Monday, 16 September 2013

Recurrent family names

A way of being sure you have the right family is from descendants sharing grandparents names. The downside is that more than one grandchild can end up with the same name! They are cousins, for example:-

I have 2 Elizabeth McMeekin McKays 1890 and 1898 and 2 Amelia Clarey Burleys 1902 and 1903.

This weekend I worked out who these people were from their descendants.
I came across some Sievwrights in Brechin in the 1841 census via  (I know, they are a bit of an obsession)
Cadger Wynd, Brechin
Helen Sievwright     35  linen HLW (handloom weaver) born Scotland (but not Angus)
Joseph Sievwright     13
Andrew Sievwright     3
Jane Sievwright     70
Jess Porter     20 linen HLW
others all born Angus

The 1841 census does not give relationships. The original available on scotlandspeople would tell me whether or not they were married, but I hang off spending any more money!

I find some of them in 1851 census at the same address
Helen Seivwright     46  born Edinburgh
Joseph Seivwright     22 journeyman tobacconist b Brechin
Jean Seivwright     83 receiving parochial relief b Brechin

I pursue Joseph as the ladies appear to have died before 1855 (statutory registration begins then).
In 1861 he is a hotel keeper age 32 in Edinburgh. In the summer of 1861 he marries Alice Tonge an English girl of 20 who was working at the hotel in 1861.
I find her in Liverpool at the Bull Hotel, Dale Street in 1871 but Joseph has died in 1870. He left a fair bit of money, at least.  Two of their children are called Helen Porter Sievwright and Jean Carr Sievwright. Are they named after the ladies in the earlier censuses?
I get the 1861 marriage cert to be sure. Joseph's parents are Helen Porter and George Sievwright, weaver. I find their marriage in 1834 and there is a marriage of Jean Carr to Andrew Sievwright in 1801.
I deduce that Jean is Helen's mother-in-law and Joseph's granny.  Joseph also had a son who died a few months old called Joseph Andrew Norman Sievwright in 1870. I think Andrew could be a son of the Rev Norman. Andrew's wife Jean Carr was born about 1768 (from the 1851 census). Andrew could be the seventh child born in 1767 from John Garden's letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Whatever his parentage, he is bound to be related!

Joseph on my tree


  1. The names in my family have got me stuck at 1857! Everybody is called William or Margaret or Annie or Edward - not helpful! So I'm well impressed with your progress!

  2. Not all lines have been so helpfully named!
    Most of the Muirkirk Murdochs are called Robert, John, James, George, Thomas, Janet, Margaret, Mary and no middle names.

  3. Does anyone know of Catherine Seivwright born Brechin, who married in London in 1850 William Forster Wabe?

    1. Oooh! I have an idea. email me at kaymcmeekin at