Neighbouring Families

Dardarroch, Dunscore, Dumfriesshire in 2006
NOT Woodhead of Dardarroch

Eight years ago, I posted on the rootsweb message board regarding my BROWN ancestors farm, Woodhead of Dardarroch, in the parish of Glencairn. Recently someone replied that their ancestor was boarding with some BROWNS at Woodhead Cottage on the 1891 census. By 1891, James BROWN had died and his widow, Sarah (nee DOUGLAS) had moved away.  However, it is too much of a coincidence that the BROWNs still living at Woodhead were an entirely separate family as my BROWN’s had lived there since at least 1824 (discussed in this post).

I had long ago noticed the many BROWN families at and around Woodhead.  Now it was time to find out exactly how these BROWNs were connected.
Dardarroch via Get-a-map
First, I located William Brown at Woodhead Cottage on the 1891 census.  As you can see in the photograph above, Woodhead is quite a large house.  I presume Woodhead Cottage is the smaller part attached to the main building where the other family units lived together.  By this time, James’ widow and youngest son had moved to Keir where they lived in another home named ‘Woodhead Cottage’.
Woodhead on the 1891 census

I searched back for William BROWN (b.1829) and found him at Woodhead Cottage in all but 2 censuses.

Edited: It is here where I made a dangerous mistake.

! I found a William BROWN living at Shillanland (or Shillingland) with his uncle James FERGUSSON and a Jane and Sarah FERGUSSON.  I suspected one of these women (both listed as James’ sisters) was William’s mother.  Also listed was John BROWN (b. 1831) – I had discovered a brother to help with my search.

In 1841 the FERGUSSONs and BROWNs were all living at Burnhouse where the head of the household was a William FERGUSON and possible wife Mary.  This time Sarah was recorded as Sarah BROWN so is apparently William’s mother.  Since the 1841 census doesn’t record the relationships to the head, I will need to find records to prove William FERGUSON is his grandfather.  I will also search for a marriage between Sarah FERGUSSON and a BROWN. !

I now realise that this William BROWN is not the one at Woodhead from the 1861 census through to the 1901 census. A simple traceback through the censuses show that the head of Woodhead Cottage in 1891 is the son of George BROWN and Catherine McDOWAL – living at Woodhead from.  I now need only prove that George BROWN is the brother of my James BROWN


Edit 2: The picture at the top of this post is NOT Woodhead of Dardarroch as I mistakenly believed, it is actually a house called Woodhead in the nearby village of Dunscore. 

Next steps:

  • Find marriage record of Sarah FERGUSSON and BROWN
  • Find birth record of William or John BROWN
See following post – Neighbouring Families – Part 2

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