cannot even remember or find where I got the names and dates from.

In the 1841 census James Buchanan, 60, Navy pensioner; Beatrick, 50; Margaret, 20; Thomas, 16; and David, 11 are living in East Richmond Street, Edinburgh. In 1851 there are James, 72, Chelsea pensioner and Beatrice, 63.

Am I imagining these three baptisms in Irvine, and if not where did they come from?

Australia / Death of Elfrieda Hester Elmslie Brown
« on: Saturday 22 October 16 20:09 BST (UK)  »
Elfrieda Hester Elmslie Brown was born in Queensland, probably Ipswich, in 1908.

In 1933 her father, Edward Elmslie Brown, divorced her mother, Hester Brown, née Kerr. In the newspaper reports of the court hearing it was stated that the only child of the marriage was deceased.

However there isn't a death in the Queensland deaths indexes. Nor have I, so far, found anything via about the death of Elfrieda. I have loads of information about both parents, and details of Edward's second and third wives and the death of his infant son in 1936 of a surfeit of bananas after becoming the first baby to fly from Australia to England and back.

Any suggestions?

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