Thursday, 15 January 2015

Needle in haystack found

For many years a family story that Margaret HENDERSON and Robert SMITH's family also included a daughter who died as an infant on the voyage to NZ, sat in the too hard basket.
Find a SMITH somewhere between Lanarkshire and Otago around the 1880s?
When my original notes showed differing information as to which ship they came out on?

Wasn't actually that hard at all.
There weren't many SMITHs registered in Carnwath in the right timeframes, and really only one likely gap in the family, and only about 5 or 6 females registered at that time, 3 or 4 of them had middle names as well so they seemed unlikely, and several were on the verge of too close to other known children, which left the two most likely, a Jean and a Mary.
Yes, it took me two certs to get the right one, Mary.

Could I confirm the "died on voyage" story?
Well yes, that too fell into place. I picked the first of the two ship options provided, "Marlborough" or "Nelson", and searched PapersPast for the name in conjunction with "arrival" and "measles" in the approximate timeframe.

Although I've not found any passenger lists, yet, for the voyage of the "Marlborough" that arrived at Port Chalmers, it did have documented cases of measles on board (part of the information supplied by a fellow researcher re the ship).
The steerage passengers were embarked to "the island" (must find out more about that) and the cabin passengers allowed to stay on board the ship which now boasted a yellow quarantine flag.

The newspaper (Otago Witness Issue 1469, 10 January 1880, Page 14) reported "six deaths, all children, the eldest, being 10 years four from measles, one from suppurating sore throat, and one from acute bronchitis— the last death occurring on the 7th, when rounding Cape Saunders, the body being still on board the vessel."

What came up trumps however is this wonderful site:
which documented the deaths, and included a three year old Mary SMITH, of measles.

A bonus of the above page about the "Marlborough" is the sad story of its fate.
The story of the  "Mary Celeste" sprang to mind - although the latter's crew weren't on board as skeletons. (If you think you know about the Marie Celeste, read the pages at the link!)

Henderson Chromosome Map

Results have arrived in from another branch of the family of James HENDERSON & Amelia MILLAR.
Further corroboration of one segment, and one newly identified one.
So time to update the chromosome map.
Check out for the current state of play.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Another intriguing dna match

Two American first cousins (HEATLIE) appear in my Ancestry dna matches.
As yet we have no real indication as to which line of their ancestry is to blame for this, nor exactly which chromosome this match is on, only that Ancestry defines it as "High" to one, and Moderate" to the other. (When will Ancestry DNA learn to provide customers with the detail we've paid for?)

As part of their paternal side tree is already known to me, without any apparent dna matches, I'm assuming, until more info is available eg from an upload of their ancestry data file to or a transfer to FamilyTreeDNA that the match belongs up the ancestry of Margaret Robson HOGG (who married David Brunton HEATLIE).

Love to hear from any dna tested descendants of any of the people shown in this pedigree in order to refine where the match might be.
NB some of this pedigree differs from that on ancestry trees, certificates available on request.
Birth places: Roberton (Selkirkshire); Hobkirk, Yetholm (Roxburghshire); Lauder, Legerwood, Westruther (Berwickshire),

Sunday, 4 January 2015

And another DNA success?

This one is much more tentative, but nonetheless very interesting for me.
One of my genealogy mysteries, aka brickwall, is the parentage of Amelia MILLAR, my 2*great grandmother.
Her granddaughter provided the information that her mother was "a Miss Chrystal", Amelia's death cert, the information that her father was a James MILLAR and that she was born in Kippen, Stirlingshire.
Sum total of "known" information as to her origins.
DNA matches to date have indicated that there might be some Irish connections in there somewhere, but nothing has given me a "BINGO" moment.
This however has just come close.
As a DNA addict, I've tested at all three main genetic genealogy companies: FamilyTreeDNA, 23andme, and Ancestry.
The latter drives me potty as it simply does not provide the information necessary to confirm where you match, just provides  an indication of the strength of your match, and a link to the test takers' trees.
The match can be anywhere, or nowhere, on such trees and without a chromosome browser to show you what segment of dna you share, and who else shares that segment of inherited DNA with you, it's guesswork.
Which is where the wonderful independent site, run by a dedicated group of volunteers,, comes in.
If only all my Ancestry matches would upload their data there, I'd be happy.
Enough of a rant.

So why am I excited by an ancestry match that I know nothing much about yet?
The attached tree had a MILLAR of Kippen in it, and around the right timeframes.
It gets better.
Their ancestor was a Jane ROBERTSON bap. 1811 St Ninians, married (1835 Fintry) a George HUTTON born Lochwinnoch (Renfrewshire), and emigrated to Quebec between about 1847 and 1851.
Jane's parents are shown as Duncan ROBERTSON & Margaret MILLAR who married 1798, Kippen.
Which rang bells.
My research into the family differs from that on a couple of ancestry trees, and is more exciting!

The last time I dug around to see what might now be available for MILLARs and CHRYSTALs around Kippen I found a death cert. for a Margaret MILLAR who just happened to be married to a Duncan ROBERTSON, and had the fortune (for us) to die in 1855, the year civil registration started in Scotland, where the certs for that year have a wealth of information on them.
Yes, a daughter Jane was shown as aged 44 on the certificate (as was a son James Chrystal ROBERTSON).
I've not yet found any other candidates than the emigrant Jane for Duncan and Margaret's daughter Jane, and the naming pattern of Jane and George's children "fits".

Who were Margaret MILLAR's parents?
A David MILLAR and an Elizabeth CHRYSTAL.
Research back then had shown David and Elizabeth also had a son James of an age to have had a daughter around 1817. Pity Amelia's death cert. provides no hints as to her father's occupation. This one was a mason, dying a pauper in 1863, no indication that he had been married. Back when I found him last year, I couldn't find him in the censuses. Still looking for earlier than 1861 now.

Anyway, the family of Duncan and Margaret (MILLAR) ROBERTSON, and some of the CHRYSTALs of Kippen have now been included in my WorldConnect database LornaFishing.
I'd LOVE to hear from any descendants who have undertaken DNA testing and work with them to explore an potential hints to see if this is indeed the line where my ancestry dna match belongs.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Gone fishing.

I've added a new database to my WorldConnect account - LornaFishing.
It joins:
  • LornaHenderson - the known relations (mostly those) no longer with us, and their connections and inter-connections
  • LornaPotential - those researched for potential connections
  • and some RUNCIMAN data there.

LornaFishing consists only of families I have researched because of DNA matches in the hope of finding yet another descendant of the family who has tested and whose absence or presence of a match will help pinpoint that the researched line is indeed where the match belongs.

Of particular interest:

I've still to transfer into LornaFishing some of the families previously researched and published in  LornaPotential as I've decided to separate out general research from DNA match targetted research.

Identically named trees exist on both and on MyHeritage, for exactly the same purpose, and I make no pretence that the three trees contain the same set of people, but the purpose is identical in all instances.
So if you spot an ancestor in any of the above trees and  have tested your autosomal DNA, do let me know, I'd love to swap notes and compare DNA to see if a match holds up on the lines suspected.