My genealogy research diary. What changed, where, sometimes even why.
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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

31st: McADIE Yes? No? BAINs yes.

Contacted by Katherine about her William McADIE, wondering if he might be the William son of George and Elizabeth (ROSIE) McADIE in my database.
Jury still out. I don't have anything certain about this William beyond 1841, although he may be the mystery, unidentified William in Victoria, Australia witnessing assorted events in his brother Robert's family.
I suggested that possibly her William was the son of the George, son of William McADIE and Susanna MULLICAN, but a descendant of that family pointed out that his William had died in Forres in 1865. Back to the drawing board, so just maybe a farmer's son did become an outdoors HM Customs Officer in England after all.

A lot of people obviously think it's time I was dragged away from Borders DNA projects and did some more Caithness research, or even some closer to home.

Next one out of the woodwork was an email from a much closer BAIN cousin who was wondering if I was the person he was looking for - had been in contact with his sister some years ago, had something to do with the Kapiti Genealogy Society. Yes on both counts. Back when I last tried to find him, no wonder I couldn't find him where I expected to in the Sth Island, he was living much much closer, just over the hill, in the same town, probably no more than 10 mins away from where I used to live!
Time to drag out Nana's old photo album and see what I can find in it for him for when we meet up in a week or two.

How I found his sister, and why, is one of my favourite "it's a small world" stories.
Several years ago a BAIN researcher I was in contact with in Australia decided that a quest he'd been given was in the too hard basket.
"Find my WW11 BAIN penpal in NZ". I think I was given a forename, but that was it.
I had one in my database of an age to be around at the time concerned, a 2nd? cousin of mine I'd never contacted, but knew where she was. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I decided to ring her and at the very least get a bit of the BAIN tree updated. However, it turned out that yes, she was the penpal concerned, and had vivid memories of sending off food parcels to London. End result, penpals back in contact and my tree a tad more accurate in the family of John BAIN & Margaret McMILLAN.
Donald advises that he and his wife were in Caithness a couple of years ago, and that his wife also has BAIN connections from near Halkirk. Curiousity aroused, but will have to wait until we meet. Apparently a different lot, with McBEATH connections at Spittal.

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30th: McDONALD sorted

Bobby asked if I thought the niece, Margaret McDONALD, shown living with William TAYLOR and Janet GRAY in 1841 and 1851 at Sibster, Halkirk might be the dtr of William McDONALD and Margaret GUNN.
That was indeed where I had also thought she might belong, but had never investigated further to see if there was any link to our Isabella McDONALD, first wife of said William TAYLOR.
So much more information is now more readily available, so I set off to solve the mystery.
We were both wrong, as were the census records. Niece indeed! She was William's grandchild, illegitimate dtr of Christina (housemaid) with a George McDONALD, (merchant). No wonder I'd not found her in subsequent census returns before this, she died aged 29 in 1859. Another mystery solved, and a bit of the database straightened out. That particular family have real trouble naming their relationships correctly!

Found a Sth African site that had some useful information on it ( Didn't find anything on my FAIRBAIRNs, but did find a bit more out about the family of the newspaper FAIRBAIRN there. Some of the family are on OneGreatFamily
and show John as being born Ledgerwood, BEW 1794, which raised my interest a tad. Any male FAIRBAIRN descendants out there interested in joining the FAIRBAIRN dna project?

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Sunday, 29 March 2009

29th: Manitoba MANSONs

As a result of yesterday's findings, I've updated the BAIN descendant chart to show where these MANSONs fit.
WorldConnect db LornaHenderson updates yet to come.
Had to laugh at the effect of a Scottish accent on a Canadian census enumerator.
James and Catherine Isabella (BAIN) MANSON's son George Gordon was enumerated as Church G MANSON.
Looks like one daughter (Jane Elizabeth) died tragically young (10), and that the eldest daughter Ellen Alice, married an Edward BOYES.
The above George may or may not have married an Eva ROBINSON, who also died young (22), but I don't have enough evidence for that leap as yet.

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28th: Catherine found, family rumour solved

Some years ago I unravelled some discrepancies about a couple of Catherine BAINs, one the dtr of James BAIN and Helen SUTHERLAND, the other the dtr of Donald BAIN and Maggie TAYLOR.
The latter died 1904, the former couldn't be found in Scotland.
I think I've found her.

While checking off some of the British Guianian FAIRBAIRNs who had emigrated to Manitoba, I strayed off into checking off what else I hadn't already checked against the Manitoba BDMs, and against the 1916 Canadian Census, available again now. (Interesting indexing on the FAIRBAIRNs, they were indexed as FAUBARIN, with a birthplace that clearly read British Guiana, but was indexed as British Columbia, took me a while to find them!).

In checking off the Manitoba BDMs, I re-discovered the family of James and Catherine Isabella MANSON in Brandon, whose 1891 marriage was indexed with Katherine as BARIE.
However, today's checking of a son's birth clearly showed her as Catherine Isabella BAIN, and a census showed her as born Jul 1866.
This just happens to match the data for Catherine, dtr of James and Helen (SUTHERLAND) BAIN. Her husband James MANSON's sister Elizabeth married Donald BAIN, Catherine's brother, and descendants of Donald and Elizabeth (MANSON) BAIN had family letters that indicated a connection between the families, but didn't know what it was.
QED, a successful conclusion to the day.

Decided to branch out in my DNA studies, and add in another of my main research lines. I've applied to set up a WIGHT project. The pages are rather preliminary, as FamilyTree DNA haven't yet approved it as a project, but none currently exists, and it doesn't seem to be claimed by WHITE or WIGHTMAN as an alternate name.

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Friday, 27 March 2009

26th: Peter Sinton WIGHT

Sad to hear of Peter Sinton WIGHT's death today. One of the few of my Scottish WIGHT relations that I've actually met.
Back in 1995 I bowled into Denholm, stopped a passing stranger and asked if anyone by the name of WIGHT still lived in the village, explaining that Peter Sinton WIGHT, the brother of my great grandmother, Helen Sinton WIGHT, had lived there, but that was back in 1929.
The helpful lady told me that there was indeed a Sinton still in the village, and his brother, "and that's Sinton's daughter there, off to play golf".
Had to be related!
I went to the house indicated only to find that he was away visiting his son, but another friendly face popped out of the house across the way asking what I was after.
Turned out that he was the golf widower, the son-in-law. Who took me around the corner to introduce me to some other relations.
Not that I figured out at the time how they fitted in. Took many years before I did that, and even then it was only by chance that the daughter of this last household and I found out some time into some correspondence we were having about assorted Borders families, that she was the person I'd been looking for, having met her fleetingly back in 1995.
In 2006 we all met, on a swelteringly hot summers day.
Way back when I started all this genealogical digging, I really never thought that I would end up actually meeting living relations in Scotland. Seemed way too long a stretch given that Helen Sinton WIGHT (daughter of Walter WIGHT and Helen SINTON) had emigrated to New Zealand, on her own, back in 1875!!
R.I.P. Sinton it was good to have met you, however fleetingly.

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Thursday, 26 March 2009

25th: My cup runneth over ...

...with yet more WINE(S).
Thanks to Mike, a descendant of the IRELAND branch of the WINES forest, I've been reviewing where I'd got too on some of the Sth Petherton WINES and related families.
Having tidied up and expanded his particular branch, that of William IRELAND, son of George IRELAND and Anna NAPPER, he added that one of William's siblings had married a Bert HILLARD.
I noticed in passing that one of the earlier generations of WINES had also married a HILLARD and idly searched for Bert's parents to see if there was a connection.
Haven't yet figured that one out as I found Bert's mother was a Susan WINES.
Which trail led me to Windsor Castle, and a census entry I'd extracted some years ago.
When looking for a different Mary WINES, I'd found a Mary WINES of Sth Petherton enumerated as a confectionery maid in Windsor Castle in 1881, on page 5 of the schedule.
Page one began The Queen, Head, widow 61, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and continued with HRH Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice, occupations listed as prince and princess, then a visitor, 43 year old widow, Eugenie, occupation given as "ex Empress of the French", etc etc etc.
I now believe that this Mary, confectionery maid is the above Susan's sister, and that they are both children of Thomas and Ann (STUCKEY or STACEY) WINES, Thomas being my 3rd cousin 3 times removed (well he was born in 1821 and I wasn't), and the son of Joseph and Jane (HUNT) WINES
Always interesting to find the unexpected places one ends up following leads and hunches in this business.
Next WorldConnect db update will show a few more branches, and several updated dates/places for the above lot.

Another of the FAIRBAIRN DNA kits has made it back to the lab.

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Sunday, 22 March 2009

21st: RICHARDSON updates

Casting around as a result of the DNA match on the RICHARDSONs, led me to review what I had on some John RICHARDSONs. Made me realise that I should get around to checking a note I'd made to myself about 9 years ago to check whether or not the tailor in Edinburgh, born Morebattle, was the son of John and Elizabeth (SHIEL) RICHARDSON or not. He was, despite an erroneous transcription of his age in the 1891 census which threw me off the scent for a while. Along the way I also combined two Alexander Blair RICHARDSONs sitting awaiting some attention. Couldn't find what happened to all of John and Ann (BLAIR) RICHARDSON's children, but most have been accounted for somewhere.
Son Adam may or may not be the one with wife Mary showing up in census returns down in Chester as a musician.
So, because of this, and whatever other updates I've made over the last month, I've reloaded my WorldConnect db LornaHenderson and put the updates out onto OneGreatFamily

Also added a few more people and places of interest on AncestralAtlas too.

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Friday, 20 March 2009

20th: Gilding the LILLY

A descendant of Walter and Mary (FAIRBAIRN) LILLY has found me, and has provided some family obits which have allowed me to update some of the HAMLIN descendants in particular. Thank you Steve, good to "meet" you, they updates will show up in my WorldConnect db LornaHenderson next update.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

17th: At least John was a DAVIDSON

Another set of DNA results just in, the representative for my DAVIDSON line of John DAVIDSON of Chirnside, whom I've suspected of being illegitimate given that his 1900 death cert merely gives a mother's name (Ann COLLINS), and no father at all.
At least it does look like he was a DAVIDSON as there a couple of low level matches. Nothing to get excited about unless the matches' upgrade to 67 markers shows a great match, or a paper trail can be worked out to link an 1841 Earsdon, Northumberland DAVISON with presumed Scottish forbears, to my brick wall, John, born abt 1817 Chirnside, Berwickshire.
The DAVIDSON DNA project chap pointed out that our non-Davidson surname matches had a lot of Chisholm's, adding that this would suggest a ancient connection before the advent of surnames. The Chisholm's according to legend saved the life of one of the Scottish kings in the 14th century and were granted land in Inverness-shire. This area in Scotland was also the home of the Davidson Clan or Clan Dhai or MacDaibheid.

John has been my brickwall for many years, and some years ago I decided to see if the story that Nana told her little boy (my Dad Les), that the people living on Conroy's Gully on the back road into Alexandra, with the huge old walnut tree, were our DAVIDSON cousins.
The first part of the story was indeed true, yes a family by the name of DAVIDSON used to live there. Memory has played false with me however, in that I remember that my research led me back to an Aberdeen family, but no, it looks like they were of Muthill, Perthshire instead, with absolutely no obvious connection to John, so Nana was telling porkies.

Looking at the family again today reminded me that the research turned up another connection to the Bounty in that both this DAVIDSON family, and my Great Aunt's husband, Doug FLETCHER, were descendants of the THOMSON family, early settlers in Port Chalmers, Otago, NZ. This THOMSON family leading back to the HEYWOOD family of H.M.S. Bounty fame.

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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

16th: New York RICHARDSONs?

Ralph's dna results arrived at last, and show a 34/37 match with a descendant of and Adam RICHARDSON, born 1835 New York of Scottish parents (ie rather distant, but definitely worth investigating).
Hardly a conclusive match, and certainly no immediate candidates spring to mind, but given Adam had a middle name of BROWN, just possibly he's a descendant of this family in my LornaPotential database: Adam and Margaret (BROWN) RICHARDSON, married 1788 Hawick, ROX.
I had researched them for possible connections to "our" RICHARDSONs because both families were from the Borders, and had ended up in Edinburgh, one in Lauriston Gardens, the other in Lauriston Terrace (I've not found out how close these streets are).
If there are any male RICHARDSON descendants of Adam and Margaret out there willing to test this theory out further, we'd love to hear from you.

Also decided to help out by joining the indexing project at FamilySearch.
Least I can do for all the help they've given the genealogical community over the years with their filming of original records.
I'd been holding off in that I thought I might not be able to commit enough time to make it worthwhile, but a "batch" is a very manageable size, easily done in a few minutes (or at least it was for the two initial batches of Cheshire records I've contributed so far).

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Saturday, 14 March 2009

13th: DNA Match, Hoquiam triangle

Updated John A FAIRBAIRN's page to reflect the latest findings from the DNA project - check the project diary - which is showing a good match between John's descendant and that of his uncle William. So it looks like my theory that John, despite all the varying ages and birth places, and two misleading certificates (marriage and death), that he really is the son of David and Jane (WILLIAMSON) FAIRBAIRN.
So, that's the relationship between the Hoquiam triangle proven, even if we don't know how the Sunderland side fits in.
Also updated the Neverending story, including changing the 11 years to 13, given it's been there a couple of years now.

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Sunday, 8 March 2009

7th: Ednam to Earlston

Realised I'd not finished working thru the Earlston MIs for FAIRBAIRNs.
Haven't found anything unexpected as yet, other than several of the Ednam blacksmith line's daughters seem to have lived in Earlston.

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Saturday, 7 March 2009

6th: Win one, lose one

Further to the posting on the 24th Feb: I was looking for likely (male) descendants of Robert and Agnes (BLACK) FAIRBAIRN, Robert possibly being a descendant of Robert and Agnes (LANDRETH) FAIRBAIRN. One line came to a premature end in WW1, that of the David son of David & Margaret (WHILLANS) FAIRBAIRN, as he died unmarried (but with a dtr Alison BELL aged 11 showing as a dependent on his military record).
But in the process I unexpectedly found a marriage back in Jedburgh of one of the Stody, Norfolk line of David (Snr)'s brother Robert. 1903 Jedburgh, David FAIRBAIRN married Eleanor FAIR.
Wonder why he went back to Jedburgh from Norfolk when I thought most of the family had moved south?
The dna project would like to hear from a descendant of David and Margaret (WHILLANS) FAIRBIARN to match against the recruit from his brother Robert's line (marr. Isabella WEAVER).

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Monday, 2 March 2009

1st: Puddling along

Displacement activity time again. Meeting minutes are nowhere near as exciting as finding connections in genealogy.
This weekend's find was the St Mary's Museum in Ontario with a gallery of photos that included some of my FAIRBAIRN relations and their connections. Most were donated by a David WHITE, whom I did not have in my database.
I realised that I hadn't yet traced the children of Archibald James FAIRBAIRN and Mary McLEOD beyond the 1881 census.,
The marriage of their daughter Jannet FAIRBAIRN to James Brine WHITE, was quickly found, as were the births of several children, including a David Cathcart WHITE, and an Archibald Fairbairn WHITE.
General web searches also found references to a David C WHITE as Mayor of St Mary's in 1944.
An email to the Manager of the St Marys Museum and Archive was responded too very quickly, confirming my suspicion that the two David WHITEs were one and the same person, and added as an aside, that the Brine in David's father's name was from his connection to a Tolpuddle martyr.
I really wasn't going to get sidetracked, as I thought these martyrs were further back in history, but no, James BRINE only died in 1902, and David was his grandson.
The Museum is currently housed in a building built by George TRACY, father of the Jane TRACY who married the above Archibald James FAIRBAIRN's father.

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