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.