Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sievwrights - the wealthy ones!

Widow Helen Low Sievwright who died in 1838 left her estate to 3 of her children Joseph Alexander, Marjory and Catherine. Marjory was the easiest to find as she never married and died in Brechin, where she was born, in 1874. But in the 1861 census she wasn't in Brechin but in Newington, Edinburgh with a sixteen year old Helen C Sievwright born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Both are listed as boarders so no clue as to their relationship there. In 1871 they are both in Crieff, Perthshire along with girls B H and C C Sievwright aged 23 and 20 respectively both born in New Brunswick. Again they are lodgers.
I have done much googling and found a reference to Joseph Alexander Sievwright *  on a MI (memorial inscription) in New Brunswick. He died in in 1856 and was married to Catherine Hoyt who seems to have been the widow of Samuel Edwin Hoyt, so I don't know her maiden name. She died in 1866. This would fit in with the orphaned sisters moving back to Scotland. But I can't find any births or census records of them so how to find out their names and parentage?
Marjory must have been a wealthy woman so there must be a will! There is, dated 1864! And in it I find unequivocal proof that they are her nieces the daughters of her "dear, deceased brother Joseph Alexander" and their names?
Helen Catherine Sievwright born about 1842,
Henrietta or Betty Horre(?) Sievwright 1847
Colina Charlotte Sievwright 1849
Marjory leaves them everything, with Helen getting all her silver plate (to be retained for her until she reaches majority or is married!) all the bed and table linen, the chair covered in worsted and the 2 ottomans in leopardskin (! maybe similar to the one in the image), sewed (sic) foot stools, her books, wearing apparel and trinkets to be retained for her own use and the old china and ornamental china, all her household furniture and if sold the proceeds of this to be hers in money. To Henrietta, her gold watch and chain. To Colina Charlotte, her best set of china. Perhaps she had not met the 2 younger girls in 1864 when the will was written. Helen certainly comes off best!
With this information I am able to find Helen Catherine Sievwright married to Henry Speid 22 years her senior who was from a local family but had left home in Ardovie near Forfar and travelled via Portugal and South America ending up in Canada. Quite how they got together is a mystery. I can't find a marriage in the UK so think they must have married in Canada in the late 1870s. They had a son Arthur Theodore Speid in 1882. In the 1901 census they are in Lennoxville, Quebec.
Arthur had 3 daughters Catherine Speid, Janet Marion Speid and Lorna Speid. Catherine graduated from Bishop's University in Lennoxville in 1936. Both married academics. Janet had 3 children, Catherine had none and died only last year in her nineties!
I haven't found any trace of Henrietta although there is a death of a Hetty Sievwright in Canada in 1884 which may be her. You'd think Colina Charlotte would be easy to find, but no joy so far. Update: now think she married George Dixon about 1889. Seems she used Charlotte rather than Colina.

My tree here

* Update on Joseph Alexander Sievwright here 

Catherine Sievwright's story here

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