My genealogy research diary. What changed, where, sometimes even why.
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Saturday, 19 September 2009

19th: Time for another update - or two

My WorldConnect database LornaHenderson has been updated to include recent activity.

Mainly this has been on Quebec FAIRBAIRNs and the HUDSONs, thanks mainly to Adeline who contacted me questioning the reported HUDSON/FAIRBAIRN links which most sources show as two sets of siblings marrying siblings.
I think we both ended up satisfied that the family records looked correct, and that her HUDSONs were a different set, despite family stories from descendants of the FAIRBAIRN/HUDSON lot.
As a result of the activity, several Quebec FAIRBAIRN marriages were also checked off, and assorted related census data checked, including a couple of quite modern ones which show a FAIRBAIRN/TAYLOR marriage where the TAYLOR side of the equation has a link to Thurso which rather piqued my interest, given my TAYLOR connections from Caithness (not yet investigated, but if anyone knows anything more about a William TAYLOR from Thurso who may have emigrated to Quebec and can elucidate, do get in touch).

Another rash of activity was prompted by Alan of Christchurch contacting me about Daniel Hodge SKEWES, brother of his ancestor.
This made me realise that I'd never finished processing the Bere Ferrers headstone photos I'd taken back in 2006, so several of the METTERS family this Daniel married into have also been updated (ongoing). He also answered my un-investigated question on how come Daniel's son Samuel was a Samuel Dawe SKEWES, although as yet, neither of us know anything about the DAWE connection beyond Alan advising me that Samuel's mother was an Anne DAWE who died aged 32.
One of the connected family that I'm not having much joy in finding is John COURTIS son of John and Mary (TOLL) COURTIS, (who both died young their headstone in Bere Ferrers shows them both dying on 28th February, one in 1863 the other in 1866). Eldest known son is John Humphrey or Humphries COURTIS, who disappears after the 1861 census, but may be the John H COURTIS in Lewisham, London with a wife Nellie, "living on means" and born Tavistock.
Certainly some of his siblings are enumerated as born Tavistock once they've moved away from Devon (sister Mary Ann CHEAL nee COURTIS)

And after many years of using but avoiding trusting my data to them beyond the above RootsWeb World Connect databases, I've given in, despite their terms and conditions of what they can do with your data.
(I got the pip with their OneWorldTree which merged in ridiculous data and made it look like mine, at least now it looks like any merging will be only at my request!).
So, I've uploaded a very basic tree of my direct ancestors and their siblings, and as I research assorted relations, am adding to it with the attached census and BMD data, or whatever I find on ancestry.
As a result the tree is very much a subset of my total data (as are all my online trees, some more than others), but newly added information will be attached to source images.
It may not always be clear how the research connects to the ancestors as I may not have got round to linking them up with the connecting people however!

OneGreatFamily continues to be updated with more completely and more regularly and contains slightly more people than the WorldConnect db, with all their BMD data but no attached sources as I still love their merging of families into one huge tree, although some of the outer edges can be a bit suspect most of the merges I've checked off do look quite kosher, and have provided several good leads.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

8th: Wouldn't you know it...

As soon as I decide there's a lull on updates to the visible, published, data, along comes a bunch more, just after I've updated the online databases!

Thanks Bobby, the GRAY updates will appear in due course.

Bobby saw my posting (page down to my one) on the forum asking for GRAY descendants who might be interested in proving a theory about two GRAY families in Watten, Caithness, by joining the GRAY DNA project.

He then acted on a hunch about a BRUCE in his tree, and sure enough, found an additional daughter for the family of William GRAY and Margaret SUTHERLAND.
There's a Margaret who married a William MURRAY and lived at Olgrinmore, Halkirk (1851).

Behind the scenes however, Harry and I have been having fun sorting out his STEPHENSON family of Edinburgh, formerly Kelso, Ancrum, Gifford, and as he's just found out, Cumberland, thanks to Sonia in Mississippi. I'm just tagging along for the ride as there's a WIGHT connection in there that one day we may prove is related to the other STEPHENSON/WIGHT connection that makes us distant cousins.

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Friday, 17 April 2009

17th: Addenda - BAINs for a change

Met up with one of my NZ BAIN "cousins" today for the first time. Apart from it being good to actually meet, it was also rather interesting to find out how we were connected to his wife via a different branch of Caithness BAINs.
A couple of years ago they had met one of her relations at Spittal. Donald had mentioned blacksmiths and McBEATH connections, so I assumed it would be the South Calder BAINs, and so it turned out. John BAIN (1799-1882) who married Helen McBEATH, whose family connect several times over to my/our BAINs in the GRAY and TAYLOR families. Further details on those that connect to my forest can be found on my WorldConnect db LornaHenderson.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

1st: New dna project

The passing of Sinton WIGHT, mentioned on the 26th, made me realise that if I want to find dna representatives of most of my main families to find more links by using the science now available, I'd better make sure I find participants. But for WIGHTs, firstly a project was needed as none currently existed.
A WIGHT Surname DNA project now exists, and even has its first participant, not one of mine, but a transfer from the National Geographic Genographic Project, with very early Massachusetts WIGHTs from England (and an unusual haplotype).

Check the FAIRBAIRN DNA Project diary for some exciting updates. In a few weeks time we may finally find out whether or not Ed's and my theory about the John in New York whose father was a Walter FAIRBAIRN of Roxburghshire, is or isn't, a son of Walter and Agnes (ROBISON) FAIRBAIRN.
Depending on the degree of (mis)match, we may yet need another participant from the NY line, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, as it has taken so long to find a willing taker. Fingers crossed.

And yet more Caithness BAINs. Stuart has contacted me, presumably having seen the blog entries about the Manitoba BAINs the other day. His relations, although he's in England.
Must be something in the spring air over the other side of the world at the moment, waking everyone up.

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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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Saturday, 14 February 2009

13th: Caithness gets some overdue attention

The flurry of activity on the Caithness GRAY family as a result of Bobby finding and sharing his updated info on Ann SINCLAIR nee GRAY shows that several notes to myself several years ago to investigate whether or not Catherine GRAY's sisters married x and y have been proved to be valid hunches.
We've done a lot of digging and swapping our finds over the last couple of days.
Another sister also survived well into civil registration times, living to age 93, Barbara GRAY, married James McGREGOR, lived at Baderyrie, Latheron.
That leaves the fates of sisters Elizabeth and Isobel GRAY to be determined.
For some time I'd wondered if Isobel was the one who married John SUTHERLAND, but that isn't the case. However, investigation of this did lead me to correct what I had on that family on my WorldConnect database LornaPotential, which will show these updates shortly (her parents weren't Alexander GRAY and Margaret SUTHERLAND, but David GRAY and Christian BAIN);
Newly connected surnames for my GRAY family now include: GUNN, more SINCLAIRs, MUNRO, BAIKIE, McLAREN; Places are: Thurso; Mid Clyth; Stemster; Lybster; Duffus (Moray); Charlestown (Little Dunkeld, Perthshire);
Mysteries: What happened to Mary SINCLAIR and Alexander GUNN, married 1860 Lybster, appear in 1861 census at Mid Clyth, then vanish.

Also did some work on the Tongside GRAY families, whom I'm sure do connect in somehow, if only I knew how/where: Alexander & Margaret (SUTHERLAND) GRAY, who lived next to my William & Isabella (MANSON) GRAY, as did their respective descendants over the years.

Both Rootsweb WorldConnect databases are in the process of being updated, so use these links to access them until the indexing catches up over the next 2-3 days: LornaHenderson, LornaPotential.

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Friday, 22 August 2008

Aug 21, 2008: All those buses coming along at once

Updates from contacts on several fronts in the last few days. Just like buses, nothing for ages on a branch, then along come several contacts all at once.
David & I have been talking FINLAYSON dna (a FINLAYSON Surname DNA project has now been set up if anyone is interested).
Then along comes Jocelyn asking about my William TAYLOR/Isabella FINLAYSON. We were last in contact in 1999. This time I got more serious, and although I still haven't quite convinced myself that her Henderson TAYLOR is the son of William and Isabella, it does look quite likely.
However, in the process, I reviewed what else I had on William, and finally convinced myself that yes, he was the son of William TAYLOR and Janet SMITH of Wester Watten, AND that Jean (who married David McBEATH), was indeed his sister. TAYLOR chart updated.

Then today there were two separate contacts with regard to Devon CREBER connections.
Katherine pointed out that Mary TOOP, dtr of Robert John Newcombe TOOP and Mary Ann SPRY, had married Philip BLOWEY, son of Frederick BLOWEY and his cousin Laura Marina BLOWEY. Two of Philip's brothers married two of my SPRY relations, and Robert TOOP's uncle married one of my DAWE relations.
In the process of checking around this info I also found that Mary's step sister Margaret King TOOP had married a John C W ROWE (1919, registered Tavistock). Wonder if he'll turn out to be another rellie?
Whatever of the many charts all this was on have been updated too.

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Sunday, 10 August 2008

Aug 9, 2008: Back to Caithness

Amazing what an unexpected find does to spur on further research to fill gaps. Several more twigs on the James BAIN/Helen ANDREW portion of the BAIN tree. Most of the charts updated with work to date, more to come - the daughters turn out to have married: SUTHERLAND, FALCONER, MOWAT, GUNN

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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Jul 14, 2008: Back to Wick

Updated David FAIRBAIRN's page, and the FAIRBAIRN chart to reflect the removal of Martha from the immediate family (see 13th).

The Border line that produced a Congregational Minister who was in Wick in 1891 (father living in Ormiskirk, Lancashire) has another Caithness connection. David Russell SCOTT's dtr married in Edinburgh to Lancelot CORMACK (educational publisher) whose father was born Wick.

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Sunday, 13 April 2008

Apr 12, 2008: GRAHAMs and TAYLORs

Finally beginning to catch breath. How come when you go away on a holiday, no matter how briefly, you have to work twice as hard beforehand and 3 times as hard afterwards to make up for the absence?

Mostly been working on checking off the family of David GRAHAM and Jane GRAHAM, David looking highly likely to be the one shown in the 1851 census as grandson of Stephen GRAHAM in English St, Longtown.

Have also been contacted by a grandson of one of my Caithness TAYLOR twigs, Agnes Taylor LYONS. Updates to follow.

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Sunday, 14 October 2007

Oct 12 & 13th, 2007: Caithness connections

Mostly BAIN, and TAYLOR updates. Another two for the price of one job. With family info that a sister of George Manson Henderson BAIN was a unmarried postmistress of Thurso, I decided to eliminate the sisters by checking for marriages where I didn't already have one. Found Jane/Jean Henderson BAIN had married James GUNN (1919 Halkirk), then looked at the cert. above it, only to find it was another BAIN, one Daniel William BAIN. Who didn't initially ring bells but turned out to be from a different BAIN family (the Harpsdale BAINs, George the stonemason who married into my TAYLOR family). I'd not traced this family much beyond 1881 until now. I've now found that one son, stone mason David, moved from Halkirk to Edinburgh, and dtr Violet helped keep the family surnames at a minimum by marrying a James MANSON (1909 Halkirk), not that he immediately looks connected to my Watten MANSONs.

Back to the Manitoba BAINs: still can't find Donald, James and George's emigration to Canada, followed by Alexander, but I now know Alexander can't have gone till after his 1923 marriage to Jane ROSIE, and that Donald said 1909 in the 1911 census. If I've found the right James in 1911 he thinks he came to Canada in 1911, which conflicts with family info that they came together, but with a fairly illegible birth month and year on the census I've really only got a near enough age and an occupation including CPR to go on.

James attestation papers show he married a Ruth Anna sometime before 1915, but the marriage doesn't appear in the Manitoba records that I've found.

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