Author Topic: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm  (Read 1743 times)

Offline Sunflower16

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Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« on: Saturday 14 July 18 16:07 BST (UK) »
Any advice and info welcomed.  I have a Scottish ancestor, Robert Robertson,  born 1856 in Shotton, Yetholm whom we think is likely of Scottish Gypsy ancestry. His marriage certificate to Agnes Weatherly gives his father's name as Andrew Robertson and mother as Janet Young.  After Agnes dies he remarries a Mary Ann Mavin and gives his father's name as Thomas Robertson......mother's name not given on English certificates. 

So for whatever reason, he seems not to have known who his father was.......

When he died, in 1938, his son the informant, gave his name as Robert Young Robertson,  indicating some significance to the surname Young, which he gave as his mother's name at his first marriage to Agnes in Scotland (Chirnside).    The name is well documented amongst the Yetholm gypsies and Robert gives his place of birth as Yetholm on several census returns. There is no sign of the child Robert Robertson with parents in the 1861 census. In 1871 a Robert Robertson of the right age turns up in Berwick living with William and Margery Stuart, both described as hawkers, as is Robert, and they are seemingly two real characters in the community and well documented in the local Berwick press- they appear to be of traveller heritage.

I am trying to establish his elusive parentage to follow the ancestral lines which come to a bit of a brick wall with him.........so any help would be appreciated.




 




Durand, Rees, Beynon, Hill, Robertson, Oakes, Spry, Stacey, Harrison, Du Plessis, Grobler.

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 14 July 18 22:01 BST (UK) »
Have you checked Scotlands People?  If he was born 1856 it was after civil reg

www.scotlandspeople.org.uk
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Offline Sunflower16

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Re: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 14 July 18 22:05 BST (UK) »
Indeed I have, Carole. It was my first port of call. That's why I came on here, having exhausted the usual routes. But thanks anyway, I guess many people have no idea how to find Scottish ancestors, so  a reminder of the excellent scotlandspeople website will not go amiss. Just to clarify, his birth is not recorded on the Scotlandspeople site.
Durand, Rees, Beynon, Hill, Robertson, Oakes, Spry, Stacey, Harrison, Du Plessis, Grobler.


Offline CaroleW

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Re: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 14 July 18 22:06 BST (UK) »
SP index shows Robert Young birth reg 1856 Yetholm
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Offline Sunflower16

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Re: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 14 July 18 22:08 BST (UK) »
There is no Robert Robertson though, I wonder where that would have come from???

Durand, Rees, Beynon, Hill, Robertson, Oakes, Spry, Stacey, Harrison, Du Plessis, Grobler.

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 14 July 18 22:14 BST (UK) »
That 1856 birth may have been the son of Alexander & Mary Young per 1861 entry
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Offline Sunflower16

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Re: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 14 July 18 22:27 BST (UK) »
I have just checked as I have credits on Scotlands people and it is........born 8 Jun 1856 to Alexander and Mary Young.

Interestingly, Robert called two of his children Alexander - one was Robert Alexander and another son was Alexander Frank, known as Frank.  there is no other known Alexander in the lines of which I am aware, so it must have had great significance for him to do that.

Perhaps he adopted the name Robertson after being taken in by Will and Margery Stuart in Berwick - her maiden name was Robertson......this is such a puzzle. He seemed not to know his father, and the name YOUNG was so significant that his son registered it on his death certificate. Yetholm also mentioned on several census returns.
Durand, Rees, Beynon, Hill, Robertson, Oakes, Spry, Stacey, Harrison, Du Plessis, Grobler.

Offline bambisland

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Re: Scottish gypsies from Yetholm
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 17 October 20 00:21 BST (UK) »
Hi Sunflower,

I believe you are connected to my family who I am researching. Janet Young is my ancestor from Yetholm. The Young family certainly were Yetholm gypsies. It is a Scottish tradition for people's middle names to the their mother's maiden name, not because it was prominent. There was poor winters in late 1820s/early 1830s in Yetholm and large numbers of gypsies moved to Berwick (including my family) together. As they were travellers they could just move when there was a bad run of winters and food was scarce. This large number of gypsies moved in late 1820s and early 1830s to Berwick and most didn't return to Yetholm, from there they married to others. The Young family were known for having dark skin and eyes.

The Janet Young in my family was born in 1828 in Channelkirk, Berwickshire. Her parents were James Young (born: 1780 in Yetholm) and Mary Liddel. This James Young's parents were: Robert Young and Janet Mills.

Scottish naming conventions means that the first born daughter is always named after the mother's grandmother. Although my Janet Young may not be yours, your Janet Young would most certainly be connected to the family as a cousin or something.

You will also struggle with trying to do this research yourself as since they were travellers, they shunned records and avoided being documented. I have engaged a professional researcher who is also a historian to do my research for me as this is a specialist area. The person doing the research is Dr Bruce Durie. http://www.brucedurie.co.uk/

If you would like, I can certainly forward you on the research report that he provides me once he has finished his research? I'd also encourage you to consider reaching out to him and commissioning your own research if this is a direct line of your family and you would like to find out more information. Also, consider reaching out to the Scottish Borders Family History Society for research as well. They have lists of name of the Young family and those who were living there as gypsies. They also can do research for you and point you towards a list of resources that you can read about all the history of the gypsies in Yetholm. http://www.bordersfhs.org.uk/yetholm.asp

Good luck with your research.