Author Topic: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?  (Read 1042 times)

Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #27 on: Wednesday 28 June 17 17:16 BST (UK) »
Sent inquiry to University of Dundee, they responded almost immediately.  What a pleasant shock!  It made me look again for death certificate and now that I knew to  look in Montrose I found it.

He definitely died at Sunnyside Lunatic Asylum, but the cause of death is really hard to read.  It might be Latin because it looks like "Take Dorafis".  As far as I tell that makes no sense in English or Latin.

I'm waiting to hear, I'll report back when I find more.
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

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Online Forfarian

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #28 on: Wednesday 28 June 17 17:57 BST (UK) »
The cause of death is probably 'tabes dorsalis'.

I have a hypothesis to put to you.

I think that James Hastings was married to Mary Duthie in 1853, and had several children with her. He then left her, or split up with her, and took up with Mary McAlpine, but as Mary Duthie or Hastings did not die until 1903, he could not marry Mary McAlpine. Divorce was out of the question for most people in the 1860s, because it required an Act of Parliament, and was therefore far too expensive for the vast majority.

You can test this hypothesis by getting the birth certificate of Mary Duthie's son Charles William Gordon Hastings, born in 1866, and comparing the signature of James Hastings on that document with his signature on the birth certificate of Joseph McAlpine Hastings, which is already in your possession.

Try it, and see what you think.
Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith

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Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #29 on: Wednesday 28 June 17 18:17 BST (UK) »
That was a fair hypothesis, Forfarian!!  But it doesn't look like it holds up.  I compared the signature from the birth of Charles William Gordon Hastings to the birth certificates of both George and Joseph M.  (Mary's children), and the George and Joseph M. look similar but pretty distinct from the Charles one.  Plus, Charles' father's occupation is "Seaman master, Merchant Service", which I have never seen listed on any documents for James Gow.  He's always listed consistently as a flax dresser.

Googling tabes dorsalis leads me to believe that James died from Syphilis (yuck).  But Mary lived for many more years; she died in 1919.  How did he die of syphilis in 1887 but she managed to live on for another 32 years?  She couldn't have had syphilis and lived that long I don't think.  How's she manage to avoid it?

Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #30 on: Wednesday 28 June 17 18:37 BST (UK) »
Ah, well, it was worth a punt.

Yes, tabes dorsalis often (usually) means advanced syphilis. Yet the wives not infrequently manage not to get infected, or if they do they don't develop the full-blown disease.

Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith

Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #31 on: Friday 30 June 17 17:18 BST (UK) »
I got the records from the Montrose Lunatic Asylum, but they didn't list the one piece of information I was looking for!  It clearly states that James Hastings is married but he doesn't name his wife on any forms.  That means one of three things:

1) He was lying about being married and didn't want to name his wife because he knew he didn't really have one.
2) He married Mary McAlpine at some point between 1875 (son Joseph was listed as "illegitimate" in 1875 and 1882 when he was admitted to the asylum.
3) He was married but not to Mary McAlpine and so didn't want to name his wife on the form.

I've asked the researcher at University of Dundee if there were any visitor logs.  James was in the asylum for five years (I shudder at the thought--the medical logs were chilling) before he died.  Don't you think it likely that someone came to see how he was faring? 

Under "nearest known relative of the patient and degree of the relationship", it says "not known".  On his death certificate it says "wife - and then two lines which says to me that there was a wife but he didn't put her name down.  I could understand on the death certificate that he wasn't lucid enough to answer but I would think he would have had the wherewithal to name his wife on the admission papers.

Anyway, I might never know.  I'll report back if I get another response from Dundee.

Sharon
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross