Certified Muddle

Came across something interesting today…

Leah Yeomans birth date on the 1939 register is listed as 5 Jan 1896. However, on her official birth certificate, the year of birth is recorded as 1897. Since you would imagine a birth certificate to be more accurate, I’ve always recorded her year of birth as 1897. But as I was going through the records again, I wondered which was more accurate. Human error needs to be considered in both cases here.

Leah Yeomans in the 1939 register – recorded under her married name, Lamb
Certified Copy of Leah Yeomans’ birth entry

It was only minutes later that I came across another example within the same family.

The marriage certificate of Leah Yeomans’ parents lists their year of marriage as 1874.
Today, I found an image of the original marriage entry from the parish records that shows the year may actually be 1875.

Certified copy of James Yeomans & Mary Johnson’s marriage entry
Original image of James Yeomans & Mary Johnson’s marriage entry

In this case, the confusion stems from the year in the title being 1875 and the year within the entry as 1874. The other 3 entries on the image all have the same anomaly (both being recorded as 1875 and 1874). Fortunately I was able to see the previous & following pages and it seems to be an error only on this particular page – the title year should actually read 1874.

My decision is to record Leah Yeomans birth year as 1897 (since the year is repeated 3 times within the entry, it’s less likely to be a mistake) and her parents’ marriage as 1874.

The Will of James Findlay

 

Port Henry Harbour (via The Buchan Heritage Society)

James Findlay and his wife, Helen Buchan were living at 29 Port Henry Road in April of 1881 with 6 of their 8 children (Jane Ann & Agnes appear to be in service at this time). James was a boat builder and ship carpenter and they had been married for 20 years.

The Findlay family in 1881

Sadly, only a few years later,  both James and Helen were dead. Helen died of dropsy in 1885 and the following year James died of pernicious anaemia, leaving behind their young family.

Approximate age of James Findlay’s children at the time of his death:

  • James 23
  • Jane Ann 21
  • Agnes 20
  • Margaret 17
  • William 14
  • Arthur 10
  • John 8
  • Helen 6

(note: Another daughter named Helen (b.1870) died before 1880)

James’ estate was only valued as a total of £18 14s (equivalent to roughly £1500 in today’s money) but he also owned the house on Port Henry Rd* where the family lived.

Extract Inventory of James Findlay

 

On the surface, there wasn’t a lot of genealogical information in these documents (the only relative named was his son), yet it still managed to indicate the care he had for his family.

1886 Will of James Findlay (img 690)

 

…(First) My said Trustees and their foresaids shall as soon as convenient assign convey and deliver to my son James Findlay Junior Fisherman Port Henry Road Peterhead the whole of my moveable estate in consideration of which the said James Findlay Junior shall be bound to pay my debts and funeral expenses including sums due to my children for money lent to me (Second) My said Trustees and their foresaids shall allow the said James Findlay Junior to occupy free of rent with power of subletting my house in Port Henry Road on condition that the said James Findlay Junior shall (in the first place) maintain such of my children as are under the age of seventeen years until the said children or the survivors of them individually reach the age of seventeen years or give such assistance as said children require for their maintenance in addition to their own earnings Declaring that I wish my children to understand that my desire is that they shall as soon as possible do what they can to maintain themselves Declaring further that the said James Findlay Junior shall not be bound to maintain or assist in maintaining any of said children unless they are content to live in family with him in his house and (in the second place) provide a free lodging in said house for such of my daughters as are unmarried though above the age of seventeen during such time as said unmarried daughters have no other home open to them but [beyond] the simple shelter of his house the said James Findlay Junior shall not be bound to maintain or assist in maintaining any daughter beyond the age of seventeen.  This provision in favor of unmarried daughters shall cease to be binding when as hereinafter provided my house is conveyed to the said James Findlay Junior in absolute property or is sold Declaring that the said James Junior shall not be bound to perform any of the above conditions in favor of my children and unmarried daughters unless said children and unmarried daughters conduct themselves properly and to the satisfaction of my said Trustees and their foresaids (Third) When my youngest child then alive attains the age of seventeen years if the said James Junior is alive and has fulfilled the above conditions of maintaining my younger children and providing a lodging for my unmarried daughters my said Trustees or their foresaids shall convey my said house to the said James Findlay Junior as his absolute property…

Basically, James willed that his eldest son James Jr would inherit his estate and take ownership of the house, as long as he continued to provide for the younger children until they were 17 years of age and behaved themselves (but desired that they try to maintain themselves as soon as possible). He also hoped that James Jr would allow his unmarried sisters above the age of 17 to lodge rent free in the family home if needed, but wasn’t bound to support them outside this. James Jr appeared to have honoured his father’s wishes.

On the 1891 census, Arthur & John were recorded still with him on the 1891 census. Margaret was boarding with sister, Jane Ann in Almanythie Lane (2 streets over) and the youngest, Helen, was recorded with older sister Agnes in Port Henry Lane (a lane connecting Longate to the harbour – since demolished).  I have as yet been unable to locate William.

Arthur and John living with James Findlay Jr in Port Henry Road 1891

Helen living with sister Agnes in Port Henry Lane 1891

Margaret living with sister Jane Ann in 1891

 

Map of Peterhead c.1900 showing Port Henry Road & Almanythie Road

Interestingly one of the named executors refused the role.  John Suttar was a long established local merchant who “carried on an extensive trade with the fishing community” [Aberdeen People’s Journal 15 December 1906 p9] and John Gilchrist Mitchell was a fish curer whose son was the solicitor named in the will, Henry Benjamin Gilchrist. Both were clearly acquainted with James and may have even been close friends but as Suttar declined it’s unclear.

*house number seems to change but still refer to same address

Wheeley Interesting

Researching the children of Thomas Henry WHEELEY led me to a few interesting discoveries this morning – particularly to do with his eldest daughters.

His first born daughter, Gertrude Annie Wheeley married a Thomas Fox in 1900 at St Andrews Church, Walsall. His second born daughter, Blanche Emma Wheeley was there and signed as a witness to the marriage along with possibly their younger brother, Thomas (presuming that the father would have signed his name as Thomas Henry as recorded above).

Marriage entry of Gertrude Annie Wheeley & Thomas Fox

The next year, Gertrude Annie married a man called William Henry Marston.  William was Roman Catholic and I was surprised to see the marriage entry recorded in latin (this is the first instance of Catholic records in my research).

Marriage entry of Blanche Emma Wheeley & William Henry Marston

Checking the census, I was pleased to find the sisters together – Blanche was visiting Gertrude at their Inn in Darlaston – the Britannia. Blanche had also brought along their 5 year old sister, Hilda.

1901 census showing Wheeley siblings staying with Gertrude Annie and her husband Thomas

I always love finding entries like these as it shows how the families were still in touch throughout the years but it turns out this was not such a happy story. Blanche was in fact staying with her sister after an altercation with her new husband and his mother.

In an article headed, ‘SOON TIRED OF MATRIMONIAL LIFE’, it outlined how the relationship soured after only 5 weeks (!) of marriage:

The parties were only married in January this year, and went to live defendant’s mother in Lumley Road, Walsall. Unpleasantness seemed to have arisen through the defendant’s mother, and the defendant always appeared to side with his mother. Five weeks after the marriage the defendant ordered his wife to leave the house on two occasions. On March 26th a dispute arose between the complainant and the defendant’s mother, and the defendant then practically turned his wife out of the house. The following day complainant went with her own mother to defendant to see what he was going to do. Defendant declined to have her back again and told her that if she wanted anything from him for her maintenance she would have to go to law to get it.

Sounds like William tried to make out it was because she was running him into debt but it seems like this was untrue as their was only a small amount owing for groceries. William was ordered to pay Blanche 12s 6d a week (approximately £48 in today’s money – worth about a day’s wages at the time).

Walsall Advertiser 20 April 1901 p8 c7

The address given by Blanche was her sister’s residence – the Brittania Inn. Another interesting point was that this incident happened only 5 days before the census evening (31 March 1901).

Hopefully, Blanche had a happy ending…

Wills and Williams

I was overjoyed to find the will of William GLAISTER (1816 – 1883) on the FamilySearch site in the Archives New Zealand probate records collection.  He was a {white & black}smith of Kelso in Roxburghshire, Scotland before emigrating to Dunedin, New Zealand in 1872.   [This William was also the subject of a previous post – Addressing Up]

In summary (from what I can make out):

  • All his tools were to be given to his son Edward
  • Ten pounds were to be given to each of his three (male) grandchildren
  • Janet was to be allowed to use and occupy his house and home and given an income for life (she was to die only 2 years later)
  • Section 235 & 236 of The Glen were to be given to his sons Edward & Thomas (as long as his debts were satisfied)
  • Everything else was to be sold off and the money shared between all his children

However, I was curious as to why only two of his sons, Edward and Thomas, and three of his grandchildren were mentioned by name in his will?  Also, his two executors, William Sinclair and Alfred Kingston Smith were not his sons so who were they?

Below is a transcription of the will (written 3rd of March 1883) with the names in bold typeface [indentation added by me for ease of reference]:

This is the last will and testament of me William Glaister of The Glen near Dunedin in the Provincial district of Otago and Colony of New Zealand Whitesmith. I appoint William Sinclair of Dunedin aforesaid Warehouseman and Alfred Kingston Smith of the same place Fishmonger Executors of this my will

I give and bequeath to my son Edward Glaister all the tools of my trade and to each of my grand children William Smith, William Sinclair the younger and William Glaister the sum of Ten pounds

I give devise and bequeath unto the said William Sinclair and Alfred Kingston Smith and the survivor of them the heirs executors and administrators of such survivor hereinafter referred to as my said Trustees all my real and personal estate upon trust to permit and suffer my wife Janet Glaister to use occupy and enjoy all my real estate whatsover without impeachment of waste and also all my household furniture and such of my personal estate (other than money) as my said attorney wife may require without being responsible for any loss or diminution in value which may arise therefrom

And as to the residue (if any) of my personal estate upon trust to sell and convert the same into money and after payment of all my just debts legacies funeral and testamentary expense to invest or apply the same as hereinafter appears

And from and after the death of my said wife as to section two hundred and thirty five (235) The Glen upon trust for my son Edward Glaister subject to the proviso hereinafter contained and as to section two hundred and thirty six (236) The Glen upon trust for my son Thomas Glaister subject to the proviso hereinafter contained

And as to all the residue of my real and personal estate upon trust to sell and convert the same (or such part thereof as shall not consist of money into money and shall stand possessed of the moneys to arise from such sale and conversion of my estate and such part thereof as shall consist of money upon trust for all my children equally share and share alike

And I hereby declare that any money in the hands of my Trustees may be invested by them of depositing the same in any Bank, Building Society or public Company or in any way which my said Trustees may seem desirable

And I hereby empower my said Trustees to pay the income thereof to my said wife during her life and if they shall deem it necessary so to do to apply the whole or any part of the principal sum then in their hands for her support and maintenance anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding.

And I do hereby declare that if my personal estate shall prove insufficient for the payment of my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses and the legacies to my grand children the deficiency shall be paid by my sons Edward Glaister and Thomas Glaister in equal shares and if both or either of them shall fail or neglect to pay the sum necessary for this purpose within twelve months after the same shall have been demanded from them or him it shall be lawful for my said Trustees to sell the sections or section to which they or he would have been entitled and after payment thereout of all my expenses attending such sales or sale and the proportionate amount so required for payment of the said debts expenses and legacies to stand possessed of the proceeds of such sales or sale for the persons or person who would have been entitled to the said sections or section if such sale or sales had not been made [In witness] whereof I have hereunto set my hand this third day of March One thousand eight hundred and eighty three

Signature of William Glaister (1816 – 1883) as it appears on his last will and testament

 

William married twice; his first wife Margaret MURRAY died sometime between 1853 and 1857 when he married his second wife, Janet Waldie.  He had 8 children – 4 with each wife:

Children with 1st wife Margaret:
Robert 1844
Janet 1846
Margaret 1851
William Murray 1853

Children with 2nd wife Janet:
Barbara 1858
John 1860
Edward 1863
Thomas 1866

First step was to work out who was still alive at the time the will was written.

Janet died at just 2 years of age in 1848 and John died 2 years before the will was written at the age of 21.

Burial entry of Janet Glaister 1846-1848

 

Death notice of John Glaister, Otago Daily Times, Issue 6106, 5 September 1881

Next step, the surnames of the grandchildren were a hint that his executors were actually his sons-in-law.  Searching NZ BDM online gave a William Richard Smith born to Alfred Kingston Smith and Margaret in 1874 and William Donald Sinclair born to William Sinclair and Barbarain 1878.  This then led me to the marriages of William’s two surviving daughters, Margaret and Barbara confirming that they were indeed married to the two executors. I then searched for the grandchildren using the parents’ names:

Children of Margaret Glaister & Alfred Kingston Smith

Possible children of Barbara Glaister and William Sinclair

Children with 1st wife Margaret:
Robert
1844
Janet 1846 – 1848died at 2 years of age
Margaret 1851 – married Alfred Kingston Smith in 1874 (executor); their first son, William Richard Smith (b.1874) (1st grandson mentioned)
William Murray 1853 – 1917 – his son, William David Murray Glaister (b.1879) (3rd grandson mentioned)

Children with 2nd wife Janet:
Barbara
1858 – married William Sinclair in 1878 (executor); their first son, William Donald Sinclair (b.1878) (2nd grandson mentioned)
John 1860 – 1881 – died 2 years before the will was written
Edward 1863
Thomas 1866

[The names of people referred to in the will in green bold typeface]

So it seems as though only Edward & Thomas were specifically provided for as they were underage at the time (not yet 21); the 3 grandchildren were the eldest grandsons and possibly the only males alive at the time (though no deaths or other records have yet been found for James Robertson Sinclair); and the executors of the will were William’s daughters husbands. The daughters & grandaughters, as was often the custom in these times, were ignored.

It still doesn’t clear up why his eldest son, Robert (who appears not to have married) nor his second eldest, William Murray (my ancestor) were not the executors, let alone mentioned at all.

Next Steps:

  • Find out more about eldest son, Robert Glaister b. 1844

Genealogical Jurisprudence

Professor John Glaister (1856 – 1932)

Professor John Glaister (1856 – 1932) was a Scottish forensic scientist who often appeared as an expert witness in famous legal cases of the time. He authored A Text-book of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology which was apparently quite an important reference work in those medical/legal circles of the time.

There has been a long held belief in my family that we are related to him, however I have never been able to find evidence of this.  My grandmother had first mentioned it to me but there is also a reference to the relationship in a letter my grandfather wrote to his son in 1979:

When we were in N.Z. someone told us that Aunt Amy when she was in Scotland looked up the Glaisters & Gerard Glaister is one of our relations. My maternal Grand-father was the only Glaister that wasn’t a Dr – [written above: (he was a blacksmith & my cousin Tom Allan showed me his coach-builders hand book when were in NZ.) ] & we had one of his books on veterinary [surgery] with coloured plates of horses insides when I was a kid. Tom Allen had a photo of my Grand-dad Glaister’s FATHER’s house on a Scottish estate – the house was given to him on his retirement as vet. So it looks something like this:

Incidently my uncle Murray Glaister met Prof. Glaister before the war.

+ one of his two sons (my cousin) was in the N.Z. New Years Honours list for his contribution to the meat industry.

*I believe the uncle he refers to as Murray is actually William David Murray Glaister (a solicitor in Auckland) as he was the only boy of William Murray GLAISTER & Alice Ann WHITE that lived; Aunt Amy is likely Amy Glaister/Pile; Gerard Glaister seems to refer to the British television producer and director ; I’m not sure who cousin Tom Allen refers to or the ‘meat industry contributor’.*

Seemingly lots of family information to help me piece things together but unfortunately, I know immediately that Grandad was mistaken in a few things:

  1. It was actually his maternal great great Grandfather who was a vet (Robert GLAISTER).
  2. His grandfather’s father, William GLAISTER (missing from this sketch) was also a blacksmith and it was actually HIS father who was the vet.
  3. The DR S recorded as a brother to the coach builder (William Murray GLAISTER) does not exist (at least not as this relationship – He had a brother called Stephen Glaister who was also a blacksmith.)
  4. Professor John Glaister’s grandfather was a John Glaister NOT Robert GLAISTER the veterinarian
  5. ‘…only Glaister that wasn’t a Dr…’ – no known doctors in this part of the family apart from a few veterinary surgeons

So my general assumption was that the family were mistaken and there is no link to my family.

HOWEVER:

While trawling the NZ Papers Past website for the Glaister name, I came across this article from 1932:

 

Auckland Star – 19 December 1932

 

…His death reveals a link with Auckland and New Zealand. When his daughter, now Mrs. Woodruff, was passing through Auckland to Melbourne to be married in 1919, she accidentally came into contact with the name Glaister, and made the acquaintance of Mr. W. P. M. Glaister,barrister, of this city. Subsequently Professor Glaister, who was compiling a history of the Glaister clan, communicated with Mr. Glaister, and as a result was able to furnish a genealogical history of the New Zealand branch of the Glaister clan from about 1800. Besides his specialist work in criminology Professor Glaister had wide interests, medical and scientific.

So according to this, ‘Uncle Murray’ had contact with Professor Glaister’s daughter and eventually communicated with him.  It doesn’t say ‘met’ but this was certainly ‘before the war’ so there WAS some truth to that statement.  The comment, ‘as a result was able to furnish a genealogical history of the New Zealand branch of the Glaister clan from about 1800’ isn’t exactly clear but does seem to imply that there WAS some link between both families. So for now, my search goes on…

Next Steps:

  • Determine exactly who cousin Tom Allen was & the ‘meat industry contributor’
  • Contact relatives who may still hold the books, papers and photographs referred to in the letter
  • Prepare tree of descendants of Robert GLAISTER to compare to Grandad’s sketch
  • Find link to Professor John Glaister’s family