Author Topic: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie  (Read 1111 times)

Offline memchchNZ

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Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« on: Tuesday 04 June 19 07:08 BST (UK) »
I have been researching Murdoch family history for more than thirty years , most recently in Colvend and Dalbeattie. I am now living in New Zealand (aged 82) and am having one last attempt to solve the problem of a missing Alexander Murdoch born in Scotland circa 1835. My earliest record of him is in Marylebone, London in 1858 on the birth certificate of his first child, also Alexander, and his occupation is 'baker'.
I have records of every census since then of his wife with their children but Alexander seems to vanish into thin air between 1861 and 1871 census records when his family are in Newcastle with their mother Charlotte. I have spent many years searching deaths, emigration, convict and census records for his whereabouts to no avail.

One clue gave hope and led me to another Alexander Murdoch who was a 'baker'. His birth was in Colvend parish records in 1830 but I have so far been unable to prove or disprove that he is the Alexander I am looking for. His mother is Ann Coupland and his occupation in the 1851 census is 'baker'. His father is Charles Murdoch, a captain who dies 4 months before his second son's birth, his first son being Charles Donaldson Murdoch (born 1826) who became a captain and was lost at sea.

I have checked census, marriage/death certificates for this Alexander in Scottish civil and church records without success in an attempt to link or disprove a link between the two 'bakers'.

Can anyone please suggest a possible way forward or know of any records which I have not yet checked?

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 04 June 19 18:50 BST (UK) »
Welcome to Rootschat

They are together in 1861 but Charlotte’s marital status on the 1871 is unclear and she is widowed in 1881

Children born up to 1867/68 according to the 1871 entry - the last b Newcastle so they moved there between 1864-1868

When and where did he marry and what was his wife’s maiden name? 

EDIT

GRO online shows mmn as Burnett.  No marriage in either Scotland or England
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Offline CaroleW

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 04 June 19 19:04 BST (UK) »
Baptisms for daughters Clara Rayner Murdoch in 1860 and Elizabeth Julia in 1862 show Alexander as a baker
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Offline memchchNZ

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 05 June 19 07:26 BST (UK) »
Many thanks Carole. What you report confirms what I have in my records but I am afraid I can not give you any information at all about the marriage of Alexander to Charlotte. Her maiden name is Branette on her first son's birth certificate and Barnet on one of her daughter's birth certificates. I can find no registered birth of Charlotte in Scottish records though she is registered in census records as being born in Edinburgh Scotland. All census records until her death show her as being married or widowed.

Only one death for an Alexander Murdoch appears in Civil records around the time that 'my Alexander disappears from records. I have traced this man and found that he was drowned at Hull in 1868 whilst serving as mate on board a ship in dock. I have researched this Alexander to his birth in Colvend in Dumfieshire and find he is the cousin of the baker, Alexander Murdoch whose birth I thought may be the Alexander I am actually looking for but can not prove. I realise that there is the possibility that they could be one and the same person. However another historian records the seaman's father differing  from the baker father and the two fathers are brothers. By strange coincidence the two fathers seem to have sons of the same names with birth dates slightly differing.

Any suggestions on how to sort this out. I am very sure that I have witnessed the registration of the baptisms of Alexander Murdoch and his brother, Charles Donaldson in the parish records of Colvend Parish Church, Kirkcudbright as being 9/9/1830 and 20/8/1826 respectively,  with parents Alexander Murdoch and Ann Coupland. 

Alexander who drowned is recorded by the historian as having parents Samuel Lowden and Jane Young. I am now living too far away to check this personally. Can you suggest a way for me to do this please?

Offline CaroleW

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 05 June 19 19:58 BST (UK) »
Mystery - baker to mariner just doesn’t seem to fit somehow.

His absence from the family in 1871 would suggest he died between the birth of his last child and the 1871 census which is a short timescale and given his occupation I would have expected any death to be in Northumberland

I don't think the 1868 death is his.

Head scratching time ???

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Offline hmcc

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 05 June 19 22:45 BST (UK) »
Alexander Murdoch who drowned at Hull is listed on headstone at Colvend Kirkyard (as in Stewartry M.I.s)
Front. In memory of Ebebezer Murdoch who died at Barcloy Mill, 25th August 1806, aged 45 years. Also Grizel Riddick, his spouse, who died February 26th 1834, aged 73 years. Also John Murdoch, his grandson, who died 3rd November 1809, aged 12 days. Also Alexander Murdoch, his son, who died 16th May 1830, aged 34 years. Also Samuel L. Murdoch, his son, who died at Dalbeattie on the 6st March 1858, aged 74 years. Also Jane Young, spouse of Samuel L. Murdoch, who died 3rd March 1879, aged 92 years. Also Alexander Murdoch, son of the above S. Murdoch, who was drowned at Hull 16th April 1868, aged 41 years.
Rear. In memory of Eben'r Murdoch who died at Barnbarroch 28th Sep. 1864, aged 53 years. Helen Proctor, his wife, who died at Barnbarroch 27th April 1884, aged 77 years.

Samuel Lowden Murdoch and Jane Young being parents of Alexander Murdoch.
1851 Census   Barcloy Mill, Colvend,
Samuel Murdoch (66) shoemaker.
Jane Murdoch (63) wife.
Samuel Murdoch (26) son, shoemaker.
Elizabeth Murdoch (25) daughter in law.
Thomas Murdoch (2) grandson.

hmcc.


                         

Offline memchchNZ

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 06 June 19 12:13 BST (UK) »
Hello Carole W and hmcc
Thanks again to both of you. I agree, Carole, that baker to mariner seems most unlikely but it is the only death registered for an Alexander Murdoch of roughly his age between the 1861 and 1871 that I have been able to find and I can think of no more stones to turn over. The Colvend Alexander is missing from records after the 1851 census so, to me, it is highly likely that he is the missing link, with no information at all for the Marylebone Alexander (a baker) between his birth and 1861 and none for the Colvend Alexander (a baker) since 1851.

hmcc, I have information of the other Alexander and Charles Donaldson Murdoch (recognised as sons of Samuel Lowden Murdoch in Colvend). I have a copy of the inquest of Alexander who died at Hull in 1868 which said that he had a wife who was regularly sent money from his wages, though I don't believe he was married. I also have a certificate of the marriage of Charles Donaldson Murdoch in London, The wife's name was the same as that recorded for him on the tombstone in Colvend, copy of which you kindly sent me. The wedding was held in a church in London in 1859, close to where his cousin Alexander the baker was living with his family at the time. I acquired it when I believed it to be his brother Charles Donaldson and not his cousin.

I took a photo of the tombsome in Colvend some years ago when we lived in England. I also acquired copy of a monumental inscription in Dalbeattie for Charles Donaldson Murdoch after his boat went missing during the return from Matanzas in 1860. His wife's death is also on this inscription - Agnes Armstrong in 1864 aged 30.  A pity people in the same family chose exactly the same names for their children. No thought for those who may do family history research in the future!

Looks like I need a time machine! Let further head scratching begin. Many thanks to you both.


Offline jamyam

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #7 on: Friday 28 June 19 22:15 BST (UK) »
I have just seen your post of three weeks ago and I am a member of the Murdoch family of Dalbeattie. I can also confirm that, like you, I have struggled with Alexander Murdoch, the baker, who just seems to vanish into thin air.

Ebenezer Murdoch (1761-1806) and his wife Grissel Riddick (1761-1834) had two sons. These were Samuel Lowden Murdoch (1784-1858), a master shoemaker who, with his wife, Jane Young (1787-1879) had 11 children, including the two youngest: Alexander Murdoch (1827-1868), a mariner who drowned in Hull Docks; and Charles Donaldson Murdoch (1829-1860), a  master mariner who died at sea as Master of the brig Irongray which was lost on a voyage from Matanzas, Cuba to Great Britain at the end of 1860.

The second son of Ebenezer was Alexander Murdoch (1795/6-1830), who was also a master mariner. I have not been able to find any information about his death, but maybe he succumbed to the flu epidemic of 1830. He married Ann Copeland (or Copland or Coupland), the daughter of William Copeland, Merchant of Dalbeattie, in Edinburgh on 16 September 1822 and they had two children in Colvend with the same names as Samuel’s two youngest children, above. Charles Donaldson Murdoch was born in 1826. I have been unable to trace anything further about him and I presume that he died in infancy. This would fit with Samuel choosing the same name for his youngest son who was born three years later. Charles Donaldson was the well-respected miller and farmer of Barcloy Mill at Colvend and Samuel and his family lived at the Mill Cottage, which may have been owned by Charles Donaldson. When Charles Donaldson (the miller) died in in 1855, Samuel Murdoch was the informant and was present at the death.

And so to Alexander’s youngest son, yet another Alexander, who was born in 1830, four months after the death of his father. It is this Alexander who became a baker. In 1841, he was aged 11 and living with his mother and Margaret Gilson in Dalbeattie. In 1851, his mother Anne, was a pauper, mariner’s widow, born Edinburgh and living in Dumfries Road, Dalbeattie with her son, Alexander, 20, a journeyman baker. Here the trail goes cold and I have been unable to trace anything about Alexander Murdoch, the baker, or his mother, after 1851.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to throw much light onto your problem with Alexander Murdoch, the baker, born in Scotland about 1835. The discrepancy in date of birth between 1830 and 1835 does not necessarily rule out the possibility that these are one and the same person and it would partly answer my problem with the disappearance of ‘my’ Alexander from all Scottish records. I will try and research a bit more about the background of your ’Alexander’ to see if it throws up any other data to prove or disprove the possibility of a connection.

In a later post, you mention the Alexander Murdoch who drowned in Hull Docks . He was indeed married, to Isabella Dempster of Dunscore, Dumfries and they married in Bristol on 27 November 1859. They had two sons, Samuel Murdoch and William Dempster Murdoch. Following the rather unfortunate circumstances behind the death of Alexander, which you will be aware of from the coroner’s report, Isabella started a new life with her children in Guernsey. If you search Under Murdoch in Rootschat, you will see a post from me which outlines the development of that family which became prominent in Guernsey. I was seeking information on more recent events in that family, which I suspect may have died out last century. Although the post has had nearly 1000 hits, I only received one reply!

Let us hope that we can find find a new clue to resolve our joint quest to trace more information on an Alexander Murdoch, a baker, born in Scotland between 1830 and 1835. It would be great if we are looking for the same man, but equally intriguing if there turns out to be two of them.

John Murdoch
Paternal: Murdoch, Riddick, Young, Lowden, Cumming, Thomson, Wilson, Copeland, Alexander, Anderson, McCraith
Maternal: Oliver, Smith, Barritt, Field, Thompson, Daniel, Collard, Jackson

Offline memchchNZ

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Re: Murdochs in Colvend and Dalbeattie
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 29 June 19 12:45 BST (UK) »
How exciting to find someone else looking for Alexander the baker! I believe I turned over every stone in my search for all bakers named Alexander Murdoch and it seemed that I was alone in my search, though I did come across one lady, Wendy (any close relative of yours?) who was researching the line which included William McMaster Murdoch of Titanic fame. We corresponded for a while and she kindly sent me a disc portraying members of her family. However, she had no information of Samuel Lowden Murdoch's son Alexander  (1795/6-1830). I researched Ebenezer's family fairly thoroughly, despite being unsure of a connection, in the hope that there may be any clue at all to prove or disprove a connection to 'my' husband's family Murdoch.

Like you, I searched for deaths of Alexander's mother or of himself in Scotland records as well as English (hence my coming upon the drowned Alexander). I also searched census records after 1861 for a baker Alexander who may have left his family and been living elsewhere, even searching ship's passenger lists for those transported to Australia and New Zealand. I have considered so many scenarios such as his not having actually married Charlotte (Branette, Barnet, Burnet etc.) whom I have traced (as well as her family)  to present day. Nor can I find a registered birth for Charlotte who claimed to have been born in Edinburgh.

I spent several years looking at births and marriages for Alexander Murdoch (baker) in Scotland and researched those who might have fitted at a pinch, all to no avail. The strongest connection seems to be at Colvend and, whilst I know I must assume nothing, I know there must be a clue somewhere. This is why I considered the possibility that Samuel Lowden may have 'adopted' his brother's children when he died in 1830, leaving a widow with two young children, Charles Donaldson Murdoch and Alexander (the baker), though as you say Alexander, was with his mother in both the 1841 and '51  census. I considered the possibility that Charles may have gone to sea thus explaining his absence and that this Charles could have been the one who went missing at sea (1829-1860). His memorial stone is in Dalbeattie where 'my' possible Alexander was, or had been living with his mother. I had already witnessed the registration of births of Alexander and Anne's sons in parish registers, so with this in mind, I returned to Dumfries to search for the births of Charles Donaldson Murdoch and Alexander Murdoch as sons of Samuel and Jean in the parish register. The names were not there. I also checked for the possible death of Charles Donaldson Murdoch between his birth and 1841, to no avail. I also thought of the coincidence of Charles Donaldson having married in the same parish in London as 'my' baker Alexander was living with his son. I sent for a copy of the marriage certificate in the hope that I would find that Alexander may have been a witness but no such luck!

I did not know the name of  the wife of Samuel's Alexander who drowned at Hull to be Isabella Dempster so that is another addition to my records. Thank you very much. Unfortunately it only adds to my speculation that the two Alexanders and Charles Donaldsons are one and the same which would explain many absences from records and another reason for Isabella to take her family to Guernsey if he had been living with another woman in London. However this is all purely vague possibilities which I can not disprove but you may have evidence which can rule it out.

Finally John, I do hope we can solve the mystery. You haven't by any chance gone along the route of DNA testing? I haven't myself as I couldn't see any value. However, I now see how it could be of help in proving (or otherwise) in my case, my husband's link to the Colvend Murdochs. It is some time since I looked at all my records but my son has recently encouraged me to look again 'before it is too late'. I am not getting any younger!

Kind regards
Margaret Murdoch