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?

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