Author Topic: Surname confusion  (Read 759 times)

Offline Gordon163

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Surname confusion
« on: Wednesday 18 December 19 17:18 GMT (UK) »
Hi,

My 3rd-gt-grandmother was Margaret Shearer, who married William Christie, in Dundee, in 1820. Her surname was given as Shearer and her father George came from Wick, Caithness. She liked to use her surname for the middle name of her children. So, for example, we have Elizabeth Shearer Christie and William Sherar Christie. (Note the different spelling.)

The majority of records say that Margaret was born in 1796 and her father, George, appears to have been born either in Bower (1766/7) or in Dunnet (1768/9). Some family trees think that there was only one George, who married twice, but the two women in question, Isobel Smith and Janet Bruce, were having children simultaneously in the 1770s. So there are definitely two Georges.

The different spellings of the surname seems to arise from the husbands of Isobel and Jannet. Isobel Smith was married to George Shearer of Dunnet and Jannet Bruce was married to George Sherar from the small hamlet of Lyth, near Bower (IGI says that he was born about 1742 according to a family Bible).

Margaret Shearer's baptism of 10th Nov 1796, in Bower, gives her parents as George Shearer and Isabell Donaldson.

Any help in sorting out the Georges and Shearer/Sherar would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

Gordon

Offline Forfarian

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 18 December 19 18:52 GMT (UK) »
Two general guidelines.

One, never, ever trust anything you find online (especially online family trees) unless it's an image of an original document - and even then, be wary, because mistakes can and do happen. You've noticed yourself that some people have got two George Shearers mixed up.

Two, don't try to read anything into spelling variations. Spelling wasn't standardised and it often depended on the individual clerk's idea of how a name should be spelled. The George Sherar married to Jan(n)et Bruce is spelled Sharer in some of his children's baptisms and Shearer in others.

The source of almost all original records is www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

I see that William Christie and Margaret Sh*r*r had six children
Jean Howie, baptised 16 September 1821
Margaret, baptised 29 December 1822
Elizabeth Shearer, baptised 12 August 1824
Janet Taylor, baptised 29 June 1827
William Sherar, baptised 15 December 1829
George, baptised 4 January 1835

In 1841 the family were in the parish of Liff and Benvie
William Christie, 45; Margaret Christie, 45; Jean Christie, 15; Margaret Christie, 12; Elisibeth Christie, 10: William Christie, 8; George Christie, 5; all except Margaret senior born in Angus. Note that ages of people over 15 were supposed to be rounded down to the nearest 5 years, so both William and Margaret could have been anything from 45 to 49, and if these ages were accurate, they could have been born any time from 8 June 1791 to 7 June 1796 (because the census was taken on 7 June 1841). Jean would have been 19, so is correctly recorded as 15. Also that the child Margaret is too young to be the one baptised in 1822, who would have been 18; either the first one died and a younger sister, missing from the records, was given the same name, or there is an error in the census.

The 1851 census, again in Liff, lists William Christie, 56; wife Margaret Christie, 62; daughter Mary Christie, 26; and a lodger. Margaret's birthplace is given as Wick, Caithness. If her age is accurate , she would have been born between 31 March 1788 and 30 March 1789, because the census was taken on 30 March 1851. As these dates do not overlap with the dates deduced from her age in 1841, clearly at least one census is wrong. Also where did Mary come from? She's not in the 1841 census, there's no record of her baptism, and she is four years too old unless she is a misrecording of the 12-year-old Margaret in 1841, who would by now be 22.

So you have Margaret Shearer, who could have been born any time from 1788 to 1796 in Wick.

Noting that Margaret seems to have named her second son George, and that she apparently named two daughters Margaret, and that in spite of having at least four and possibly five or even six daughters she did not name any of them Isobel, I speculate that she is more likely to have been the daughter of George Shearer and Margaret Miller, baptised 27 February 1790 in Wick.

What other information do you have about her that makes you think she was the one born in Bower to a mother named Isabell rather than in Wick? Or to either Janet Bruce or Isobel Smith, neither of whom seems to have had a recorded daughter named Margaret, or any children baptised in Wick?

Have you found her in the 1861 census?
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 ColC

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 18 December 19 18:57 GMT (UK) »
I would ignore the spelling variation it was and still is a problem to some.
I note the baptism you mention but no marriage for this couple on SP as far as I can see.

SHEARER   MARGARET   GEORGE SHEARER/ISABELL DONALDSON    10/11/1796   Bower

There were two other couples with a daughter Margaret, their marriages below, both also had a son William but only Margaret Miller had an Elizabeth. However Helen Geddes (There you go another variation) had a  daughter Elspet.

SHEARER   GEORGE   HELLEN GEDDAS   09/02/1775   Canisbay

SHERAR   MARGARET   GEORGE SHERAR/HELEN GEDDES   28/03/1782   Canisbay


SHEARER   GEORGE   MARGARET MILLER   04/06/1777   Wick

SHEARER   MARGARET   GEORGE SHEARER/MARGARET MILLER   27/02/1790   Wick


If Margaret had more children it might help to decide?

Colin
Clarke, Trickett, Orton, Lawless, Norton, Detheridge, Kirby, Goodfellow, Wagstaff, Lowe, etc.


Offline ColC

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 18 December 19 19:05 GMT (UK) »

MARGARET SHEARER to WILLIAM CHRISTIE
23/11/1820 Dundee

Colin
Clarke, Trickett, Orton, Lawless, Norton, Detheridge, Kirby, Goodfellow, Wagstaff, Lowe, etc.

Offline Forfarian

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 18 December 19 20:34 GMT (UK) »
MARGARET SHEARER to WILLIAM CHRISTIE
23/11/1820 Dundee
Ah yes, got it now.

I searched twice earlier for Christie, spouse sh*r*r, and it failed to find it. I have just re-run the search for Christie, spouse Sh*r*r three times, and it persists in failing to find it, but searching for Sh*r*r*, spouse Christie does find it. Bizarre.
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 Gordon163

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 18 December 19 21:40 GMT (UK) »
Many thanks for this monumental reply, especially the information about spelling.

I do agree with you that Margaret as the daughter of George Shearer and Margaret Miller is most likely.

The lack of any daughters named Isabell always made me doubt the 1796 birth date.

Most helpful - thanks.

Gordon

Offline ColC

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 18 December 19 22:55 GMT (UK) »
"Ah yes, got it now". My dear Forfarian, you once told me ? better than name variations.

Well there you go but I did like the rest of your post, well done.

Best rega?ds Colin 
Clarke, Trickett, Orton, Lawless, Norton, Detheridge, Kirby, Goodfellow, Wagstaff, Lowe, etc.

Offline Forfarian

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 19 December 19 00:09 GMT (UK) »
"Ah yes, got it now". My dear Forfarian, you once told me ? better than name variations.
Usually wildcards work better, yes, because the more obscure name variations depend on someone having found them and persuaded SP to add them to the list of known variations. I have no idea why this search wouldn't work. Next time I am in the SP centre I'll try to replicate it and if it still misbehaves I'll demonstrate it to them.
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 themonkeymonkey

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Re: Surname confusion
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 19 December 19 17:30 GMT (UK) »
If it helps to eliminate any,  Margaret Shearer daughter of George Shearer and Helen Geddas was married to Donald Stark and died in 1868 Thurso.
Manson, Wilson, Copland, Craighead, Youngson, Ross, Thomson, Smith, Horn