Monday, 2 December 2013

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.

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