Tag Archives: scotland

Patrick Vaughan, you’re a hard man to pin down

5 Mar

My 2x great-aunt’s second husband Patrick Vaughan is proving to be a hard man to pin down. I put this down to two things:

  1. He never stayed in same place for long
  2. His age seems to vary from document to document

Both of these things make me wonder if I have the right man, or even the same man.

I am used to some of my relatives moving about a bit, usually from parish to parish or over the border from one county to another. Patrick on the other hand seems to have hopped from country to country. From his birth in Ireland across to Scotland , then emigrating to Canada. He came back across the Atlantic to England (and possibly mainland Europe) for the First World War, before returning to Canada where he seems to have lived out the rest of his life.

Or at least this is what it looks like. It is hard to be certain because of the variations in his ages across the various documents. The first time I came across Patrick Vaughan was on his 1917 marriage certificate, where his age is recorded as 43, giving a year of birth around 1874. Back in Canada his attestation record from 1916 gives an “apparent age” of 44 years and 2 months, from his date of birth of 17th March 1872.

I think I have found him living in Scotland in 1891 and 1901, his place of birth is correct, but the 1901 census gives his age as 39, which pushes his year of birth back to around 1862. His age in the 1891 census is not clear, it might say 29, but it is not good enough to really be sure.

Going back to Ireland the only likely baptism in the right county and right parish is in 1857. Losing a few years here and there is not a big deal, but it does mean that when he signed up to serve in the First World War in 1916 his year of birth was 15 years out, and he would in fact have been around 59 years old not 44. Interestingly his description does describe his hair as grey.

There are just enough similarities between the Patrick’s on these different records to make me think they are the same man, but not quite enough for me to be 100% certain that they are.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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New series of Digging Up Your Roots from BBC Radio Scotland

10 Jan

A new series of the BBC Radio Scotland genealogy programme Digging Up Your Roots started last weekend (I only noticed this because the podcast popped up on Google Reader, otherwise I would have been none the wiser).

According to the BBC website this is the sixth series, although the presenter (Bill Whiteford) says in the introduction that it is series seven, so I am not sure who to believe.

The first episode is about High Achievers, people who left their mark on Scotland and the World (in a good way). In some respects this episode felt like an antidote to the stream of celebrity family trees that regularly try to make the headlines.

Apart from the few famous people in this episode the programme is largely devoid of celebrities, either as guests or subjects, and it is quite refreshing to hear about the lives of ordinary people and the research of ordinary people.

Although my family tree is very short on Scottish ancestors it is interesting to hear about family history from a Scottish perspective, and it is also good to hear from a genealogy expert (in this case Dr Bruce Durie) other than the ubiquitous Nick Barrett.

Even if you don’t have Scottish ancestors it is well worth listening to, if you are not fortunate enough to live in Scotland then it can be found on the BBC iPlayer and is also available as a podcast, although I can’t seem to find it on the BBCs podcast page, but this feed seems to work for me.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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The Wanderer Returns

28 Nov

I have just returned from a week away in Scotland and whilst enjoying myself in the capital city Edinburgh I couldn’t help wondering about the Scottish connections in my family tree.

Edinburgh, Scotland from Arthur's Seat

My 3x great-grandfather Thomas KINGHORN was born in Scotland or at least he seems to have been. His father (and presumably his mother) was living in Moffat at the time of his birth, although his baptism took place in Carlisle, south of the border.

I find it hard to see this situation as a rightful claim to Scottish ancestry, rather that he was probably born to English parents who happened to be living in Scotland at the time, although this wasn’t just a one-off, because Thomas had five brothers and sisters all born and baptised in the same circumstances.

At the moment I don’t have any good evidence about where Thomas’ parents came from, but my best guess would have to be south of the border, due to a lack of evidence on the Scotlands People website.

It seems likely to me that a few generations back I will find definite Scottish roots. The surname KINGHORN sounds particularly Scottish to me, probably connected to the town of Kinghorn in Fife. Of course it is dangerous to leap to such conclusions, the only way to be certain is to work backwards in the traditional manner, another project to look forward to when time and money permit.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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More about Thomas KINGHORN’s “dreadful accident”

9 Sep

Long time readers of my blog might remember me writing about my 4x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN and the accident he was involved in whilst working as a guard on the mail coaches.

I haven’t given up on the idea of finding out more about Thomas KINGHORN and the accident. Ideally I would like to be able to find out where the accident occurred so that one day I will be able to go and visit the spot where my 4x great-grandfather nearly lost his life.

Having recently joined the Surrey library service I have been able to take advantage of free access to the 19th Century British Library Newspaper Collection. I had previously found a brief mention of the “dreadful accident” in The Times newspaper and it seems the story was widely reported across the country.

The source of the various different articles appears to have been a report from Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland which was possibly first published in the Carlisle Journal, which is not part of the collection, but it does appear to have been reprinted, possibly in full, in the Caledonian Mercury.

The report in the Caledonian Mercury (published in Edinburgh, Scotland) on the 29th October 1808 contains much useful additional information, naming several of the key figures involved in the rescue who are not mentioned in any of the other reports as far I am aware.

MOFFAT, Oct. 26.-We had yesterday a most dreadful storm of wind and rain, and the rivers in the neighbourhood came down in torrents, such as have never been seen by the oldest people here. Among other damage occasioned by it, we are sorry to state that a shocking accident has happened to the mail coach from Glasgow to Carlisle. At the bridge over the river Avon, about nine miles from this, at Howcleuch, betwixt nine and ten o’clock last night, the coach had just got about half way over, when the bridge gave way in the middle of the arch, and the coach, passengers, horses, &c. were instantly precipitated in the river, a fall of about 30 feet. There were four inside and two outside passengers. The two outside passengers, and two of the horses were killed upon the spot, and the other passengers made a miraculous escape with their lives; though we are sorry to say they were all very considerably hurt. The coachman and guard were also much hurt; the former had his arm broken, and was otherwise much bruised, and the guard received a severe contusion on the head.

The other coach from Carlisle to Glasgow, was narrowly prevented from falling into the same precipice. It was coming up just about the time the accident happened, and, from the darkness of the night, and the rate the coach necessarily goes at, must inevitably have gone into the river, at the same breach in the arch, had not one of the passengers who escaped given the alarm.
"By the exertion of the coachman and guard of the other coach, the passengers who survived (a lady and three gentlemen) with the coachman and guard, who had fallen into the precipice, were enabled to extricate themselves from the dreadful situation into which they were thrown, and conducted to a place of safety till other assistance was afforded them.

Much praise is due to Mr Rae, the postmaster here, one of the proprietors of the coach, for his exertions and assistance on the occasion. Immediately, on hearing of the accident, he set out, in the middle of the night, with several of his servants and others, in two post chaises, and gave every possible assistance to the passengers, &c. and, by this means, we are happy to say, the London mail and other valuable articles in the coach have been saved.

Mr Clapperton, surgeon, is also entitled to much praise for his ready assistance upon this occasion; and the exertions of John Giddes, one of Mr Rae’s servants, are particularly deserving of notice, who, at the risk of his life, went down into the river with a rope fastened to his body, and saved the life of the lady (one of the passengers) and some of the mail bags, which must otherwise have been carried down the stream.

The coach and harness are completely destroyed. Mr Rae has loft two valuable horses by the accident, and the other two are severely hurt and bruised.

The bodies of the two passengers who were killed, have been found, and have been brought here this morning; they are Mr William Brand, merchant in Ecclefechan, and Mr Lund, of the house of Lund & Toulmin, of Bond-street, London."

As you can see there is much information contained in this report that I need to follow up. Did Mr Rae (the postmaster) or Mr Clapperton (the surgeon) keep a diary? Were any of the rescuers recognised for their bravery?Where were the two victims buried? Were their deaths reported elsewhere?

Then of course there are further questions, such as what were the names of the four passengers that survived? When was the bridge rebuilt and was it’s re-opening reported? and most importantly where exactly was the bridge?

Re-activate your ScotlandsPeople credits (for a limited time)

4 Jun

For a limited time (until 1pm on the 17th June 2010) ScotlandsPeople are giving users of their website the chance to re-activate any unused credits that have expired.

As explained on their website, you can bring life back to your expired credits by the use of a special voucher code. These revived credits will then be active for another 90 days. Normally you would need to buy further credits to make use of any expired credits.

This is great news for me, because I have expired credits on the site and I have at least one census image to look up and need to have a look and see if Thomas KINGHORN (my 4x great-grandfather) did actually come from Scotland.

So far I haven’t found any records for my ancestors on the ScotlandsPeople website, even though Thomas KINGHORN (my 3x great-grandfather) was born in Scotland, he was baptised south of the border. Maybe this time it will be different.

Either way it will be good to make use of my currently inaccessible credits, without having to pay for more.

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