While trawling through the parish registers of St Combs, I came across a record for a Charles Gordon BUCHAN. It was quite rare to come across a middle name in this family (as opposed to a tee name) and wondered if it was reference to the mother’s maiden name.
Alexander Buchan (Skipper) in Cairnglass had a son baptd named Charles Gordon. W[itnesses] John Strachan (*sley) & James Buchan.
It was the first time I’d come across ‘Cairnglass’ and found more about the place in the Ordnance Survey Books:
A superior farmsteading on the estate of Cairness. The property of Jas W Gordon Esqr.
I recall reading somewhere that tenant farmers sometimes named their children after land owners so it’s highly likely that Alexander Buchan of Cairnglass names his son in honour of the owner of his farm. However, this seemed based on the valuation roll of 1869/70 – 85 years later – so proof would be needed that this property was in the Gordon family for some time.
A search for the Gordon name and Cairness brought up a page for Charles Gordon, 7th of Buthlaw and 1st of Cairness. He lived at the correct time and therefore lends credence to the idea Charles Gordon BUCHAN was named after him. If anyone knows anything for or against this conclusion, I’d be very interested to hear about it.
Dear Father, I think I have a little good news to tell you, but of course do not rely too much on what I am going to say as you know in the Army things may be altered at the last moment. We have just received news here that the Main Body are being sent home, and will probably leave any day. I think the news is fairly reliable as the old hands have had their names taken and according to what I hear they are making arrangements in England for the transportation home… …if that is the case I will be well on the way by the time this reaches you, and will be able to spend a very enjoyable Xmas at home. (20.9.17)
This letter was written to John Buchan (1858-1926) from his son Arthur from the battlefields in Belgium. Sadly, he never got to spend that ‘enjoyable Xmas at home’ as a week later, Private Arthur Buchan of the ‘Main Body’ was gassed and received gunshot wounds to his head and arm. He died only ten days after writing that hopeful letter to his father.
In 1893, Arthur was a 2 year old boy emigrating to New Zealand aboard the Rimutaka (seen in a previous post); the cousin of my great-grandfather, Charles Buchan (also aboard).
In 1917, Arthur was one of the 400 000 who died in the Battle of Passchendaele.
This year commemorates the centenary of this horrific event, also known as the ‘Third Battle of Ypres’.
A letter from a friend to Arthur’s cousin, Bill (my GGF Charles Buchan’s brother) gives more detail on the incident that led to his death:
We were in the old Hun front line at Ypres, in front of the village of St Jean & were to go into the advanced front line next evening. Early in the morning Fritz sent over gas shells & we had our masks on for 4 1/2 hours when we got word that it was clear. We were just settling down again to sleep when he sent a stray one over which landed clean on the duckboard in the corner of the bay. Arthur was lying in the transverse & it landed within a yard of his feet and in addition to gassing him wounded him in three places namely, temple, left wrist shattered & a bad smack in the right shoulder. He was very game &, bad as he was, insisted in walking out himself. He was carried out though and I can truthfully say was not in any pain. The gas is very poisonous & I think that is the cause of his death as another chap got only a small piece in the back and died the next day… A McLennan (24.10.17)
Cousin Bill wrote from his own hospital bed in Walton on Thames to his Uncle John in New Zealand:
I have often told you he was a son and a brother to be proud of – a brave and fearless soldier who was ever ready to volunteer for any dangerous work. From time to time I have met men who had been in the trenches with him and their frank admiration of him as a soldier and acomrade has made me proud that I bear his name. His many friends at Walton ask me to convey to you their sincere sympathy – his loss is deeply regretted by everyone he knew in the village… the real grief I met with on every hand is the best testimony to the manner in which he had endeared himself to all…
Perhaps even more tragic is the postscript of the same letter, which reads:
I have just seen the latest casualty list with Billie’s name on it. What can I say? May God be with you in your time of trouble and comfort you in your bereavement.
Billie was Arthur’s younger brother who died on October 24, 1917, less than a month after his elder sibling. A letter detailing the circumstances around his death was received by father, John from Billie’s lieutenant:
We had just made the attack on Passchendaele on the 12th October and were for a few days holding the line in front of the Village… We occupied a German pillbox as my [head quarters] and were in it when Fritz commenced a heavy gas shell bombardment. I was in the act of posting a Gas sentry when a shell burst in the doorway and filled the pillbox with gas. We all received a big dose before we could don our masks. We all took all known precautions against the gas, burning and fanning, and after having worn our masks for over an hour I took it upon myself the responsibility of ordering them off. The air smelled perfectly sweet and free from gas, but in about eight hours time most of us began to vomit and go blind. I sent all those affected out and followed shortly afterwards… Three others besides Corp. Cooney and Pte Buchan died as a result of this gassing and I feel sure their deaths in all cases were due to complications of pneumonia… I can only say that no one knew til afterwards that the gas destroyed the sense of smell and so prevented us from detecting its presence… (2nd Lieutenant David Williams (18.7.18)
Perhaps it was merciful that their mother, Jessie had died before the onset of WWI in 1910.
It’s been a while since I looked into my Scottish forebears but was enticed back to search the Valuation Rolls held by Scotlands People. Happy to find William GLAISTER, smith, listed as occupier at the Smithy in Kelso (Bridge St & Abbey Row). The owner of the property was David FLEMING, Blacksmith.
The next (and only other) Glaister mention was a Mrs Janet Glaister, occupying a house and stable at 56 Horsemarket, Kelso.
This threw me for a bit, as by 1875, William had emigrated to New Zealand. The 1872 Hydaspes passenger list shows that his second wife, Janet, travelled with him so how could she be listed as tenant in Kelso? Then I realised this Janet was the wife of William’s brother, Thomas who died in 1870.
This encouraged me to find out more about exactly where the family lived and worked in Kelso. I trawled the Kelso Chronicle for any GLAISTER mentions and managed to find address details through advertisements;
“W. GLAISTER begs to intimate that he has removed to those commodious Premises in Bridge Street known as FLEMING’S SMITHY.” (Kelso Chronicle, 03 July 1863, p1 c6)
“At Forest Field, Kelso, on the 9th inst, the wife of Mr William Glaister, smith and bellhanger, of a son.” (Kelso Chronicle 10 April 1863, p3 c6)
and court reports:
The valuation rolls, birth records and newspapers have thus helped me to more accurately trace the movements of this family around the town between the census years and enabled me to pinpoint buildings in which they lived and worked. The historical maps on the National Library of Scotland site, have allowed me to be even more precise. For example, the Bridge Street smithy is actually labelled on the 1847 Kelso town plan. Also, modern Forestfield is now a street name – old Forestfield seems to now be addressed as Inch Road.
So, the addresses I have pieced together so far are:
1841 – Woodmarket, Kelso (with mother)
1843 – Kelso (marriage certificate)
1851 – Roxburgh Street, Kelso
1853 – Kelso (birth of son – parish record)
1857 – Forrestfield, Kelso (marriage to 2nd wife)
1858 – 9 Forrest Field, Kelso (birth of daughter)
1860 – 9 Forrest Field, Kelso (birth of son)
1861 – 4 Forrestfield, Kelso (transcription error for 9?)
1862 – Shop at the foot of Horsemarket, Kelso (May 26) (newspaper advertisement)
You may have seen a lot birthplace pedigree charts posted online recently.
I created charts for my own and my husband’s family’s countries of birth knowing that it would visually represent something that I think is pretty rare.
My husband’s pedigree:
5 generations of English heritage on both the maternal and paternal sides, all the way through.
And this pattern has continued further back too. In fact, the ONLY ancestor I’ve discovered not born in England (so far) was born in America (6th generation) to English parents, due to her father’s service in the British military. Surely, she is considered English too?
Either way, I’d like to know anyone else who has this. I’ve been led to believe it’s pretty rare due to a programme aired (ten years ago now) where people who thought they were completely English found out they were anything but.
Is it so rare?
If you would like to compile your own chart, head to AnceStories for a pre-made template.
After contact from a distant relative, I’ve spent the weekend revising my BROWN information and basically doing a kind of stocktake on the records I have for the family.
James BROWN (abt 1801) had 3 successive wives, 8 children and one more potential child born out of wedlock (see Antenuptial Fornication). These lives centred around the farm, Woodhead of Dardarroch in the Glencairn parish of Dumfriesshire. After tidying up my records, I rewarded myself with a quick search for Dardarroch and lo and behold, the gravestone of James’ parents was revealed to me (or at least the location and inscription):
Jun. 11, 1793
Apr. 29, 1870
In memory of Daniel BROWN who died at Moorhouse, Keir 29th April 1870 aged 77 years. Also William his son who died 1st May 1865 aged 34 years. Also Mary his daughter who died in 1848 aged 7 years. Margaret his daughter who died in Sept 1858 aged 28 years.
Here lyes Margret BROUN who died Mrch 14 1796 aged 2 months. Margt BROWN spouse to William CLERK, who died 27th Oct 1820 aged 25 years. Also Jean MAXWELL, spouse to John BROWN, who died upon the 19th Jan 1827 aged 66 years. Also the said John BROWN who died at Woodhead of Dardarroch the 15th of April 1840 aged 80 years. Erected by John BROUN, father in Crosford. 1796.