Monday, 23 December 2013

Black Mail

Found this in "The Kingdom of Kippen, its History and Traditions" (1903, William CHRYSTAL) on the Internet Archive.


FEW ancient customs are so generally, yet so imperfectly, known as that of black mail. 
It was, however, simply a lawful and beneficial service to the public which now falls 
to be performed by the police, or, in other words, money paid voluntarily by contract 
for the protection of property against the depredations of migratory freebooters who 
lurked on the borders of the Highlands. 
One of the original documents still in the possession of the descendants of 
Mr. Dunmore of Ballikinrain is drawn up as a contract between James and John Graham, 
elder and younger, of Glengyle, and gentlemen, heritors and tenants, within the 
shires of Perth, Stirling, and Dumbarton. The latter put themselves under the 
protection of the Grahams for an annual payment of £4 per £100 of rental. 
For this sum, the cattle, sheep, and horses were practically insured against loss, 
as the Grahams agreed either to return the cattle stolen within six months or make 
payment of their true value. Pickerey, such as the lifting of cattle or sheep in 
small numbers, was not to be considered as coming under the agreement, but any 
number above six was; and horses and cattle carried to the south, if not recoverable, 
were paid for by the Grahams at the discretion of the owners ; the contract to be 
nullified in the event of war. 
I was looking for any hints as to the origin of my mysterious 3* great grandmother 
Miss CHRYSTAL, presumed to be a Margaret from the naming pattern of her daughter's 
children and presumed to be married to a James MILLAR from Kippen, again from naming 
Lot's of assumptions yet to be confirmed in any way. 
The closest we've come is the baptism of an Emilia MILLAR to a John & Margaret MILLAR 
in 1817.

We do know that she belongs to mtDNA haplogroup T2 though. That narrows the field !!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Can my rellies count?

Poor Jane Ellen/Eleanor/Ellise MAIN previously BURT nee RICHARDSON.
She seems to have had what looks like a chequered past, and when it came time to fill in the 1911 census had to think rather hard how to answer the questions:
  • completed years of present marriage
  • number of children born alive to present marriage.
Let's see, shall I put 3 or 4 years?
We'll try 3, but woops, I'm going to declare all four of the children living with me, so maybe I'd better put 4? But that's not really right, better cross that out and put 3 again.
As to the children, let's start with three, they're the ones that Thomas claims as his, so that should be alright? No, I'm going to say 4.

At least her life wasn't further complicated in this census with the presence of her son Henry RICHARDSON, who first appears as grandchild of Alexander & Isabella (ARMSTRONG) RICHARDSON in the 1891 census, aged 1.
He next appears in the 1901 census as Henry BURT aged 11, son of Jane E BURT, widow, along with his 2 year old sister Bella, and Jane's sister Bella (who enabled me to identify this family).
Jane Eleanor RICHARDSON was found marrying James BURT in 1894, but seems to have lost him by 1901.
I was lucky to find her in 1911.  Thankfully daughter Bella kept her original name, so appeared with Thomas and Jane E MAIN as Bella BURT, step daughter of Thomas.

With these ages, and the  3 or 4 years of marriage supposedly completed Jane's marriage to Thomas was easily enough found in 1908, but the birth of Jane Ellen Burt MAIN was unlikely to have been registered as MAIN. Sure enough, she had been indexed as BURT, but back in 1906.

And the questions sound so simple on the surface.

Still haven't found many of Jane's siblings in 1901 or 1911.
Jane's entry on WorldConnect will be expanded next upload.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Yes I know...

That my links and notes site, LornaGenie is currently down.
Bit of a hard disk failure.
Recovery is underway but will take many hours to be back fully functioning.
This also impacts Lorna Surnames and the associated (private access only) tng and dna subsites.

Monday, 2 December 2013

How would you like to be remembered?

This comment prompted by a headstone in the wonderful old Ballachly Cemetery in Latheron Parish, Caithness.
"Don(ald) Cumming (Sutherland) law clerk and genealogist 10.6.1889"
The bracketted text being my inclusion to clarify the abbreviated transcription recorded in the Caithness Monumental Inscriptions Pre 1855 published by The Scottish Genealogy Society 1992.

Donald and his parents and siblings, and my John BAIN and Catherine GRAY, are two of only 13 headstones surviving to be transcribed in this small cemetery.

See John BAIN's page for some scene setting and further pictures by scrolling down/searching the place index to find Ballachly and clicking on the little info icon.

The Mybster fall out continues

Yes, it's Mybster Inn reporting time again.
Since the last post my knowledge of the SUTHERLANDs of Forse has grown in leaps and bounds thanks to a lot of research after some welcome leads from correspondents. Descendants are a wide-spread lot!

I had hopes that the 1880s SUTHERLAND chart which showed the Margaret SUTHERLAND who married William GRAY on it with "Tormsdale" written after their names, would also include my 5*great grandmother Janet SUTHERLAND, sister-in-law of William GRAY.  No such luck. She remains a mystery despite being at Tormsdale when she married.

This time it was back to a Helen GRAY who had married Alexander SUTHERLAND.
I do so love Parish Registers when they put more than the bare minimum of details.

Halkirk nicely includes witnesses, often with their place of residence.
Thurso goes one better and includes occupations for the males involved.
At least in the time period I was looking at.

The entries of particular interest showed that William GRAY, married to Helen DOUGLAS, had the baptisms of their children witnessed by a useful set of probable relatives.
When they were living at Sibster (Halkirk) a John GRAY of Milntown was a witness to the baptism of daughter Elizabeth in 1821.
After they moved to Hoy (Thurso) son Donald's 1826 baptism shows William as a mason, and the baptism was witnessed by John GRAY miller in Halkirk.
Which makes this John highly likely to be one and the same person, and William's younger brother, lending considerable weight to the identification of the William married to Helen being William the son of David and Elizabeth (MacLEOD) GRAY.

Time to (re)check William's baptism in the light of all the knowledge obtained subsequently to the initial research many years ago.
When William was baptized, father David had asked his nephew Donald, the son of his eldest brother Donald, to be a witness. Handy, they were living nearby.
From the baptismal registers we can trace Donald's movement from Mybster when he married in 1781 to Toftingall for the birth of his first daughter in 1782, and was still there in 1783 when he stood witness for William's 1783 baptism, staying at Toftingall until at least 1787, after which they moved back to Halkirk (1790).

Up until yesterday William GRAY son of David GRAY and Elizabeth MacLEOD had sat in the database baptized and nothing further known.
Now he has a wife and a heap of descendants, including the above Helen GRAY who married Alexander SUTHERLAND in Mybster.

The Marina mentioned in the John O'Groat Journal article on the letter home to Mybster from Donald Gray SUTHERLAND about Ned Kelly's death is hereby declared to be a sixth cousin twice removed and we are even happier to have found each other as a result, however distantly related.

My main GRAY descendant chart has been updated, and the GRAYs promoted from just a descendant chart to having a page of their own, with a map. Long past time I did so.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Mybster Inn

Last post I mentioned research into the GRAY/SUTHERLAND family of the Mybster Inn.
This activity was prompted by mention on the Caithness Family History Society mailing list about their grandson Donald Gray SUTHERLAND who had witnessed the death of Ned Kelly and written home about his experiences.
Family had gifted the original of the letter to the Victoria State Archives, who now have the image online. Read about it here and read the letter here.
This family had long been on my radar as potential relatives of my own GRAYs and I had researched them every so often to no great conclusion as to how they connected, other than noting that several trees had obviously not sighted David's death certificate and had him assigned to the wrong parents.

Spurred by the more recent interest I am now a lot better informed about the family and only marginally closer to a conclusion as to where they "fit".
The extended family has been uploaded to WikiTree - where several of the partners also connect into known trees.  It would be good to get a direct male line descendants of both the GRAY and SUTHERLAND families involved to participate in their respective DNA Surname projects (GRAY, SUTHERLAND) to see what that shows us. (Good time to test, FamilyTree DNA have announced their annual sale.)

As investigations continued it dawned on me that it is indeed highly likely that David GRAY of Mybster is indeed a descendant, somewhere, somehow, of my GRAYs.
The SUTHERLANDs connected to this family lead back to an Alexander & Dolina/Dolly/Donaldina (SUTHERLAND) SUTHERLAND of Tormsdale, which just happens to be where the Margaret SUTHERLAND who married "my" William GRAY of Mybster came from. Both of which I'd completely forgotten about over time.
I'd also forgotten that an Alexander I'd thought might be a son of John and Margaret (FOWLER) GRAY lived at Mybster.
Alexander married a Margaret SUTHERLAND and I'd not researched sufficiently to connect Alexander to John and Margaret.
This time round however, with further baptisms examined to see who the witnesses were, I've concluded that Alexander is indeed their son.
The GRAY descendant chart has been updated.

Sunday, 17 November 2013


Many years ago a friend's niece came visiting and we ended up swapping family history, in particular about our respective ancestors in Caithness.
At the time there was no apparent connection, but the name of one of hers stuck in my brain cells as being particularly unusual - Mary Wochab GEORGESON.
Some 10-15 years later my interest in Mary and her family has risen as research into the GRAY family of the Mybster Inn, and their extended family, led me back to her.
This time round, with a bit more digging, I've decided that she is indeed of the same family of GEORGESONs as mine.
Her ancestor William has been decreed (by me) to be brother to my Donald - well on the balance of probability anyway, given the circumstantial evidence. 

The friendly Caithness Family History Society mailing list also came to the rescue as to why she may have such an unusual name - an alternate spelling of Wauchope, a village in Dumfries.
So I'm going to ascribe the name to a Dumfries shepherd who had moved north to Caithness with sheep after the clearances. Which family member had the hankering for home has yet to be determined however.
My posting also resurrected correspondence with a descendant of William's. Pays to advertise - and to ask questions.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


One of the reasons touted for using genetic genealogy aka DNA testing is to focus attention on lines that match.
Well that's the theory anyway.
For Y-DNA, a mismatch when a match was expected just tends to make me want to explore further.
For FamilyFinder I keep straying off to try and figure out the unfigurable, but having a lot of fun in the process.

This post is prompted by a set of FamilyFinder results from Harry, a 4th cousin.
They clearly show the expected relationship to my 2nd cousin (his 4th) at a predicted "2nd to 4th cousin level", but I only show up as a predicted 5th to remote cousin.
Such is the randomness of atDNA.
Our shared papertrail traces back to the Scottish Borders from my paternal great grandmother Helen Sinton WIGHT.

But wait there's more.
My match is actually not from the known paternal side of our shared ancestry - other than some small segments shared between the three of us under the FamilyTree DNA radar, but can be spotted when comparing raw data on GedMatch.

Harry also shows up as a 5th to remote match to my maternal first cousin, her mother, and our aunt. All of whose ancestry, bar one line from Cumberland, is very firmly Devon/Somerset. None being known areas for his ancestry.
Closer examination shows that this is not coincidental as yes, each match each other, as do I, at the same part of chromosome 11 (along with some smaller segments).
I can feel myself being drawn off my current investigations (GRAY of Caithness - again) to explore further, even though I know in my heart of hearts that we'll probably not find the link.

As a result of this, a page dedicated to my Cumberland ancestry has been added to my webpages.

If you have taken a FamilyFinder test and match Lorna, Harry, Jillian, Grace or Ruth on Chromosome 11, please consider joining the FFLornaHen project on FamilyTree DNA so we can explore this further!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Barbara SCOTT

Reviews of older data are always fruitful.
One of the side effects of my review of the SCOTTs around Stapleton was finding that I had merged two Barbara SCOTTs of an age in my database.
- one baptised 1753, daughter of Robert & Bridget (GRAHAM) SCOTT (the parents of the Robert and Margaret at Corrylees mentioned in the prior post), whom I had married off to Thomas NICHOL.
- another recorded as married to Thomas NICHOL, with an extract from the marriage showing her father was John SCOTT.
This has now been corrected, and my WorldConnect database LornaHenderson updated showing both Barbaras, as well as all of the last month's updates.

Monday, 4 November 2013

SCOTTs of Stapleton?

I'd like to say that a DNA FamilyFinder match has meant a breakthrough on a brick wall, but in this case, merely a re-examination of one.
A friend and fellow researcher's brother popped up as a DNA match to me!
The only really likely looking match on their pedigree was their ancestor Margaret SCOTT of Kirklinton. Born within 10 years and miles of my Eleanor SCOTT.
The records for neither have proven very forthcoming to date.
However the review did mean, as I've explained on Eleanor's page, that her birth date has been revised and my knowledge of the SCOTTs in the area has grown a bit more.
Should any other descendants of Eleanor or Margaret care to see if they also match to add further evidence for or against this suggested relationship, do please order a FamilyFinder test.

Monday, 7 October 2013


Although I am not a Mormon, I have many, daily, reasons to be thankful for their diligence in preserving  genealogical records.
Every so often I fossick around and add sources to the growing tree that I've started there.
A find yesterday was a previously unknown to me daughter in the family of Stephen GRAHAM and Jane BATY.
Poor mite died shortly after birth but the addition of a Sarah into the family reinforces the identification of Jane's parents as William & Sarah BATY of Hornick Hill over the Slealands Jane to William & Mary.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Importance of checking the originals!

A review of some early DAWE research has led to a change of tack for the family of Richard, son of Gregory NICHOLAS and Sarah DAWE.
I had this Richard married to Henrietta RALPH and they've been sitting in my database as a family for some years now.
Always pays to review past research, AND to check original records to corroborate the census data and indexes.
The NICHOLAS families of Whitchurch do seem to specialise in reusing first names and having children of the same names and ages. They've taken a bit of untangling, not just Richard.

Richard's wife looks more like she'll turn out to be the Sarah BIDGOOD living next door to Richard's uncle in the 1841 census, and possibly related to his aunt Joan's husband Abraham BIDGOOD or TURNER. 
The marriage cert. showed his parents as Richard NICHOLAS, blacksmith, instead of the expected Gregory.

The above, plus time to review all the (overdue) pending updates to the family tree on the web, mean that my main webpages (Big Brother) have been republished, and an update to WorldConnect database LornaHenderson is in process.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Parents with a sense of humour?

Who needs them?
Having found yet another Family Finder DNA match amongst my Devonshire DAWEs, I've been checking off my data to upload a few more of my DAWE family to WikiTree.
Checking the marriage of Charles FLOOD I found his father was one Noah FLOOD.
Back at the  turn of the 19th Century when Noah would have been growing up, I wonder if he was teased unmercifully?

The newly identified Family Finder DNA match is the second descendant of Isaac & Sarah (SMITH) DAWE's son William DAWE who is a match to 3 of the descendants of William's brother Isaac Smith DAWE so we have some DAWE, or SMITH, autosomal DNA that has survived down to present day over 6 generations.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Sources & Lost Cousins

Thought I was quite good at noting my sources, but somehow I always miss inputting something.
Lost Cousins is completely free* this weekend (and ancestry's UK census records - registration required) so it's a good opportunity to add a few more relations, and some of the Runciman and Fairbairn families from the One Name Study and DNA project that we don't yet know where they "fit".
The very first one I went to enter from my data, I had to re-check the census entry concerned as I'd not noted all of the information necessary to enter them on Lost Cousins. At least one of the objectives of citing your sources was met, being able to find the entry again easily.

* the basic site has always been free, it is the additional contacting of relations found via the census records you have input that is also free this weekend.

Friday, 23 August 2013


Have you checked out the Wildlife section of my webpages lately?
I presume they were wild about something, and I'm so glad that they didn't wake me up at 6:30am to tell me why they were wandering around my section.
Wonder what on earth they expected to do with the ladder?

Monday, 19 August 2013

All power to DNA!

New FamilyFinder DNA results are being received all the time, but it is often hard to see where the connection might be between respective trees, although there has to be a link, given the dna evidence.

There was an exception this week, which, once again, highlighted the random nature of autosomal dna inheritance.
But more importantly, they brought attention back to the Mary McEWAN that had been sitting in my database for many years potentially marked as being  the daughter of James McEWAN and Mary McLAREN, and thus niece of my 3*great grandmother Margaret McEWAN.
This potential duplicate for Mary had married a William DUNCANSON and emigrated to Tasmania in 1855. Others have long ago connected the families up as one and the same, but her age didn't quite match, although census data did place her in the right places about the right times, among other candidates.

This time around I found her death entry, which squashed my qualms about her age, although no parents were indexed.
This, coupled with a dna match between a descendant of Mary's and myself, and to my third cousin once removed, both of us descendants of Margaret McEWAN, Mary's aunt, means that she has been connected up to the family and a heap of new McEWAN descendants formally welcomed to the database.

For those interested in further technical detail:
Autosomal dna (atDNA) is the part of our genetic heritage that we inherit randomly from all of our ancestors, as compared to the mitochondrial dna everyone inherits from their mothers but only daughters can pass on to their children, or to the Y-DNA that sons inherit from their fathers, passing that inheritance on to their sons in turn. Both of the latter are far more certain at surviving the transmission process from parent to child more or less intact, but the former is a bit of a lottery as to what survives from which ancestor.

We now have autosomal dna (Family Finder) results from four descendants of Archibald  & Margaret (McEWAN) HENDERSON, and now one from a descendant of Margaret's brother James.

The only match that showed initially on Family Tree DNA, at the default settings, was between myself and my second cousin.  Disappointingly no match shows up between myself and another descendant of our shared James and Amelia (MILLAR) HENDERSON, nor between any of us to the descendant of James' sister Margaret, although the latter was not entirely unexpected. This sort of test is really only expected to detect significant matches back to a shared 4-6 generations ago, so it's always a bonus to find a match further back.

Further exploration via GedMatch, where the parameters may be tweaked, revealed that there are several matches slightly below the matching threshold used by FamilyTree DNA between at least three of us after all. Mostly between the descendant of the two Margarets, one the daughter of Archibald and Margaret (McEWAN) HENDERSON and the other the daughter of James & Amelia (MILLAR) HENDERSON. Could be completely random coincidence (called Identical by State, rather than the Identical by Descent that we are after) of course, but I prefer not to think so.

We now have this growing scientific evidence that supports our paper trails, and provides a good solid base for future matches to pinpoint where they might be from.
But it would be even better to get representatives to join the fun and add to the evidence for the less defined paper trails, those for Margaret and James' siblings William, Archibald, and John, who either emigrated themselves, or many descendants did, to Australia, America, and Canada respectively.  
I'm pinning my hopes on FamilyFinder evidence for William and John as both lines are rather short on direct male line HENDERSONs able to represent them. A Y-DNA representative  may eventually be able to be found for Archibald's line, but a FamilyFinder match would also be very welcome!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

How well do you know your cousin?

Better than one of mine does possibly?
I recently uploaded a branch of the RICHARDSONs to WikiTree, three generations down from John & Elizabeth (SHIEL) RICHARDSON, and let the small group of interested parties know it was there in case they wanted to use WikiTree's excellent privacy and trust controls to connect themselves up to their ancestors.
One of them emailed me with some updates, which were duly incorporated into my own database. 
I thanked her, commenting that her dates differed in a couple of instances. 
“No my cousin’s birthday is definitely 20th October.” 
The next day, another email arrived. “I’ve just checked with my mother and found I’ve been sending my cousin her birthday card a day late my entire adult life. She’s going to be rather surprised when I finally get it right for her 50th birthday.”
Gave us both a good chuckle for the day.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

If at first you don't succeed ...

Don't give up.
Take a break.
Attack from a different angle next time.

This post is being prompted by finally finding a family in the 1901 Canadian census.

Sampson DAWE died in Toronto in 1908. My prior sighting of him was in the 1891 census, so he had to be somewhere in 1901.

I'd obviously not tried hard enough, as he should have been findable on a first name, birth date, spouse name search, but no, given what is now apparent.

A helpful researcher in Toronto had fed me some additional snippets for the family and it was time to input them, and try again to fill in the gaps.

I'd missed an additional son for the family, which isn't surprising given how his birth was indexed.

John Darde Stakes
Father's Name: Sampson Hurst Dame
Mother's Name: Maria Stakes

She had also found Maria and son John S DAWE in Edmonton in 1916.

Back to the 1901 census.
This time I tried searching for Maria instead of Sampson.
She would probably still be on my missing in action list if they hadn't just happened to be living with Maria's mother!
Sampson is indexed as Thompson, the DAWE family is indexed as JAIVE, but Maria is shown as daughter of Marrie STOKES, and thus indexed both as JAIVE and as STOKES. Bingo.
Corrections have been lodged.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

WikiTree & DNA

Ever since this post back in 2011 I've continued to sporadically use WikiTree.
Mainly as I "finish" a particular line and want to see what pops out, but also for research I've done for others, where they can then continue the tree on their own.

Over the last week that has been a concerted effort as my interest went up several notches.

Yes, it has always been a great collaborative site for a One World Tree,  ie everyone connected, and only appearing once (all going well!);
Yes it has always been Free;
Yes it has great privacy controls;
Yes it has a great range of navigation options - with dinky little icons for pedigrees, descendant lists etc;

Now however it has completely grabbed my attention as some tools have been added that help those of us trying to find our DNA matches.

If you've ventured into genetic genealogy and don't know where to find your matches, convince them to upload at least their pedigree to WikiTree AND enter which DNA test they've taken in the place provided (you can enter your name as Anonymous and restrict who can see what, but without a visible tree the main benefit of this may be a little compromised).

All the people impacted by the test will get a link posted against their profile (= page = person) saying It may be possible to confirm family relationships with (person x) by comparing against (link to test taker's name) (link to the test taken) test.

Read this article about which of the affected relations get the note added to them.

With the randomness of autosomal dna inheritance being explored using tests such as FamilyFinder (Family Tree DNA) or 23andme, anything that helps find where a match might be is most welcome.
None of this shows actual DNA results, only family tree connections with links to test taker and those impacted. It is up to you how much more you wish to share, eg in the free text biography section.

Even if you aren't interested in the DNA results, the note draws attention to possible newfound relations on a branch one or other of you may not have.

PS if thinking about venturing into genetic genealogy, now's a great time, Family Tree DNA are having a summer sale - details on my DNASurnames Blog.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Australian Melting Pot

The Australian melting pot strikes again.
Only once have I ever found a connection between my paternal ancestral forest and my maternal one.
Even then it was rather tenuous.
Helen CLYNE, a descendant of a FINLAYSON family who just have to be connected to my James FINLAYSON of Clayoch (Caithness), married John GIBSON in Victoria. Their son George, married his cousin Edna GIBSON, whose grandfather was my 2 greats grandmother's second husband, Capt John GIBSON. Confused? Of course.

Just this week another connection, slightly less tenuous, has popped out of the woodwork.
A thank you for posting the info on Jane SINTON was received, welcome, and surprising, in that not many people stop and thank you for the data being shared.
Another of the Sth Australian branches of the Jane SINTON/ James TELFER/TELFORD tree, originating on the Scottish Borders, has now been better documented.  Along the way the delights of the communal, free, WikiTree have also been shared, and Lisa is underway using software developed for the purpose of sharing family trees - but I do recommend that you don't fully trust online trees for your data - keep a master copy on your own computer using a good genie package ( I use TMG, but also recommend RootsMagic. Load any trials that take your fancy and try out one to suit you, data can always be shifted from one to the other using GEDCOM export/import).

The connection? In our initial email swap I noticed that Lisa also mentioned James son of Gaius WINES as one of her ancestors - Gaius' second wife was one Hannah WINES, one of my Somerset rellies from South Petherton. Chances are Gaius is as well, but the connection isn't documented , at least not that I currently know of. (Perhaps my Thomas and Gaius' grandfather Robert are siblings?).

I'd transcribed Gaius' 1869 will when I was in Taunton, way back in 1994.  It had mentioned ""and as I assisted all my sons when they emigrated to Australia I have not further provided for them by this my will but my desire is that if my son Robert shall return to England within 5 years after my said daughters shall have come into possession of my said property he shall receive the sum of ten pounds ... contributed and paid equally by my said daughters and that if either of my sons James and Sampson shall return to England within the like period then I wish him to have the sum of five pounds paid in like manner".
Tucked inside the will was an account: beavers and gloves £1; for cake 7s; cheese 6s; ale 6s; wine 2 4; bottle gin 3 6; Mr Clark for ham 8 3; owe John Banfield for one sack of barley; paid for butter  1 4; Sounds like a good send off.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Check the witnesses

Something drew me back to a branch of my DAWE family that emigrated to Quebec.
I'd not found anything conclusive about them after the 1881 census of Montreal.
This time round the Drouin collection showed an Emma Elizabeth DAWE marrying an Alexander COWAN in Montreal in 1890. unlike several marriage entries her parents weren't listed, and as I didn't have an Elizabeth in her name, the identification was tentative.
Witnesses: J A & Katie SMART.
That sounded familiar.
Back in 1881 a lodger in the household was one Julius SMART.
Took a few short searches of the Drouin collection to turn up a marriage of Emma's sister, Catherine Thomasine Mary DAWE, shown as daughter of Nathaniel DAWE & Catherine nee WATTS, witnesses Nathaniel DAWE, and Isaac Nathaniel DAWE (Catherine's father and brother).
So at least father, sister, and one brother Nathaniel had all survived beyond 1881.
Subsequently Catherine and Julius SMART & family, have been found up to 1911, parents Nathaniel and Catherine, with son Isaac were found in 1891, indexed on ancestry as DANE, then parents in 1901, but not a sign yet to be found of Alexander and Emma Elizabeth COWAN after their 1890 marriage - anyone know what happened to them?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Photo with legs

And it's up and running!

Found that someone had entered my great grandfather George Gibson ("Gibb") ANDREWS onto Geni, and there was a photo attached.
As I don't have one of him, I was rather interested in this, but somehow it didn't look right.
A bit young for my guestimate of the date of the clothes?
So investigations began.
The trail quickly leads back to a large number of MyHeritage trees, all with the same photo - but checking the actual photo, it is labelled William G ANDREWS, and their source was generally "copied from a smartmatch".
Several have now removed the photo agreeing that they'd simply copied it from a smartmatch without checking, but the assumed owner, the one with an actual William G ANDREWS in his tree who had died the same year as Gibb, but in Christchurch, has not yet responded to confirm that his is the original photo.
Jury still out, but I know where my vote lies.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Must be 4 or 5 years since ...

Somehow my McADIE branch always seems to get attention every 4 or 5 years.
Time's up.
I've been having fun checking out loose ends, merging duplicates in my database and seeing what else might now be around to identify who belongs to whom.
Only some 140 without an identified family to go (if I don't add more strays whilst digging)!

Along the way I have managed to finally connect up the James, married to Isabella BRUCE, living in Victoria (AUS) as definitely being the son of George & Elizabeth (ROSIE) McADIE.
As he was living "near"  Robert, who would be his brother,  it seemed likely, but now the proof has been found.
As were the necessary dots  to join up the Western Australian branch who had moved there from Victoria.

Need to figure out who William in Ararat  in 1874 is now - is he another brother? Or is their brother William the Customs Officer in London?
Or does he belong to Donald & Janet (MURRAY) McADIE, at least one of whose sons was also in Victoria (AUS)?

This time round I'm trying harder to find others who may be interested enough to help find direct male line McADIEs interested enough in the jigsaw to represent their line in the McADIE (and variants, which are legion) Surname DNA project to prove that all those lines from Watten are indeed closely related, even if we wont necessarily learn exactly how. Some of the other Caithness lines have descendant charts on my McADIE page (still under development).
Any direct male line McADIEs out there interested in seeing if they're a match to the representatives so far?
Failing a direct line male, how about a descendant willing to try a Family Finder test to see if we get a match to those of us who have tested?
Love to hear from you - see any of the above pages for contact info.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Loose end tied up

Over the years I'd often idly wondered whether or not there was a connection between my BAIN ancestors from Caithness, and those of a BAIN family with origins supposedly from Caithness, who lived in my childhood district (Central Otago, NZ).
Failing a connection to mine, what about one to the other BAIN family who also arrived in Dunedin about the same time, give or take 10-20 years, in the 1860s/1870s?
Attempts at connecting the latter BAIN family, that of William and Jacobina (MANSON) BAIN to my BAINs had failed, but we did end up connecting them, distantly, by the MANSONs.

The Central Otago BAINs worked back to a William, butcher, brought up in Kaikourai, Dunedin, emigrating about 1857 from Wick with his parents.
His marriage certificate said his parents were a George & Jessie BAIN and the most likely candidate was George Traill BAIN in Dunedin, BUT George and Jessie hadn't married until 1864, which didn't really "fit".

This week an idle web search brought up an article in the Otago Daily Times (the Dunedin paper) about a BAIN family reunion last year for descendants of George Traill BAIN and included a snippet that George had emigrated with wife Elizabeth, dtrs Catherine and Margaret and son William, in 1862 on the Silisia, wife and an infant dying on the voyage. George's cousin Janet later coming out to look after the children, and then marrying George.
This was sufficient information to identify the likely family as being that of William BAIN & Catherine SUTHERLAND of Thurdistoft (1841) then Tain (Catherine, 1851).
A fellow member of the Caithness Family History Society's message board had provided their 1841 census details some years ago, and it included Margaret, Catherine and William, of the right ages.

After all that it doesn't look as if they're likely to match my BAINs of Latheron (Clashscribie), but it was a satisfying loose end tied up.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

How lucky can you get?

Genetic genealogy, aka using DNA testing to (dis)prove theories and relationships between family trees, can be the luck of the draw.

Does anyone actually still exist that would be eligible for the appropriate test?
Has anyone with the right surname and genes tested yet?
Were the any mishaps down the generations between the shared ancestors?

You may recall the story of what happened when I voted at our local body elections a year or two back.

There is now a sequel.

Since then John has been back to England and met up with some of his newfound maternal grandmother's relations, but the GOVIER connection was still unproven/unsolved.  Was he actually a GOVIER by descent or in name only?

DNA testing, and a match to a GOVIER descendant of the Pitminster (Somerset) GOVIERs would be a great start to confirming that his step-grandfather was his actual grandfather despite the grandparents marrying in the year following his father's birth..

Along came a suitable price reduction in the entry level test for Y-DNA. This was enough for John to venture forth, with a bit of prompting. We had even found a couple of potential candidates from the Pitminster line to contact if necessary.

He was cautioned that at 12 markers it was more likely that he would get a number of matches from a variety of surnames, and that it really was only the start of the process, unlikely to be at all definitive given that such matches share an ancestor hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, rather than within genealogical time frames.

The Y-DNA12 results arrived today.
How many matches - one.
Surname - his.
Most distant ancestor - the same William GOVIER of Pitminster Somerset.

I'm not sure I want to suggest further testing and see this match fade away as the markers increase!


Monday, 22 April 2013


Given that updates seem to be flavour of the week, my RootsWeb WorldConnect db LornaHenderson has also been updated. It will therefore contain the last 4 months of updates to all those connected to my extended tree, along with some pockets of connections to those connections.
BMDBs (Births, Marriages, Deaths, Burials) as usual, plus this time Census events have been included, date and place only.

As before,  for source information you will still need to contact me to find out where the information shown was obtained. This is because the older source data has never been re-examined to ensure nothing private is inadvertently shown, eg email addresses, dates for living people.

There's one less "orphan", ie a person known to be connected somehow but not where or how.
However the definition of "sister" on a US immigration form proved rather loose.
I'd not been able to fit a sister, supposedly Mrs T C JENKINS, into the family concerned (Marshall METHERELL) and up to now had also not found the "sister" in the US census.
This time round I investigated Marshall a little more and found a second marriage, and a child in the Pennsylvania records - where the sponsors for the baptism of the child were Thomas and Jessie JENKINS.
Seemed too much of a coincidence. This time, with first names now available, Mrs T C JENKINS has been found, and identified as Jessie DAVEY, so  rather looks to be a sister of Marshall's first wife Ann DAVEY, instead of Marshall's sister.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

When is an update not an update?

When it's the 20th April and shown as such on my Recent Changes index.
All of those listed as "updated", with the exception of James ROWE and Jessie SUTHERLAND, are behind the scenes tidy ups with no information added.
James is there as his baptism and burial information have been checked, found wanting, and updated.
Jessie because her death in Victoria, Australia has now been found.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Big Brother updated

"Big Brother" is my main Family Tree set of web pages ("Little sis" being my very first set of webapges, VERY infrequently updated, see Home, for further explanation of what exists were).

If you are used to navigating the menus you will need to break old habits and find where they've shifted to.
SecondSite, the program used to generate these pages direct from my TMG genealogy database, has been updated and allowed me to use Sub Menus.
So all that clutter of surnames etc has been reduced to a much cleaner menu structure.
Everything that used to be there is still there, just shifted in the menu.
For any menu item showing an arrow, either click on the menu item and see an explanation about the offerings beneath it, or hover over the menu item and select a sub menu.
Failing that, why not use the Site Search?

In general, menu items in the sidebar are family specific, although the last three will take you to other sites where copies of my data exists in differently navigable forms.
Those in the top menu are links to other of my webpages.

Friday, 8 March 2013


Certainly pays to advertise (ie publish trees online).
A potential newfound cousin popped out of the woodwork this week asking about Walter FAIRBAIRN and Grace ARMSTRONG.
She had inherited some family letters and was trying to figure out who was related to whom, knowing only that one or other of them was an uncle or aunt to her great grandparents.
I'm still awaiting a response to my information, but in the meantime have done a bit more digging on the family and pinned down another twig having found what looks like Walter and Grace's granddaughter Grace MURRAY in Manitoba.
Updates will added to the WorldConnect db LornaHenderson once proof found that it's the right Grace.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Connections, Connections!

For publishing genealogy data on my webpages I use SecondSite, which is an extremely flexible, and very well supported add-on to my genealogy software of choice, The Master Genealogist (TMG).

However, I also use The Next Generation (TNG) for some smaller projects, which can be used directly as an online genealogy database,  and thus shared with others interested in the same families - sort of WikiTree but under local control.
It also is very well supported.

Both have dedicated, active,  user communities and I belong to mailing lists for both.
Some of you may be aware that are running an online survey at the moment about the best genealogy software, online trees etc etc.
It is of course extremely selective, unscientific, and ballot box stuffing readily occurs.
Some on the TNG list were wondering what this SecondSite program was that was creeping up the votes.
Comments were a little ill-informed so I piped up and gave a link to a couple of my websites.

Didn't expect what happened next.
A private email turned up from Teresa saying we were 8th cousins!
Her website has a number of families of interest to me, and has allowed me to reduce the number of parentless South West Devon people in my database.  Of particular interest was the 1654 will of Walter NARRAMORE whose children are named as NORTHMORE.
Not that this helped me find my Elizabeth NORTHMORE.
Many of the NORTHOMOREs in my database are descendants of this Walter.

Walter lived at Ideford, but states in his will "I purchased of John Elford of Shister Esquire these Messuages Lands and Tenements called Chubstone otherwise Scotland lyin in Shutstor aforesaid for nynty and nyne yeares".

All of which was completely incidental to our relationship which is back at James BARTER of Lower Dittisham, Teresa descending from his daughter Mary, who married William LIGHT.

With the string of names in her tree from around this area of Devon, our trees probably interconnect many times over.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Maternal side DNA

A string of Family Finder results have finally made it through the system, one long shot didn't expand our knowledge of the RUNCIMAN dna that may have been shared with the remote RUNCIMAN/RICHARDSON match we found a while ago, but two of the other tests resulted in matches to explore further, refining which bits survived the inheritance process down from the ANDREWS in particular.
The pic above is of the Family Tree DNA chromosome browser tool and shows my matches with three of my maternal relations with the key showing which surnames may be involved in the resulting matches, the newly received data being from a third cousin once removed whose closest shared ancestors with me are Simon ANDREWS and Jane GIBSON.

Another set of results shows some data shared with my BAIN fourth cousin but that part of my tree is not well represented with FamilyFinder results as yet.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Lack of recent posts doesn't mean no activity.
It's been HENDERSON time again, with contacts from descendants of at least two different children of Archibald and Margaret (McEWAN) HENDERSON - one in British Columbia, a descendant of their daughter Margaret, the other a descendant of their son John.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Theory blown

Ah well, win some lose some, or in this case, lose one, win some.
My  recently created RICHARDSON page outlined my theory that  the James who married Margaret MABON, and was widowed in 1812, went on to marry Christian OUTERSON and emigrate to Quebec.
A descendant of James & Margaret has popped out of the woodwork and shared his DNA results (many thanks).
These have been converted, where possible, to match our existing FamilyTree DNA results and now appear on the RICHARDSON page at DNA Surnames.
They make it look unlikely that we are talking about the same James here.

The "win" in the equation however is that we now have three matching Border RICHARDSON trees!
Exactly where they connect however remains to be seen.

Three trees down, how many others to go?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

ANDREWS of Martock

The publication of Jane GIBSON yesterday led me to dig out my 20 year old research (mine and others) in/on Martock (Somerset), the haunts of the ANDREWS.
Some of the results may be seen in the new page for The ANDREWS (which bears an uncanny resemblance to the recently introduced one for the DAWEs).
Some year we may find out whether or not the John & Susannah (CULLIFORD) ANDREWS family are related to the suggested tree for my John & Rebekah (WINES) ANDREWS - but I suspect we'll have to resort to Y-DNA testing to do so - direct male line ANDREWS welcome to enrol in the ANDREWS Surname DNA project - but please let know you've done so, as this isn't one of my projects.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Match or not?

Margaret BAIN nee SUTHERLAND of Stockyard Hill has been included on my main webpages.
This was prompted by a MyHeritage message that someone interested in the SUTHERLAND side of this tree had confirmed the MyHeritage "SmartMatch" for 3 of the family, but rejected that for Margaret and her father.
Hopefully they'll look further and realise the error of their ways

Original Docs

In keeping with NY resolutions - my Original Documents subsite has also been updated.
Most people found there are also published elsewhere, but the distinction is that copies of the original documents that merited their inclusion on the site are also available - click on the little camera icons after the events concerned.  Not all the pictures have been appropriately sized for web viewing, there's only so many hours in a day/week/year.
Near the top of most narratives will also be a link back to my main pages for more info, but none of the original files attached.

What prompted this update wasn't actually a New Year's resolution, but the realisation that my two greats grandmother Jane ANDREWS nee GIBSON hadn't been tidied up for publication, and I couldn't resist including the newspaper clippings about her enforced evacuation from New Plymouth to Nelson during the Maori Wars.
What I hadn't realised until now, with the much easier searching of newspapers using Papers Past, that it was Simon who hadn't wanted her to go to Nelson. Back when such finds had to be done the hard way by reading the actual newspapers, or relying on the wonderful journals of Fred Butler in the New Pymouth archives, I'd only found the first of the articles now included.

RootsWeb Freepages

New Year's resolution kept - update my Rootsweb site more often.  It only took  a year and a half to get round to that!
For a short time it will be the most up to date of my sites.
Took the opportunity to tweak a few bits and bobs and provide a few more cross references to the fuller surname pages on Big Brother.

Have a great 2013.