Emigrating to New Zealand

R.M.S Rimutaka via NZ Shipping Company Association

Going through the cemetery records yesterday inspired me to look further into my family’s immigration. The Dunedin Cemetery Records often include the (original) nationality of the deceased as well as how many years they had been in New Zealand.

My Buchan family immigrated to New Zealand from Scotland in the late 19th century. For years, I’d only had a scrap of paper with family names scrawled on it, said to be from the ship my family sailed on – the Rimutaka (1893). The scrap was given to me by my grandmother, who had been given it by someone else. Although I believed the information to be accurate, any good genealogist knows the original source should be consulted. Luckily findmypast.com has made outgoing UK passenger lists between 1890 – 1960 available online. Although, not the same as the feel and smell of using the actual records themselves, it’s certainly a lot better than transcriptions (these are available too).

Shipping Schedule of the Rimutaka 1893

Despite having this information for my great grandfather Charles (and his parents and siblings), I wasn’t sure how his grandfather, also Charles Buchan, made it over to New Zealand.

Charles Buchan was born in a small fishing village in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1830. I have used the census to trace Charles through his life. A fisherman, and sometimes ship carpenter, Charles and his family were last seen in the 1891 census in Peterhead, Aberdeen but I knew he died in New Zealand. A search on findmypast.com discovered him on the same ship as his son and grandchildren!

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Buchan, Mr Chas; Mrs Jessie; Mr Peter; Mr William; Master John

The first and last pages of the document were provided for free which fortunately contained my 5 year old great grandfather Charles with his parents and siblings!

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Buchan, Mr Alex; Mrs Agnes; Master Chas; Master Alex; Master James

So, in 1893 Charles Buchan (Sr) moved with his wife, children and grandchildren to New Zealand.

I now have a few new puzzles to solve:

  • Which Jessie and John are recorded above Alex’s family and how do they link to my family?
  • What happened to Alex’s sister Jessie (is she the Jessie mentioned above) and brother Charles?
  • Which Jessie Buchan is buried in the family grave with Charles and Jessie (born Janet RITCHIE).
  • Who is Master John? I’ve had no record of this person so far – is he Charles and Jessie’s son?

SOLVED – answers to these questions can be found here

Dumfries – Sheep Worrying

I have been searching The Scotsman digital archive this morning (searches are free) and found a tantalising snippet relating to my family history – or does it?
The Scotsman – 6 Nov 1879 – “DUMFRIES – SHEEP WORRYING. – On Monday, at Woodhead, Dunscore, a dog chased a flock of 92 sheep out of a field and… One was killed”
Woodhead 2006
 My farming ancestors lived at Woodhead, Dunscore since at least 1824 when my great grandfather, James Brown, was recorded in the Crown Office Precognitions as a farm labourer there in 1824 (He had been accused of assault but that’s a different story). From the 1841 census onwards, James is recorded as Farmer at that property until 1871. Woodhead played a significant part in my family’s life until James died at Woodhead in 1873. This newspaper snippet was from 1879.

James Brown’s death – 1873 (shows Woodhead as place of death)

As fabulous a resource the Scotsman archives are, I can’t really afford to jump in ‘willy-nilly’, so I need to check if any of my family is still tied to the property in 1879.

James’ third wife, Sarah (nee Douglas) survived him and the 1871 census shows more Brown’s living on the property (ie., Woodhead Cottage, Woodhead Farm). This means that the easiest first step is to check the 1881 census to see if these Brown’s are still at Woodhead. If so, then the article will at least be referring to my extended ancestral family.

Browns at Woodhead in 1871

A search of the 1881 census shows that his widow, Sarah and son, Samuel are also still at Woodhead in 1881. Another search shows that the William Brown who was living at Woodhead in the 1871 census, is still there in 1881. I’m unsure of the exact family relationship between my James Brown and this William but chances are high at least that the newspaper article will be referring in some way to the property part of my family owned at the time. This does not mean they will refer to my ancestors by name however, and as I’m a thrifty genealogist, I’m going to see if there are any other articles to do with my family before I invest.

I’m in luck though, as the Scotsman Digital Archives are having a special offer to celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2009 and prices currently start at £3.95 for a 24 hour pass (July only).

Edit: This is definitely not my ancestor’s place.  Woodhead, Dunscore is much different to Woodhead of Dardarroch.