Sunday, 26 September 2010

The One That Stayed Behind

I had mentioned in 'Desperately Seeking John' that there was one BUCHAN who didn't emigrate to New Zealand on the Rimutaka with the rest of the family.  In Roy Buchan's book 'From Peterhead to Passchendaele' he mentions that "there is thought to be at least one other who stayed behind.".

Feeling inspired, I wanted to find out more about Charles BUCHAN (junior) - 'the one that stayed behind'.  He had appeared on all the census records between 1871 and 1891 - odd that he didn't go with them. I wondered why he had stayed and considered whether his descendants were still living in the Peterhead area?

I downloaded Charles' birth certificate:

Birth Certificate of Charles BUCHAN
born 27 November 1865
 After a search of marriages on the IGI, I was unable to find a likely match so I checked deaths.  I hoped this would give me the name of his wife if he had at all married.

Unfortunately, he hadn't.

Poor Charles died at 26 years of age in 1892 - about a year and a half before the family moved to New Zealand.  He died from consumption of the lungs (phthisis pulmonaris). His father, Charles (b.1830), was present at his death and registered the event three days later.


Death Certificate of Charles BUCHAN
Died 30 July 1892
Now we know Charles had no option BUT to stay behind.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Grace Brock

I've had a lot of trouble finding a marriage between John STILING and Grace FREED and thought it was due to the lack of  Devon records on the IGI.  Thanks to the selection of Devon Parish records on findmypast, I find it's possibly because it was mistranscribed or that Grace FREED is actually Grace BROCK:


I can imagine how Brock and Freed could look similar in faded, pre-regency period handwriting.
This was one of three John STILINGs that came up in the search but the only one with a Grace for a bride. 
Their oldest child was born in 1811 so the dates also fit.
Oh, how I wish I could see the original record right now.

Desperately Seeking John - A Sad Conclusion

In case brother John DID refer to brother-in-law John, I decided to check for deaths before embarking on a costly census trawl.  There were a few likely entries but since John hadn't appeared on any of the censuses, I chose one of the infant deaths first and sure enough there he was:


Poor little tyke only lived 12 days - cause unknown.

I think it's safe to say that the John present at Alexander BUCHAN's death is his sister Jessie's (born 1860) husband.  They had married back in Peterhead and emigrated with Jessie's parents and siblings.

Desperately Seeking John

A couple of months ago, I found out via an 1896 newspaper article that my ancestor, Alexander Ritchie BUCHAN, had a brother called John.  John was there when Alex died pulling in a fishing net but where was he all those other years?
18 foot shark caught in Otago Harbour 1894

Charles BUCHAN and his wife Jessie (Janet RITCHIE) migrated to New Zealand on the Rimutaka in 1893. All their children (except Charles), some of whom had begun their own families went too.  Peter, Jessie (married to John BUCHAN), Alex and William all arrived on the Rimutaka. John had never appeared with the family on the censuses and so I hadn't realised he was missing.

A little bit of research proved that John was actually twin brother of William - born 11th July 1868 in Peterhead.  Was it just coincidence that he was away from home all those census nights?  Did he stay in Scotland or

A search of shipping lists from 1890 don't seem to show John's arrival in New Zealand so it seems likely that he migrated before the rest of the family.

RMS Rimutaka

A search of the IGI comes up with  9 other John BUCHANs born in Scotland in 1868 alone. I have scribbled down these parents names to avoid confusion as the long census search begins...

Edited to add:
Just reread an excerpt from Roy BUCHANs book about the family:
The Buchan family settled in Carey's Bay, a mile from Port Chalmers. They fished in the comparative calm of the inner Otago Harbour instead of the hazardous and stormy North Sea. The main breadwinners were Jack, his brother-in-law Alexander and father-in-law Dade [Charles]. The younger two men would fish from an open boat in the harbour and Dade would sell the fish.
Could brother John actually refer to his brother-in-law John (married to Jessie)? The newspaper article mentions that Charles also gave evidence at the hearing which means he was probably also there (as the excerpt suggests).

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Will or Testament?

I noticed this morning that the Scotlands People website has changed a bit (at least cosmetically) which in turn led me to notice the free wills and testaments search in the left bar.  So I started plugging away at some of my Scottish ancestors and came across a possible record for William MURRAY, dated 1839:


William MURRAY was the father of Margaret MURRAY (who married William GLAISTER in 1843).  It seems I had been unable to locate Margaret or her family in the 1841 census NOR find a record of the marriage of her parents when last researching the line and so left the family there for the time being.  Today, after consulting the new Family Search BETA and 1841 census transcriptions on a site called Graham Maxwell Ancestry, I was able to discover the marriage of William MURRAY to Janet BELL in the Kelso parish registers, 1817:


William Murray, Stocking-maker here & Janet Bell, Daughter of Alexr. Bell, Stocking-maker in Melrose, after the publication of the banns of marriage in the Church of Kelso, were married, at Melrose, on the eighth day of Decr. 1817 by the Revd. Mr. Thomson, Minister of Melrose, in presence of these witnesses Lieut. Lachlan Burn of the R.N. - Kelso & George Hart - Melrose
As the marriage obviously took place in Melrose, I decided to see if the Melrose records held any more information.  It's quite amusing how little they actually held compared to the Kelso registers:


[1817, Nov 30] William Murray residing in the parish of Kelso and Janet Bell residing in this parish.

I'm pretty sure this is the family on the 1841 census:


The names and ages of the children are all correct (as found on the IGI) - only Margaret is missing (possibly working elsewhere). The only other concern is that William, who was recorded as a stocking maker at marriage is now a barber.  Not impossible by any means but a concern nonetheless.

So, back to the testaments - is this my guy?  Is the testament dated in 1839 because that William MURRAY had died OR was it drawn up before death?   If the 1839 date indicates the date of death, it is not my guy because he appears to be alive on the 1841 census.  I'm a tad confused. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

More Buchan 'Lunatics'

I was very excited to receive an email from Roy BUCHAN - author of the book 'From Peterhead to Passchendaele' mentioned on this blog and distant relative of mine.


He also mentioned that the Mr Peter BUCHAN listed above (on the Rimutaka 1893 passenger list) as aged 35 was, in fact, mentally retarded from birth and died 3 years after landing in New Zealand.  This was roughly the same time as his brother, and my direct ancestor, Alexander Ritchie BUCHAN died while working on a fishing boat.

Before I'd even had a chance to look into it, another distant BUCHAN relative, emailed me the information that Peter had actually died in July 1897 (seven months after his brother, Alex).  He apparently died at Seacliff Hospital, Dunedin - also known as Seacliff Lunatic Asylum.
(NOTE: A further email from the same relative warns that this may not be true)
Seacliff Hospital, Dunedin, NZ c.1910
Peter was the son of  Charles and Jessie (nee RITCHIE) BUCHAN.
I will now be checking for his asylum records.

Next Steps:
  • Check for Peter BUCHAN's death in New Zealand (Place of death - asylum?)
  • Look into story from Roy Buchan's book that suggests he went out 'wandering' and died from exposure