Sunday, 31 January 2010

31st: In for a penny, in for a pound

Given where my research has been leading over the last couple of years or so with the dna projects, I've decided to bite the bullet and try to get a bit more methodical, probably an impossible task for someone as easily distracted as I am by the next shiny email that arrives in my inbox.
Anyway, I have applied for, and been granted, registration of the RUNCIMAN surname as an official One Name Study (See the Guild of One Name Studies aka GOONS, for what this entails).
Discussions are in train with the existing registered owner for FAIRBAIRN, as she currently has it as variant on her FAIRBURN, but there's no doubt ample scope for both of us. Only one person can be registered for a surname, so it firstly has to be removed as an alias from her study to be able to be registered to me.

Off to a grand start for RUNCIMAN as a set of basic introductory web pages are now in existence.
All of this was primarily prompted by Ros popping out of the woodwork again linking up her Fife/East Lothian RUNCIMAN family tree to the latest recruit (back in December) in the DNA project, thus reviving her interest in RUNCIMAN research as well.

The activities required for the DNA projects, and for One Name Studies are very complementary, so let's hope I can stay focused, but not completely neglect my own family, which is already well overdue a replublish of my web pages, and Rootsweb databases.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

26th: Interesting reading

Some interesting sites brought to my attention (from a list of Unusual Websites" included with Ancestors Magazine):
Oh well, back to my own version of reality...

Monday, 25 January 2010

25th: Rounding up Runcimans

An excited Ros emailed me after a long hiatus today, long term RUNCIMAN friends had turned out to be related, and thought that their brother was "doing something with DNA and was into family history". So she quickly sent the brother info I had previously sent her on the RUNCIMAN dna project, and an email to me to let me know, hoping I could get him into the project.
Been there, done that, awaiting the t-shirt (kit results), he was R-7 of the RUNCIMAN blog back in December.
Downstream effect however is a break from researching London FAIRBAIRNs and a quick peek at their respective RUNCIMAN trees to see how they were connected, and whether there was any possibility they'd connect with my Earlston lot. Looks unlikely on the surface, but who knows what may happen in this world of genealogical happenstance.
As part of my digging I could see that there was a connection to Crail in Fife, and of course, cousin Harry is an expert on such things, so I thought he'd have the actual headstone transcription being referred to.
Sure enough, and after much digging in several old boxes of research, also unearthed several other interesting bits of data he'd extracted back in the 1980s when he came across an unexpected RUNCIMAN family in Crail, RUNCIMAN being one of our shared ancestral names.
Ros is delighted, Harry exhausted, Lorna in catch up mode, but a summary of the family will eventually make it to the RUNCIMAN DNA Patriarchs page.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

23rd: Foundlings

Reading the Prologue to Stella Tillyard's "Aristocrats" made me chuckle about the poor genealogists descended from those first admissions to the Foundling Hospital in Hatton Garden in 1741 (assuming of course any of them survived, both physically and in recorded history).
They were all apparently baptised in the names of assorted sponsors and their families, eg Caroline Lennox, daughter of the Duke of Richmond.
Could cause some hopefully very momentary confusion if the names were recognised.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

21st: SUTHERLAND Treasure Trove

My "Originals" sub site has been updated to include the beginnings of the publication of a treasure trove of family memorabilia received courtesy of a very kind lady in Melbourne.
She had been clearing a relative's house and found a large number of items belonging to a family she did not recognise as hers. Having determined that they really were no connection to her, she did some web searching for anyone researching the family, that of Alexander Bain SUTHERLAND and his sister Jessie.
(It is believed that her relative was a friend of Sandy's and that he had helped clear his house after his death, and Sandy had obviously done the same for his sister Jessie).
Her search found my web pages. So I now have a wonderful box full of family bits and pieces that most certainly bring the family of John and Jane (McKENZIE) SUTHERLAND to life rather more than previously.
I had already benefitted in my research on this family by having a friendly genealogist in the Shetlands contacting people who may have known, or known of them, so I was already one step ahead of the bare names, dates and places, but this is magic.
Heaps of postcards, some letters, some official documents, many photos (of course, most unnamed, but several look identifiable).
With only a very few of the documents scanned and examined for clues, I have already been able to pinpoint which of the many Jessie SUTHERLANDs heading for Australia she was (having her passport certainly helped, although I'm not so sure Jessie SUTHERLAND would have approved of the use of her passport photo, I know that I would hate to have mine published!), found the death of Jessie's uncle, John McKENZIE, son of James & Janet (BAIN) McKENZIE), identified the wife of Matthew Williamson SUTHERLAND, and finally determined which of them was the schoolteacher.
The Shetlands memory banks were sure that one of the family was a teacher, and assorted people assigned this occupation to different siblings.
It was Jamie, there's a letter from him to Sandy dated Nov 1947, from the Mertoun Schoolhouse, St Boswells, Roxburghshire.
It will all take quite some time to sort through.
Many of the postcards are from all over the place. Looks like Jessie collected them, and people obliged by sending one from wherever they were.
I've already spotted one of Cockingford, down in Devon, which can hardly have had a connection to this family, but most certainly does connect to my Dawe family!
And one of a train stuck in a huge snow drift in Thurso - wonder if the current winter is similar?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

20th: Some people make genealogy hard

I do so hate it when I cannot find someone who has to exist.
Last sightings were a marriage in Ontario, Canada in Peterborough 1893, followed by the births of two daughters, Edith and Gertrude, and death of wife Sarah (1899).
His name was supposedly Harry FAIRBAIRN, and he (they) should have appeared in either the Ontario deaths, or 1901 and subsequent 1911 census records.
No joy. Casting the net wider to outside Ontario, and even into the States still didn't come up with any likely candidates.
So I worked backwards to figure out which FAIRBAIRN family he belonged too, and quickly found that he was more usually known to his family as James Henry, and enumerated variously as Jas H, or James H with the surname as FAIRBAIRN or FAIRBURN. This latter is easily overcome by doing exact searches using wildcards, eg FAIRB*, but the forename variants are a little harder to cope with.
For the 1901 Ontario census I eventually resorted to simply leaving the name blank but putting in a birth year with +/- 5 years, and the township where I thought he would be, and scanning the entire 400 names for anything that could conceivably be a mis-indexed FAIRBAIRN. Still no joy.
By now I'd found that he had remarried (1899), as James Henry, to a widow Amelia COUTTS nee HUNTER, so it really seemed unlikely that he would be missing from both the 1901 and the Ontario deaths. But nothing anywhere in Canada to an Amelia with husband James or Jas or Henry or Harry, nor in the States.
I don't give up easily, so decided to try the known children. Gertrude had died at age 1, so it had to be Edith.
She did eventually provide the missing link I required. At age 17, in 1911, she had married in Renfrew Co, Ontario, "with parental consent", and gave her place of residence as Port Huron, Michigan, and her parents as Harry FAIRBAIRN and (incorrectly) Amelia HUNTER.
Working from the known to the unknown, always a good maxim, 1910 Michigan census finally provided what I'd been looking for, but even then only by putting in Edith with father Harry born Canada in the right timeframe, no surname. They were indexed as RAIBOURN. By 1920 Harry is indexed as "H FOUNTAIN", but as they still had son Percival aka Percy who was with them in 1910, with them in 1920, they were more easily found.

Even son Percival/Percy, supposedly born Ontario, I had missed in the birth registers first time through. His mother had been indexed as Ammelin, and father recorded as Henry J. And was he Percival? No, John P.
Those we chase around the records don't make it easy for us, nor do the transcribers.
How many forename variations? Jas, James, Henry, Harry, H, Henry J Coupled with FAIRBAIRN, FAIRBOURN, RAIBOURN, FOUNTAIN, FAIRBURN as indexed surnames, which makes strking the right combination of both names a bit of a challenge.
And after all that I probably still wont find a dna candidate for the line of Andrew FAIRBAIRN and Elizabeth HAGERMAN in the FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA project, but it sure wont be from lack of trying!

Monday, 18 January 2010

18th: if they can't get it right...

I was browsing the Scotlands People feature on Famous Scots and noticed it had the will of Sir William Fairbairn.
Yes it was the will of a William Fairbairn who died about the same time (1873), but that of the Edinburgh surveyor, married to Agnes Hamilton DODDS, and brother of the Free Church Minister of Allanton, and most definitely not that of Sir William, engineer, born Kelso 1789, living in Surrey at the time he died in 1874.

Check out the Fairbairn DNA project for the outline pedigrees of the people mentioned.

Monday, 11 January 2010

11th: Where things lead

One of the Message Alerts that Rootsweb sends out for message boards I have registered an interest in mentioned an IVISON.
I thought that name sounded a bit familiar, and given it is also a little unusual, I went searching in my database to see why I thought I had someone of that name.
Well, only one.
Last year I had pieced together a theoretical family for one of my WIGHTs based on one of the children being Isabella Ivison WIGHT, as I'd found a possible marriage for John Adam Thomas WIGHT to an Elizabeth PERCIVAL, whose mother was an Isabel IVISON.
(see blog filtered for IVISON)
I later confirmed they were indeed the right family.
Spurred on by this more recent reminder of the name, and with more information now available, I spent a while checking the ancestry indexes for births, deaths, and marriages 1916 thru 2005 and have updated the family a bit more.
Couldn't find them anywhere in England in 1911 however under any search criteria I could think of. Which was a little surprising as they do seem to have stayed around Northumberland.
Next WorldConnect update will have a few more twigs on that part of the WIGHT tree.

Friday, 8 January 2010

8th: WARE branch updated

Thanks to Nick providing an outline descendant chart for Gertrude TURNER (dtr of William TURNER and Mary Ann WARE), I spent a happy time checking it off and adding dates and places, where I could. Surnames added into that branch of the tree include: SHARRATT, NORTON, PEPPER, HIGGINBOTHAM, BRASNETT, McCAUSLAND, LOVELESS, ATKINSON, ASHMAN and HOPE, none of which feature elsewhere, so no new inter-connections for this Devon family that moved to London.

The results of our endeavours will appear on WorldConnect in due course, and are already in my ancestry tree LornaHen, included there as I found the source records.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Gateshead to Manitoba, DODDS reviewed

Although I've not renewed my sub to MyHeritage (well it was free for five years from the old GenCircles and now will cost), the tree is still sitting there, searchable.
A side effect of this is that people may still send me emails about matches, but I wont be able to reply (unless they include an email address).
One such arrived today, a Katie asking about her 3*great grandparents William DODDS and Agnes Robertson DAVIDSON of Gateshead.
Up to now I'd not advanced all the family as far as 1901, but spurred on by the knowledge that at least one branch must have produced several more generations, I had another look today.
Still don't know where Katie fits, but do appear to have found that dtr Rosina Hunter DODDS married an ELLIOTT, a descendant of whom has a tree on ancestry; and that the John (who had married a Sarah someone by 1901) and family had all hopped off to Manitoba by 1903.
I've also resurrected father William, he can't be the one of the right age in the death index in 1902 as he's a widower in the 1911 census with son James.
So, Katie, I hope you find this eventually, and contact me from my website as I'd love to know where you do fit into the family.

Friday, 1 January 2010

1st: PURDIE mystery solved

I'd previously given up trying to find Margaret PURDIE nee FAIRBAIRN and family in 1841, although I had eventually found hubby Charles gamekeeping in Buckinghamshire.
Got a bit more stubborn today, having found that in the 1871 census daughter Cecilia thought she was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, so thought they might be there.
No wonder I was having trouble. The Wherstead Suffolk census shows Margaret saying she was 40 instead of 48, and they had been indexed as PURDUE born Ireland, instead of Scotland, even Cecilia, who was shown as Acilia, 5 born Scotland, not England.
It did add a daughter Elizabeth into the family, but didn't solve the mystery of the Williams in the family.