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Geneageek: A Family of Lunatics!

Friday, 13 November 2009

A Family of Lunatics!

I received the case notes for Wilson BUCHAN today. The contents were very interesting. Wilson's case is sad but what strikes me from these notes is that the sense of family was very strong. It also strikes me that insanity very much runs in my family.

On the 17th June 1875, Wilson BUCHAN was admitted in the Royal Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum.

I can almost visualise Wilson - his description was more unique than that given for his sister Agnes. At age 60, he was a short man with a square, stooping figure. His eyes were black, his hair grey with a bald scalp and his complexion ruddy.

His history upon admission reads:

The present attack , supposed to be the first, has lasted for eight months during which time he has twice attempted suicide. There is a strong hereditary predisposition to insanity, his father committed suicide, his sister Mrs James Tait was in this Asylum two years ago, and his nephew James Third is at present a patient here.
According to the medical certificates, he distresses himself unreasonably about his wife's death, will not engage in his ordinary occupation, imagines that the Police are to apprehend him for murder & stealing, talks of committing suicide and has been found with a rope round his neck.

On the 7th October 1876, Wilson was "Removed by his friends - Much Improved".

I have become even more interested in these small fishing villages where everyone seems to be related and plan to do a bit more research on them.

Other facts I have managed to glean from these records:

  • Wilson's wife died before June 1875 (this was unclear on his death record)

  • his father (& Agnes') committed suicide

  • a sister Mrs James TAIT (also Agnes' sister) was in the asylum two years ago,

  • a nephew, James THIRD presently in the Asylum

  • a son John Buchan (and his address - 91 Cairnbulg)

  • 3 daughters - Mrs Mary BUCHAN or Stephen; Mrs Robert STEPHEN; Christian BUCHAN

Next steps:
Work out his sister's & daughter's names by finding their marriages
Gain more information about the locality (map of houses)

image via flickr

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have really enjoyed your series on your lunatic ancestor and exploring your blog.

I think your blog is deserving of the Kreativ Blogger Award. Stop by and pick up your award and follow instructions, Congratulations, Karen

18 November 2009 at 03:25  
Blogger Greta Koehl said...

I have also been enjoying your "lunatic series" a great deal. There's quite a bit in my family history, as well.

26 November 2009 at 15:47  
Blogger The Professional Descendant said...

Hi, I've also nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award - please see my post for how to participate:


3 January 2010 at 21:47  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I've got a lunatic in my family, too, except the case was never proven (and I think was also thrown out of court). Apparently an older man who moved in with a younger woman was thought to be crazy, back in the day.

I'm also enjoying your series - thanks for sharing!

Little Bytes of Life

8 January 2010 at 03:07  

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