Friday, 8 September 2017

John Morrison, showman

John Morrison was born on 12th April 1829 in Old Cumnock* and baptised on 26th November  1829 in Kilmarnock, the natural son of Elizabeth Grier and John Morrison.  Elizabeth went on to marry Donald or Daniel Stewart in 1833 in Kilmarnock.

John was living with the Stewarts in 1841 in Kilmarnock but by 1851 census he was an equestrian living in Paisley with his wife Mary McNab of Renton.

In December of 1852 he was charged with wife assault in Cullen, Banffshire and is a showman from Kilmarnock. She clearly forgave him as she paid his fine and they went on to have nine children together. (9 children according to his obituary. I've only found 8)

Published: 7th Dec 1852 
Newspaper: Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser
In November 1858 John and Mary were in court again but this time they were the victims of an assault by Sheriff Officers in Cummingston on the Moray coast near Burghead.

Their children were born all around the country; Kilmarnock,  Ayr, Aberdeen, Golspie, Lossiemouth, Echt, Charlestown. Many of these are seaside places.

In 1861 census he is a shoemaker living in 34 Shuttle Lane Aberdeen with Mary and 4 children.

In 1871 census he is a photographer living in a caravan on South Green Dunfermline with Mary and 7 children.

In September 1877 he is a showman and shooting gallery proprietor from Dundee in trouble for setting up with out permission. Found guilty.
Buchan Observer and East Aberdeenshire Advertiser - Friday 21 September 1877

Mary died in Dundee in 1878 and he married Sarah Stratton in 1880. This marriage was short lived. More later.

 In 1881 he is back in Kilmarnock with his mother now the widow of William Richmond and half brother William Stewart. He is a joiner.
West George Lane, Kilmarnock
Elizabeth Richmond 79
John Morrison 51 son journeyman joiner
William Stewart 16 son
Ann Goudie 61 visitor

Meanwhile 3 of his children Jessie, Hugh and Helen are living with their stepmother Sarah in Dundee.

In 1885 he was in court again in Perthshire.

Dundee Courier 
Friday 10 April 1885

He was sinned against in 1885 when his second wife committed bigamy. His address was Euclid Crescent Dundee.

Dundee Evening Telegraph
Tuesday 02 June 1885

Things seem to have gone downhill for him after that.

In 1891 he is in a lodging house in Dundee. At 20 Bruce St Lodging House
Occupation Pedlar age 67

It was reported in the Dundee Courier of Thursday 02 June 1892 that he was drunk and disorderly at the Model (lodging house) and he was fined 5 shillings or five days' (imprisonment)/

In 1895 he featured in a series of articles in the Caledonia magazine written by Donald J Jolly. I wasn't sure at first it was the same man as he claimed to be born on 7th April 1819 but his obituary ties in with some of his claims.

1901 at  97 Overgate St Lodging House (Patrick Rock's)
Occupation Pedlar age 75

He died of chronic bronchitis in October 1903 in Perth Poorhouse age 74, consistent with his birth record.

Reports of his death appear some weeks later and he is described as a centenarian born 1801 in New Cumnock.  He performed at the coronation of George IV in 1821 before he was born! I wondered if this refers to his father who was described as a labourer in 1829 and a tile maker on John's death certificate. Interesting reading though. He was known as "Shooting Johnny"; a clown called Caldebratis; the original Ord.
Aberdeen Press and Journal - Friday 25 December 1903

Cumnock Connections tree

* His place of birth is consistently Old Cumnock in the censuses and his mother was from there.

Updated 19 Feb 2018

Monday, 7 September 2015

Chynoweths from Cornwall to Ayrshire

Elizabeth Hunn Lander (born 1804 in Calstock) married Joseph Chynoweth,  a brewer or maltster in 1822 in Calstock.
They had several children but Joseph died in 1838 leaving six children, one of whom, Eliza 1838, was born after his death.
Elizabeth then married her brother-in-law William Chynoweth in 1840. They had another four children.

In the 1860s the children went their separate ways.

Elizabeth Hunn Chynoweth 1828 and her husband went to Australia about 1866.

Father William son Joseph and dau Eliza went to Illinois, USA around 1867-8.
They are in 1880 census in Braidwood I think mother Elizabeth Hunn Lander went too, as I can't find a death in England for her.

James 1823, Henry 1834 and Jane 1850 all turned up in the parish of Loudoun, in Ayrshire, Scotland.

John 1831 and wife went to Canada, I think shortly after the birth of their son Joseph in Loudoun in 1867.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Margaret Thorburn 1841-1910

Following on from yesterday's post:

Margaret Thorburn was the daughter of William Thorburn and Janet Stewart born about 1841 in Kilwinning.

She married James King on the last day of 1860 in Galston.

They had 5 children John, Charles William, Mary in 1869 and Margaret in 1872.
Wee Margaret died in 1873.

Maybe that was the catalyst for what was to follow.

Soon after this Margaret  took wee Mary and went to live with James Masterton.

Meanwhile James King took up with Marion Scott and they had a son James in Mar 1875 in Tarbolton.

James Masterton and Margaret Thorburn  had a son George in 1874  and then Jane in 1877 in Northumberland and by 1881 census were living in Wakefield Yorkshire with Mary, George Jane and James age 7 in Wakefield Yorkshire. They are all recorded as Masterton.

They had another child Janet in 1882 in Dalmellington (where her mother was living in 1881)   Her birth certificate confirms that Margaret left James King in 1873.

By 1891 census however James and his children are living in Muirkirk and Janet is living with her mother in Dalmellington.  In 1901 James Masterton and daughter Janet are still in Muirkirk.

In 1901 Maggie Thorburn is living in Carcluie Farm near Dalrymple. She is apparently the cousin of the farmer William White. Still to find out who he is. Thanks to fellow sleuth Rhonda Queen for finding this record.

I worked out the Masterton connection from a tree Emily Thorburn Wilson supplied, drawn up by John McSwan in 2003.

In it he has the daughter Mary King married to John Michael Duffy in 1890.

I found John and Mary in the 1891 census where they are living with her "father” James Masterson and some of the siblings.

From that I tracked them down in 1881 census in Wakefield and I got the 1882 birth of Janet in Dalmellngton to confirm it.

We know have Margaret accounted for in all the censuses. But her mother Janet is still unaccounted for in 1861 and 1871. Maybe tomorrow?

Margaret Thorburn on the tree

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

William Thorburn and Janet Stewart

William Thorburn was born in Stranraer in 1814. His parents were Robert Thorburn a sailor and Mary Millwrick. He had  brothers, John, Theobald and Robert the latter of which was born in Ayr in 1824. Sadly there is no further information on Theobald or John.

In 1833 in Ayr he married Mary Begbie (also recorded as Mary Jane Bigger (and various other combinations). This is not unusual at this time when ordinary people were illiterate and officials wrote down their name as they heard it. They had 3 children quick succession. Jane, Mary and James. The girls both succumbed within a few weeks of their births but James survived. Sadly wife Mary died of a fever in 1837. (more about Mary on previous post here  )

We pick William up again in 1841 census in Kilwinning when he is living with Janet age 15 (= in the range 15-19) and James age 5 and baby Margaret 3 months. This is second wife Janet Stewart whom he married in 1839 in Kilwinning). He is a coal cutter born in Scotland but not Ayrshire.  Two more children are born in Kilwinning in the 1840s - William and Daniel.

In 1851 census they have moved to Galston at Holmes colliery.  This gives William’s birthplace as Stranraer and Janet’s as Patna, born about 1824.
In 1861 William and son Daniel are at Loudoun Kirk near Galston living with his brother Robert and family. Wife Janet doesn’t appear in the 1861 census but I couldn’t find a death between 1855 (when statutory recording began) and 1861 so presumed she died between 1851 and 1854. This turns out not to be the case as we will see later.

His other sons James and William were both married and living in Galston. Daughter Margaret was married to James King and also living in Galston.

In 1870 William fell into the river Irvine near his home while inebriated and in the company of an unnamed woman. His body was found weeks later. This is reported in newspapers. His death certificate gives no relatives. The coroner was the informant.

His wife Janet Stewart (calling herself Janet Trainer) turned up in Dalmellington in the 1891 census in the company of daughter Margaret Thorburn (wife of James King). In the 1881 census she is at the same address alone. She died in Dalmellington in 1898 and the informant was her grandson Daniel Thorburn of Galston. I cannot find her in the 1861 or 1871 censuses under any of those names. She is "Trainer" on her death certificate. Margaret Thorburn or King also appears to have left her family. James King was living with another woman Marion Scott in 1881. Margaret is unaccounted for in 1881 and 1901*. She died in Kyle Union poorhouse in Ayr in 1910 of a stroke. Her usual address was Dalrymple.  Informant was her son William King of Skares.

So the questions still to be answered are:
Why was Janet calling herself Trainer? I have looked for a marriage in vain.
* Where was the daughter Margaret Thorburn King in 1881 and 1901. Update: she was living with James Masterton in 1881 in Wakefield. In 1901 she was living with a cousin at Carcluie Farm in Ayr.

Janet on the family tree here

Sunday, 7 June 2015

David Earl: from Patna to Van Diemen's Land

I came across this story while researching the Earl family. Still not sure where this man fits in.

In April 1823 David Earl appeared in court in Ayr and was convicted of knowingly passing 2 forged £1 notes. he was sentenced to death but this was commuted to transportation for life.

He was transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania, Australia) on the Phoenix leaving on 29 March 1824.

In 1825 a James McClymont writes to the Governor wishing to have a young man by the name of David Earl in his service and offers to pay his passage
NAME:David Earl
EVENT DATE:20 Jan 1825
EVENT DESCRIPTION:James McClymont wishes to have him assigned to him
COMMENTS:Prisoner at the Derwent

A second letter in 1825 mentions him though I am struggling to make out what is going on. James McClymont is a reputable settler in New South Wales.

James Mcclymont died about 1829. He was a cattle farmer in Durham, New South Wales. 

2 Feb 1830
TO be LET, for the term of sevenyears, possession to be given im-  mediately, the FARM of AHALTON,    consisting of 1000 acres of land, situateon Hunter's River, in the township ofDurham, adjoining Nelson's Plains,with from 130 to 150 Head of Cattle,belonging to the Estate of the late Mr.JAMES M'CLYMONT.    
In the 1832 convict muster of 1832 he is engaged in public works. Same in 1835


Meanwhile back in Scotland in 1836 a petition by his parish minister in Straiton, and officials in Ayr  was sent to the King asking for his pardon.

It appears to have fallen on deaf ears.  He was eventually granted a pardon in 1844.

He was given permission to marry Elizabeth Margaret Bisiker in 1838 (it is the same man as he came over on the Phoenix) and they married in St James's Chapel Jericho on the 12th November 1838
In 1842 census there is a David Earl living in a wooden house in Richmond with 3 other people, wife and 2 children. 

However in 1844 Elizabeth died in the January and a son James aged 21 months died in the July. They are buried in Bothwell Cemetery, Hobart.

There is a David Earl on the Electoral Roll in 1856 who may or may not be him.
David Earl

Perhaps he was an uncle of the David Earl in our tree born 1814 in Straiton.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Centenary of a Mine Disaster in New Zealand

On the 12th September 1914 an explosion ripped through the Ralph Mine in Huntly, New Zealand. 43 miners lost their lives and many were horribly injured. I t was the second worst mining disaster in New Zealand.

One of the men who died was James Holden. He married Elizabeth Bennie in New Zealand in 1886. They were both from the Irvine, Kilwinning area.  James's sister Janet Holden had previously married Elizabeth's brother Boyd Bennie.

Both couples had gone to Greta, New South Wales in Australia in the 1890s but returned to New Zealand. Boyd qualified as  a mine inspector in 1905.

This centenary has been marked in Huntly, New Zealand

Read more here

Family tree

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Francis Sievwright, army surgeon

Francis Sievwright, army surgeon ca 1798-1872

First of all, I have no reason to believe he is related to "my" Sievwrights, but since I have researched this family I thought I would share my research. Maybe someone else will find it useful.

Since there is an older Francis Sievwright and a Colin Sievwright, surgeon,  in my tree I thought it was possible that this man was related.

1798 born in Edinburgh - no parents on his death certificate
1824 25 March at Trinity College, Leith, Edinburgh marriage of Francis Sievwright Esq. 59th Regiment to Mary Henderson  dau of Wm Henderson Esq. ( and Barbara Rutherford from Mary's death cert)

Mary Henderson b 16 Jan 1799 Edinburgh
died 9 Aug 1867 Edinburgh

1  William Edward Paget Suvwright
christening:            04 Jun 1825            Cawnpore,​ Bengal,​ India
parents:            Francis Suvwright,​ Mary
burial:            02 Aug 1825            Cawnpore,​ Bengal,​ India
parents:            F. Seivewright
Death reported in the Edinburgh Magazine:

Death on 1 Aug 1825 at Cawnpore William Edward Paget infant son of Francis Sievwright Esq. Assistant Surgeon 59th Regiment of Foot
2  Francis Seivewright
birth:            27 Apr 1826            Cawnpore,​ Bengal,​ India
christening:            04 Jun 1826            India
death: abt Dec 1845
had a son Francis who died after the Battle of Ferozshah - 21st-22nd December 1845. Lieutenant Francis Sievwright - 9th Foot - died of wounds, 3rd January 1846. Aged 21. Son of Assistant-Surgeon Francis Sievwright (59th Foot)

3 Andrew Sievwright - no record other than his gravestone.

4  Charles Edward Whitefield Sievwright

--> as Lievwrightbirth 21 Apr 1830 Cawnpore, Bengal 
chr: 1 Aug 1830 
died 1867

5  Mary Rozalie Sievwright
--> Mary Royaline Sieveright -->
15 Apr 1835 Meerut, Bengal
chr: 7 Jun 1835
married John Birkmyre Wingate
--> on 11 Dec 1860 in Glasgowdied 1901

6 male child born 
--> 05 Apr 1841 in Edinburgh died same day father Francis Sievwright. Think this is Theodore

 Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh, photographed by
 stone 73982

William Sievwright


Francis Sievwright2018261846brother of William Sievwright
Andrew Sievwright3618261862brother of William Sievwright
Theodore Sievwright

1841brother of William Sievwright

 and stone 73980

Charles E W Sievwright3718301867

Mary Henderson6817991867

Francis Sievwright7717951872

Mary Rosalie Wingate6618351901

Career from various magazines published online

1818 assistant surgeon in India

1819 writes a report on smallpox in India (doc in Glasgow university archives)

1827 Francis Sievwright of 59th Regiment to 11 Dragoons

1844 31 years service

1851 census Scotland
5 Rutland Place, Edinburgh
no Francis but wife Mary age 50
and their 2 surviving children both born E Indies, British subjects
Mary R Sievwright 15
Charles 20 clerk in HM Exchequer

1861 census Scotland
Milton Shore Victoria Terrace, Dunoon and Kilmun, Argyll
Francis Sievwright age 63 born Edinburgh army medical officer
Mary Sievwright wife 56

Francis died in the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, Morningside, of exhaustion due to a large carbuncle. The informant was an attendant who unfortunately misstated his wife and did not know his parents.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Thorburn ancestors

I've got a bit further in tracing the ancestry of James Thorburn who married Margaret Ramage.

From a previous post you will see that some family trees have his parents William and Mary emigrating to the USA about 1869.

They were married in 1855 in Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland. This is very fortunate. 1855 was the first year of statutory registration in Scotland and the records that year give more info than in subsequent years.

James Thorburn signed with his mark showing that he couldn’t read or write.

He was a 20 year old coal miner living in Church Lane Galston. Additional information is his date and place of birth.  He states he was born and registered on 6 Sep 1835 in the parish of Ayr.  I take this with a slight pinch of salt since I can find no record of him.
His parents are recorded as William Thorburn and Mary Thorburn maiden name Mary Bingham. I was a bit surprised at this as elsewhere  his mother was Begbie  or Bigby (a name which continues down through the generations) and Biggar.  Given that James was illiterate, you have to imagine him saying the name and the official, who was recording the information, interpreting what he heard.

I have found 2 sisters Mary and Jane/Jean recorded in Ayr to William Thorburn and Mary Jane Biggar so have another "wildcard" search on scotlandspeople for births tho*b* with parents William and Mary and there is one on 6 Sep 1835 the same date  as on the marriage certificate, but for William Thorburn to  William Thorburn and Mary Jane Biggar. I got the cert just to see with my own eyes. It definitely says William not James. Did the clerk get muddled up (wouldn’t be the first time) or did they name him William after his father, but called him James? I wondered if he was a twin but I think they would both have been recorded in the one record.  Anyway, it is the right record as the date matches. And proves that his mother was Mary (Jane) Biggar.

There is a marriage in January 1833 of a William Thorburn to Jean Bigger in Ayr.  I had previously discounted that, but Jane=Jean in Scotland and she is also recorded as Mary Jane.  I think this is their marriage.

I found a parish burial record for Mary Biggar wife of William Thorburn labourer was buried in Ayr in May 1837.  She was 23 years old and died of "fever".

I found a possible birth for Mary Biggar in 1814 in Ayr to John Biggar, 27th Regiment and his wife Jane Bell. 

On James's death certificate of 1907 he is recorded as James Bigby Thorburn son of William Thorburn and Margaret (!) Bigby.  This information was provided by his son Robert.

It is clear that the family believed Bibgy/Begbie to be the name of his mother. The name appears as a middle name in at least 7 descendants.

In her short lifetime however her name is recorded as Mary Biggar or Mary Jane Biggar or Jean Biggar and Mary Bingham.

Widowed William went on to marry Janet Stewart in Kilwinning in 1837. She must have died between 1851 and 1855* and William  moved his family to Loudoun (Galston) and stayed for a while with his brother Robert.  William drowned in the river Irvine at Loudoun in January 1870.

His son James Thorburn and wife Margaret Ramage followed their son Robert to Douglas in Lanarkshire after 1901.

* She didn't die. She must have left him as she turns up later in Dalmellington in 1881 and 1891 and died there in 1898.
Tree here

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Phillips from Cornwall to Ayrshire

Thomas Phillips, a lead miner born about 1819  in St Mewan, and his wife Mary Harvey had 3 children. The parents appear to have died before the 1861 census as the children are living with relations; James and Thomas with their uncle Stephen Phillips and family in Menheniot and Ellen Jane is with her aunt Caroline Martin, maiden surname Phillips, and her grandmother Catherine Phillips in Liskeard.

link to the above tree

James Phillips married Catherine Bunney in Redruth in 1866 and by the birth of second child William they are in Loudoun near Galston in Ayrshire, In the 1881 census they are back in St Stephen in Brannel but it seems to have been only a short stay as son John was born in 1880 in Galston and son James in 1882.

I can't place Ellen Jane Phillips in the 1871 census but she married Cornishman Arthur Burley in Loudoun in July 1872. In the 1890s they moved from Loudoun parish to Cumnock. Arthur died in 1915 in Galston and Ellen in 1927 in nearby Newmilns.

Thomas Henry Phillips married Louisa Trudgian in 1870 in Loudoun and was living next door to his brother James in Loudoun Rows in 1871. They were back to St Stephen in Brannel by 1879 and stayed in Cornwall.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

How to spot mistakes in online trees

I have been researching the Thorburn family in Ayrshire starting with James Thorburn b 1835 Ayr and wife Margaret Ramage

James and Margaret

James's parents were William Thorburn and Mary Begbie and the Begbie name is continued down through the generations.

However it was hard to find his parents William and Mary again.  Son James with wife and family are in Galston, Ayrshire in the 1861 census.

Someone using the search facility on ancestry found a William Thorburn and wife Mary in Delhi Township in Ingham County in Michigan, USA. He and wife Mary had gone out about 1879 to join other members of his family who had been there since 1860s.

Previously to that, they had been in Leshamagow and the censuses reveal that Mary was born about 1831 in Cambusnethan Lanarkshire  - too young to be Mary Begbie, the mother of James b 1835. This William Thorburn was born in Douglas, Lanarkshire in 1813 so this Mary is a second wife. More digging revealed an earlier wife Ann Sandilands whom  he married in 1842 in Douglas, Lanarkshire. I am still happy to go along with that.

However I am looking for James b Ayr in the 1841 and 1851 censuses. The only ones I can find are

1841 in Kilwinning
at Doura House
Wm Thorburn 25 coal cutter born Scotland not Ayrshire
Janet 15 b Ayrshire
James 5 b Ayrshire
Margaret 3 months b Ayrshire

The 1841 census does not give relationships.

in 1851 there is a family at Holmes Colliery which is near Galston (where James and Margaret are in 1861 census)
This clearly ties in with the family in the 1841 census
And, interestingly, it gives William's place of birth as Stranraer in Wigtownshire, nowhere near Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire.

I have a look for possible births for William Thorburn about 1814 in Stranraer. Wouldn't you know it, there are 2.

By now I'm pretty sure that "our" William is not the one in Michigan.

I found a marriage to Janet Stewart in Kilwinning in 1841
I found a likely burial for Mary Begbie in Ayr in 1837 although she is down as Mary Biggar wife of William Thorburn labourer. Biggar could have been Begbie misheard.

I look for William, Janet, Margaret Wm jnr and Daniel in 1861. Daniel seems a good name to search on, being a less common name.

I find him at Loudoun Kirk (near Galston) in the house of an uncle Robert.
Robert Thorburn     35 coal miner b Ayr
Elizabeth Thorburn     32
Mary Thorburn     5
Sarah Thorburn     10 Mo
William Thorburn     46 coal miner  b Stranraer
Daniel Thorburn     16 coal miner b Kilwinning

Finding that William had a brother Robert allows me to find the right family in Stranraer.

Robert Thorburn and Mary Milwrick /Millrick

I found a death certificate for William. It appears he fell into the river Irvine at Galston in the evening of January 4th 1870 and his body was found near Dundonald on the 29th January. No relatives' names are on the certificate but he is 55.  Other online trees have him dying in 1890 in Michigan.

One person gets it wrong and everybody else takes it as gospel and copies it without any further thought. It is well worth checking out the censuses and the other family members.

So unless I can get further back and establish a link to the Lesmahagow/Michigan Thorburns they are different families.

The Michigan Thorburns

and see update here