Category Archives: family history

Crazed visions…

IMG_0024

See below…

On Sunday 12 June 2011 I seem to have created a blog on a site I never revisited. I hadn’t remembered doing it but the evidence is up and out there in the ether, rediscovered when I chanced to trip a link while tidying up my computer desktop. I called that blog, ‘Crazed visions’, subtitle: ‘thoughts and words as they occur’. It consisted of a list in which I jotted down what came to my mind about my great-aunt. I may never get round to writing more about her, but this may trigger memories in members of the family (if so, please send them to me). For other readers it may stimulate thoughts and feelings (inherited or not) about the people who existed on the fringes of the family nucleus.

Dedae (1886-1975)

What do I know about Dedae?

  1. She was my great-aunt, unmarried youngest sister of my mother’s father William Gibb Chisholm.
  1. Her full name was Agnes Edith Chisholm (Agnes was her mother’s name, no idea where Edith came from).
  1. She made my mother a doll’s house out of orange boxes during WW1; it has a stair case and I still have it. A detached house with a balcony, nothing like the house she lived in.
  1. In her last years she lived in Belgrave Crescent, as did her unmarried slightly older doctor (gynaecologist) brother Uncle Ernie.
  1. It was a ground and basement flat with a hideous and large painting of St Sebastian in the hall (presumably this was a family possession? is there an inventory for AWC in 1921, or AHC in 1936?)
  1. Otherwise the front room is all I can remember, facing on to the communal garden over the street (that would be south), a heavy feeling of Victorian clutter, oil paintings and plants.
  1. I last remember meeting her at my grandfather’s cremation at Warriston the year I married (1966). She asked me whether I would like a practical or useful wedding gift. I said useful (which I have always thought was the wrong answer) and she gave me a set of pyrex casseroles decorated with flowers.
  1. I don’t think she liked my mother much (probably mutual) and she did not mention her in her will.
  1. Her executor was mother’s cousin Ralph Darling (son of her elder sister Annie) who disposed of many of the family artifacts, which meant little to him, without consulting his cousins.
  1. Ralph, who came back from South Africa after an unsuccessful marriage to live with his aunt, had to conceal his long-term partner Diana from her. Diana was banned from the house. (After Ralph’s death, years later, Diana would meet my mother for coffee, having travelled across England to hand over small items of silver which she said must go back to the family).
  1. Mother said Dedae was a snob who would refer to people as not being out of the top drawer.
  1. Dedae was the unmarried daughter who lived at home taking care of her parents.
  1. Somewhere there is a photo of her in perhaps a VAD uniform during WW1.
  1. She would have been one of the generation whose hope of marriage went with The Great War.
  1. There are a couple of photos of her as a teenager but none later (she would have inherited the family possessions, did she destroy them?)
  1. She was very involved with the Clan Chisholm Society.
  1. She commissioned a researcher to examine her ancestory (I have the report).
  1. In her later years she would take elderly people out for runs in her car round Warriston. She was not a good driver and disliked the introduction of traffic lights.
  1. There are questions: how and where was she educated? Is there an inventory of her estate which presumably included the Robert Scott Lauder family picture of his sister?
  1. Born 1886, died 1975.
  1. Her mother (Agnes Helen Gibb) died in 1936, her father (Alexander Wyse Chisholm) in 1921.
  1. Despite living in Edinburgh she was not a person we saw or visited much; not a warm relationship…

IMG_0023

 

Once she was a gawky girl balancing frothy puff-balls of white lace.

What was life like for her?

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Edinburgh, family history, History, relations

The first reason I am going to Shetland

 

IMG_3762 - Version 2

In a couple of months I will be making a long-anticipated trip to Shetland. I have three main reasons for wanting to go, none of them immediately relating to DI Jimmy Perez as portrayed in the recent television dramas based on Ann Cleves’ novels.

Shetland seems such a long way when you look at an atlas, exactly how far is left rather vague since mapmakers have tended to tuck it into a box which they float somewhere in the Moray Firth. Now I find that it is only just over an hour by plane, or will be, but my mind is back in the first decades of the 1800s, before steam ships, before planes, before phones, before the internet. Almost back in the days of here be dragons, or at least sea monsters, and certainly of the likelihood of rather rough water… However I decided to skip any attempt at replication. I will fly.

My first reason is curiosity about the life of one of my maternal ancestors who spent a brief and ultimately  unhappy time there. Ann Wyse went as a bride and returned about eighteen months later as a widow with infant twin daughters. These infants do not appear in the family tree copied out on shelf paper by my grandfather:

  • What happened to the twins? (early death I imagined, aware of infant mortality at the time).
  • What can it have been like for a young woman raised in 1820s Glasgow to find herself living so far from family in a part of Scotland so remote?
  • How did she get there?
  • and how might she have got back to central Scotland where some ten years later she married my Edinburgh-based ancestor and produced the further progeny from one of whom I am derived?

Nothing like a quest!

I have prowled through family documents, summoned up information from the internet and visited archives. Now I am now booked up to go. And what better time to find my jottings and begin pulling the past together.

Find a marriage

Nineteenth century novels often end with a marriage. Ancestral quests can start from one. Ann Wyse’s marriages took place before registration began in 1855 so off to the newspapers, or at least to British Newspapers Online. There she is, her second marriage reported in the Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Thursday June 23rd 1842.

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 12.10.35

“At 25 Gayfield Square, on the 21st current, Robert Chisholm, Esq. jeweller, Edinburgh, to Ann Wyse, relict of the late Rev. Colin Bogle, Walls.”

I am rather intrigued by the Georgette Heyerish union which appears below of ‘the Hon and Reverend Edward Harbottle Grimstone, second son of the Earl and Countess of Verulam, to Frances Horatia, eldest daughter of John Morier, Esq’ – was she born in 1805? but I must not be distracted.

P1080450

25 Gayfield Square: a staging post in my family history

25 Gayfield Square is not as grand as its neighbours, no fanlight above the doorway which appears to lead to a stair. It is on the east side of Gayfield Square, standing 4 stories at the front and six at the rear (owing to Edinburgh’s rolling hillsides).

She was married at No 25, so who lived at there?

Nine names are given in the 1842/43 Edinburgh Post Office Directory, including Mrs Browning who kept lodgings, and a hatter and: Edwin Millidge, jeweller. A connection there. It turns out that Edwin had married Sarah, Ann’s elder sister, in Edinburgh in 1820.

The description of the bride as “relict of the late Rev Colin Bogle, Walls” took me straight to the Fasti.

Ah, the groom was a Minister of the Kirk

Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae: the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation is an invaluable tool for those, such as I, who are fortunate to have been blessed with a minister ancestor. There, in volume seven, they and the twins were.

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 13.11.00

Not quite accurate, Ann and Robert were married on 21st June 1842 (once again she had an older groom, tho probably not as old as the Rev Colin, Robert being born in 1799). I haven’t established Colin’s date of birth but if he was licenced in 1810, almost a year before Ann was born on 14 May 1811, he must have been at least twenty years older than she was. There is a long gap before he obtained his church. A stickit minister.

 

Walls is on the west coast of the mainland of Shetland. I am looking forward to seeing how it looks today. It is not my impression that the parish of Walls was a well-doing place during the time Ann Wyse lived there. I hope at least that the Rev Colin Bogle managed to get his manse fixed up before he brought his bride home. On the 17th of November 1830, that is less than a year before he married, he ‘represented [to the Lerwick Presbytery] that the repairs which the Presbytery had ordered on his Manse in April last had not been executed with the diligence which the Presbytery had enjoined – that in consequence of there not being even one habitable room in the house, he had been obliged to remove to lodgings at a distance from the manse…’ [CH2/1071/8/10]

By the time of the events of December 1832 and January 1833 the family were living in the manse. Birth and death reported in the same issue of the Aberdeen Journal on Wednesday 6th February 1833:

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 19.41.26

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 19.42.08

There appears to be neither note of burial nor gravestone for the Rev Colin Bogle. Nor is there any record of a baptism for the twins Colina and Jessie. Surely it would have been possible for some colleague to have travelled the twenty odd miles from Lerwick and officiated?

Ann was married (in Glasgow) on 18th August 1831, age 20

She gave birth to twins (in Shetland) on 29 December 1832

Her husband died (in Shetland) on 16 January 1833.

She returned south for she appeared in Edinburgh in relation to her husband’s will  in September 1833.

There is a sad postscript…

Colina and Jessie were  buried together in Edinburgh on 30 December 1833, their interments shown in St Cuthbert’s Parish Register, the head of family given as the late Rev Colin Bogle of Walls, Shetland. Both died of Hooping Cough, Colina on 24th December and Jessie on the 29th, one just before and one after her first birthday.

So now I know what happened to the twins. My lost great-great-aunts if I have counted aright. Perhaps the archives in Lerwick will enable me to get some feeling for conditions in Shetland in the 1830s and some idea of the roads and packet boats which carried my great-great-grandmother to and from the islands.

I hope Ann had some sunny days before all these terrible events. I’m glad she at least survived to settle in more comfortable surroundings. I found a bit more detail of that second wedding in the OPRs:

Untitled copy-1 (dragged)

More of what happened next anon (though some of the outcomes can be found in my ‘Walking back into the past’ posting last year).

And I hope for sunshine, fair winds and no demons for myself when I survey Ultima Thule.

Thule_carta_marina_Olaus_Magnus

I should like to put on record my gratitude to all those  who transcribe and organise and share records, whether as part of the job, for the benefit of family and friends, or just for the fun of it. Doing history now is a great collaborative enterprise, thank you all.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Edinburgh, family history, Shetland

Walking back into the past

A friend was nagging me to up my getting-up-and-going rate to at least one hour a day so that is what I’ve been aiming at in the past week. But a purpose other than health is needed to drive me on, preferably not always with the hope of a view attached. Views, in an urban setting at least, tend to require going up hills.

DSCF1962

The Harrison Arch

I did that last Sunday peching my way beyond my least favourite archway (just avoided it once when the car’s clutch failed on a downward run). So, while I am grateful for his part in Edinburgh Corporation’s acquisition of Blackford Hill, I wish the friends and admirers of George Harrison (1812[perhaps 1811]-1885) once Lord Provost of Edinburgh and very very briefly elected MP for Edinburgh South, had chosen some other way to mark his works and character.

DSCF1960

Topical reference to the constituency at the start of my walk: the office of the Last Labour MP following the general election…

Onward and upward I was rewarded with magnificent views over the city. Blackford Hill was once a regular stomping ground. Together with a crocodile of other beret-topped small girls I was marched up and round it on most of those days when hockey or lacrosse was not forced on me. Not all these outings were carefree: my time as a boarder must have been not only the year when Blackford Pond froze sufficiently for skating but also that of rabbits blighted by myxomatosis…

DSCF1989One illicit and pleasurable memory however: the school had a flu epidemic and myself and a fellow ten-year-old convalescent were sent for a walk. I clawed my way, gymslip and  dutifully polished day-shoes, up the steep muddy bank opposite the pond as my companion wailed well below. A rare breakout by a child conditioned always to set a good example. Still joy in the memory. What on earth was the school thinking of to send us out on our own.

However that was last week. Today, inspired by a miscellany of unplanned pre-birthday treats: my very first Edinburgh tram rides (slow and grinding trip to Ingliston and back), a stroll round Greyfriars graveyard, and some ancestral monogrammed spoons, I set out grave hunting. Aim: to locate some ancestors not on my Irish father’s side but belonging to my mother’s Edinburgh and the Borders line. I knew where they lay, in the graveyard of St Cuthbert’s parish at the west end of Princes Street. Refinding the stone was not as easy as I thought however but I was pleased to find that walking there then zigzagging St John’s and St Cuthbert’s burial grounds piled up paces sufficiently  to evade a blustery May shower and bus home.

P1060151

Long neglected by the family, indeed by me. I removed bits of branches, plucked out groundsel and wondered what seeds I might strew. Crocuses would not be a good idea– too many squirrels

The stone marks the grave of my great-great grandfather, his wife and several of his sons:

1847

The Burying Ground of Robert Chishom Jeweller Edinburgh

Sacred

To the Memory of

Robert Ainslie, who died 7th Oct. 1847 aged six weeks also

Robert Peattie Chisholm who died 25th Augt 1858 aged 9 years and 10 months

Robert Chisholm, Goldsmith who died 7th June 1874 aged 75 years

Ann Wyse, widow of Robert Chisholm, who died 1st Sept 1875 aged 64 years

John Fleming Chisholm who died 15th August 1885 in his 29th year

Edwin Millidge Chisholm, MB CM who died 8th September 1885 in his 32nd year

On a side panel: In Memory of John Thomson who died 28th April 1890 aged 64. The other side panel is illegible.

Ann Wyse, born in Glasgow in 1811, was already a widow by the time she married Robert Chisholm in 1842. Her first husband, a minister in Shetland, had died a month after she had given birth to twin daughters, both of whom died as they reached their first birthday. In Shetland? I doubt it. In Edinburgh? Glasgow? The death notice in the Scotsman does not say.

There, achieved my 10,000 paces. And at last started to add words to pictures. So walking back into the past works on more than one level! More on the family to come.

Leave a comment

Filed under Edinburgh, family history, graveyards