Wednesday, 4 August 2010

John Oliphant & Margaret Haigs

Margaret Haigs is my g g grandfather's sister. (My grandmother has the same name.)
She was born in Cameron, Fife in 1815. She married John Oliphant (1812) in 1834 and the family flourished.

In 1841 census he is an agricultural labourer (ag lab) at Tosh in Dunino and they already have 4 children. The oldest Ann is with her grandmother and other relations nearby at Erbetshall Farm.

By 1851 census he is a farmer of 14 acres at Smithfield Farm in the parish of Crail and the family has increased to 8, as typical of the period - a child every 2 years.

In April 1855 John succumbs to typhoid fever at the age of 42 and dies at home after 10 days leaving 11 children and then his wife gives birth to another son Alexander in November.

1855 is the start in Scotland of the statutory recording of births marriages and deaths and the 1855 death certificates give more detail than the later ones. It lists all his children. One had died. So in all they had 13. I think it was a twin of either Elizabeth or Janet (who come before and after in the list), who died at birth since all the others have baptism records, but it is hard to make out the writing.

Worse is to come. The East Neuk of Fife suffered an outbreak of smallpox in 1863 and Margaret succumbs age 45 on 13 May. Scottish death certificates show 3 deaths and the other 2 deaths on the certificate are also from smallpox and another relation is one of them. Alexander Forgan, the 19 year old son of Mary Oliphant (John's sister) and Alexander Forgan. Further investigation shows his parents had also both died of smallpox the previous month, within a day of each other.

I wonder what became of the Oliphant children. There were plenty of relations nearby to help out. It was my gg grandfather George Haigs who registered the deaths of both his sister Margaret and her husband. Another Haigs sister married another Oliphant - Thomas Oliphant and Christian Haigs and they were at Erbetshall Farm although Christian was also a widow by 1852.

You can see the people mentioned in my tree here
Maybe you can see why I get caught up in the research!

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