Sunday, 7 September 2014

Under my nose

Solved one of my long standing mysteries today.
Joan who shares an interest in my FAIRBAIRN family of Walter and Grace (ARMSTRONG) FAIRBAIRN of Tinnishall, Canonbie, popped out of the woodwork again to share an 1891 letter from Grace to her nephew, John LITTLE.
She had mentioned it a year or so ago, and back then my efforts at solving the mystery of what happened to Walter and Grace's son William had continued as a brick wall.

The letter explicitly mentioned where Grace's family were on 6th March 1891, including William, whom I had not found beyond the 1851 census when he was at home with Walter and Grace as William FAIRBAIRN, 5, son, born Canonbie.
So he had survived.

How hard can it be to find a William FAIRBAIRN, florist in Hampshire in the 1891 census of 4 April when his mother had mentioned him on the 6th of March? But no, still no sightings 1861 to 1911, Scotland or England.

The answer was right under my nose all along of course.

As his birth had preceded Walter and Grace's marriage by a couple of years, I went looking for births of William's in Canonbie to mother Grace ARMSTRONG.
Two presented themselves in the right timeframes.
One was with Andrew DAVIDSON, but that family included children back to when Grace would have been only 12.
The other was a William born 1845 to William WHITE and Grace ARMSTRONG, no other children obvious.

Off to ScotlandsPeople to see what the baptism actually said.
Only to find that they showed that I'd already viewed the record!
Perhaps I'd gotten sidetracked back whenever, and simply forgotten I'd checked that, or possibly checked and discarded but not noted anything in my records?
All was explained when the page was re-examined.
The page was headed 1855.
Three baptisms with Grace as the mother were all on the same page, the first WHITE, William born Jun 1845, baptized Mar 1845, to William WHITE and Grace, the next two, both FAIRBAIRN, Agnes and Margaret to Walter FAIRBAIRN and Grace.
I'd only ever looked at the FAIRBAIRN entries I was initially interested in and not looked up the page!

Yes, now easily viewed in 1871 (gardener at Capenoch, Dumfries), 1881 (gardener at Mortlake, Surrey with wife Helen), and 1891 there he was in Havant, Hants as a florist, all as William WHITE.

Still missing in action in 1861.